If there’s one thing our Italian wine expert Davy Zyw loves, it’s unearthing an exciting rarity you may not have tried before. Here’s his latest effort, from a premium appellation in Italy’s mountain-ringed northeast (home to some of the world’s freshest white wines) and the talented Paolo Valle.
Ribolla Gialla is an ancient white grape native to Friuli, just over the border from Slovenia. Known for its bold acidity and floral notes, this rare variety does especially well in the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) of Colli Orientali, where it develops even fuller body and greater depth of flavor (as you’ll taste). The village of Rosazzo named on the label is one of a few sub-zones in Colli Orientali that “produces particularly fine examples” of Ribolla Gialla, says Master of Wine Jancis Robinson.
After being crushed, the grapes’ skins were left in contact with the juice before fermentation, a technique that imparts extra richness in the glass. Given a kiss of oak (for further complexity), this brims with white blossom and citrus aromas, with layers of peach and apricot flavors accented by cool almond and mineral notes. The lightly creamy texture is nicely balanced by the refreshing, zippy acidity.
This is an outstanding partner for all kinds of seafood, from grilled shellfish to sushi and sashimi. Paolo’s favorite picks are risotto marinara, linguine ai frutti di mare (pasta with fresh squid, mussels and more) or fish-based soups. You could also experiment with other Mediterranean favorites, like traditional Spanish paella or seafood tapas. Or, it’s lovely served chilled, as an aperitivo.