Maloof's Ribolla Gialla from Dundee, Oregon is a New World twist on an Old World grape.
My first glass started out too cold which emphasized a bitterness on the finish. Don't serve it as cold as a slurpee (good and generally unnecessary advice). The wine is a bit bigger and more "bracing" than some (non-orange) Italian versions.
When you let it get to a reasonable temperature you get lemon, apricot and bitter almond. The wine, like its
overseas cousins, has really solid acidity and tartness. There is also a sense of some grip, some tannins in the wine. I don't know if this wine had any skin contact but it wouldn't surprise me if there was a little.
In Italy and Slovenia, Ribolla Gialla is often used to make orange wine. These are, basically, white wines made like red wines. The skins are left in contact after the grapes are pressed. With white wines you usually remove the skins.
If you remove the skins from a red wine immediately? You get a white wine. In red wine the skins are what give you the color (with a handful of exceptions). THIS wine isn't an orange wine but it is something to be aware of when you see
Ribolla Gialla wines out shopping.
The white and orange versions are different creatures.
Like many grapes not named "Chardonnay," after the Phylloxera epidemic these grapes were replaced with more well known, "international" varietals. But they were not wholly eclipsed and unlike some little known grapes it is rare to see
Ribolla derided as inferior or unremarkable.
The notes on this wine, when I returned to them after a few months of not writing about wine, were a little thin. I wondered about my observations, was I eating with this or not? What you eat with a wine will potentially change what you think of it. I've gone back to wines Id taken notes on and my view changed a few months later; I noticed new or wildly different things. This isn't unique but it isn't often admitted.
In this case I feel like my notes didn't do justice to my enthusiasm for this Maloof offering. I need a few bottles of this for the porch when it finally warms up in Chicago.