In 2013 our skin-fermented Ribolla Gialla lost much of its acid on the vine. Rather than add acid, we allowed Mother Nature to do it her way. When it was dry, it lacked the life that I felt is essential to this style of wine.
Curiously, a batch of Sauvignon Blanc from the same vintage had a bit too much acid for my taste so we started blending trials. Finally, we hit it right; three parts Sauvignon to one part Ribolla. And Bel was born.
In the Vineyard: The Sauvignon Blanc portion comes from the Big Valley AVA in Lake County where the vineyard is a combination of volcanic and alluvial soils. The vines are about 20 years old and sustainably farmed.
The Ribolla Gialla portion comes from the Russian River Valley on clay soils in perhaps the coolest area of that AVA which allows for an extended hang time and more richness of flavor.
In the Winery: The Sauvignon Blanc was immediately pressed into barrels for fermentation with native yeasts until dry. Malolactic fermentation was stopped. The Ribolla Gialla was de-stemmed, fermented on native yeasts in tank on its skins until dry and went through malolactic fermentation spontaneously. The wines were then blended and cross-flow filtered prior to bottling.
In the glass: Clear straw color; aromas of lime blossom, persimmon and nutmeg with a light floral note and a very clear mineral/stone accent; richer in the mouth than expected with flavors that follow the nose and an almost electric acidity. Mouth-watering, very lightly tannic and persistent in the mouth. Can be served at refrigerator temperature but is more flavorful as it approaches room temperature. Ready now but will easily age and develop over 5-8 years.
81% Sauvignon Blanc and 19% skin-fermented Ribolla Gialla
Brix at Harvest:
Sauvignon Blanc, 20.5°; Ribolla Gialla, 20.7°
Aged ten months in 8-9 year old French oak barrels