Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Ribolla, white grape variety also known as Ribolla Gialla to distinguish it from the less interesting Ribolla Verde, best known in friuli in north east Italy but also grown, as Rebula, in slovenia. It is distinct from the robola of the island of Cephalonia in greece.

Ribolla’s first historically documented appearance in Friuli was in 1296, as Rabola. The grape lost ground steadily in the 19th and 20th centuries, however, in the wake of the phylloxera epidemic and Friuli’s subsequent enthusiasm for international (French) varieties when vineyards were replanted. In the mid 1990s, Ribolla accounted for less than 1% of all the white doc wines of Friuli, but by 2010, Italy’s total plantings were 435 ha/1,075 acres, and there were champions of the variety on both sides of the Slovenian border. Rosazzo and Oslavia are generally considered Friuli’s two classic areas for Ribolla Gialla but there is even more planted in western Slovenia, in both Brda and Vipava. Extended contact with the variety’s particularly yellow skins is increasingly common and the wine produced can have firm structure and, neatly, yellow-fruit flavours.