What is the history of the wine called Ribolla Gialla?

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Written By Gilberto Mattei


Historical sources reveal that already in the 12th century, Friuli supplied the Republic of Venice with the RIBOLLA of Collio.
A number of historical documents already attest to the presence of this indigenous grape variety (in a document of sale of land in the municipality of Barbana-Collio Goriziano in 1376, it is mentioned that the farmer obtained 'sex urnas raboli' from that land ). Evidence of the presence of Raibola (or Rabola ) wine from Istria and Collio in Friuli is also found in a document drawn up in Udine in 1324.


Historical background

RIBOLLA, considered a high wine, was offered as a sign of devotion to lieutenants on their first entry into the city, or out of extreme respect to illustrious personages visiting the place; indeed, there are records dating back to the years 1365-1368-1393.

Other historical evidence in 1565 the Municipality of Udine offered the PATRIARCH MARQUARDO, for his first visit to Udine, a jar of Ribolla wine. Also the Municipality of Udine in 1568 offered the Duke of Bavaria 28 bowls of Malvasia and 26 bowls of RABIOLA (RIBOLLA).
The importance of Ribolla and its qualitative value can also be deduced from a historical document in which the Venetian Senate sends barrels of RIBOLLA wine from Rosazzo (Colli-Orientali-Udine) to the Emperor CARLO V (he was the one who proudly claimed that the sun never set in his empire, having also possessions in Central and South America).

Other historical sources mention that Ribolla in the late 14th century was praised by both historical chroniclers and poets. Also BOCCACCIO great Italian poet and writer in his works speaks of RIBOLLA, making a scathing criticism not so much of the goodness of this sublime wine, but of the excesses of wine. Have a look at play online casino. In fact, according to Boccaccio, wine was to serve as a means of communication and social aggregation, but not to express decadence and lust.

The Habsburg preference expressed for Ribolla can be seen when Duke Leopold III of Austria, when requesting the Deed of Dedication or Respect of the city of TRIESTE, included a clause obliging the city to supply him annually with a quantity of the best RIBOLLA wine.

The protection enjoyed by this wine is evidenced by a historical document from the city of Rijeka dating back to 1445, which stipulated that every consignment of Ribolla must be accompanied by an official declaration of the place of origin.
In the city of Rijeka, there were very severe penalties against those who committed fraud when selling wine, i.e. passing off as RIBOLLA a wine that was not.

Towards the end of the 18th century, the physician Antonio Musnig wrote in his literary works (Clima Goritiens) that RIBOLLA was number one among Friulian whites.

RIBOLLA during the 1800s lost its quality and its cultivation was drastically reduced. With the improvement of winemaking techniques during the 1970s, it again reached excellent levels of both quality and production.

Let us say that RIBOLLA is very well known and cultivated mainly in the Colli Orientali and Collio, although after the Second World War in Slovia on the border, i.e. in the BRDA, THE CULTIVATION OF THIS VINEYARD was so pronounced that it exceeded 65% of the cultivated area of RIBOLLA.


Three types of Ribolla

However, we have to distinguish between two types of RIBOLLA, THE ONE MOST KNOWN AND AVAILABLE TO GIVE THE BEST WINE: YELLOW RIBOLLA and GREEN RIBOLLA. The green Ribolla is of lesser value and therefore not very widespread. There is also a black Ribolla or "POCALZA" (IN SLOVENIAN) that gives rise to "SCHIOPETTINO".

We can add that RIBOLLA would grow in dry, barren soils of stratified sandstone, others claimed that Ribolla was the only variety suitable for hillsides with vineyards with excellent exposure.

RIBOLLA was often drunk sweet, during the chestnut season, around mid-October in the 1950s-60s; it was harvested very late, even in mid-October, and in order to reach a consistent sugar concentration, fermentation was stopped or slowed down a lot, thus creating a pleasant, sweet, carbonic wine. Thus prepared, it was consumed for Saints' Days with chestnuts and during celebrations of the dead, with chestnuts cooked in water with bay leaves and barbecued.


In the 1970s, it was vinified in purity, presented dry and offered on the international markets, with good success. RIBOLLA as a wine was included in the D.O.C., RIBOLLA GIALLA: COLLIO and COLLI ORIENTALI. The Presidential Decree of 24-05-1968 recognising the COLLIO D.O.C. was issued and RIBOLLA GIALLA was included in it.

Some winegrowers have started to consider sparkling Ribolla using the Charmat or Classico method, and have been quite successful.

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