Greek varietie Robola of Cephalonia Island.
Classic fruity/mineral: All wineries produce this style which is the introduction to the variety. Depending on the producer, this can be either fruitier or more mineral.
Creamy and complex: Partly oaked resulting in fuller wines (e.g. Wild Paths) or with extended lees ageing.
Drink the classic stuff in the first 1-3 years and cellar the more complex one for at least 5-6 years following the harvest.
At a glance
A white grape variety from the island of Cephalonia which has started unfolding its virtues and has revealed a wine that has the character of a baby Assyrtiko. It is the dominant white variety of the beautiful Ionian island and covers approximately 165ha of land according to agronomist Gerasimos Danalatos. To a limited degree, it has also been planted in other areas of Greece approximately 10ha such as Macedonia Drama and Kavala, the Peloponnese and Central Greece in the valley of Atalanti. The variety gives the name to the region’s PDO, Robola of Cephalonia. Actually, this is the only appellation for dry wines in Greece that refers to a single variety and not a region. And although this may sound prestigious, it actually isolates the variety, as it cannot appear on any label outside the PDO region, which is rather strange.
In Cephalonia, Robola thrives on poor stony soils, sometimes so stony that the Italians called the wine Vino di Sasso, meaning “wine of the stones’’. On the mountainous slopes of Ainos, one can still find many own-rooted, old bush-vines; an ode to its heritage. Robola of Cephalonia is intricately connected with the culture, the local cuisine, residents' daily lives, and tourists on the island.
Robola produces wines that are mostly elegant and complex. They are more reserved on the nose, moderately aromatic with lemon, citrus fruit, grapefruit, and fennel. On the palate, they can be steely or fruitier (depending on the winemaking approach) always with a fresh vein of acidity, medium body, and alcohol. They are usually unoaked, but can also be partly oaked, as the different styles are progressively being explored.
Αccording to Stavrakas ampelography there are two versions about its origin, with neither yet sufficiently documented. Both have an Italian connection. According to the first, the variety came from Italy, where a variety with the name Ribola Gialla is grown (although no DNA similarity has been shown). According to the other, when the Venetians occupied the island in the 16th century, they found the variety in the area in which it is still cultivated today and took it to Italy.
Either way, it wasn't until 1982 when initially with the Robola Cooperative and later with small scale wineries, the variety came to fame, slowly capturing consumers' interest. At the heart of the Robola Wine-Growing zone, dozens of winemakers from the village of Omala and the surrounding areas (Troiannata, Vlachata, Mousata, Faraklata, Dilinata) set up the Cefalonian Robola Wine Cooperative, later renamed Orealios Gaea (grows 85% of total plantings), in an attempt to protect and promote the vineyard’s potential.