Robola is often touted as Greece’s second noblest white grape1, forever trailing on the coattails of Assyrtiko. If Assyrtiko has a greater footprint in consumers’ minds, it’s in part due to the crushing influx of tourists to Santorini and the enduring affective link they build while traveling in Greece.
But Robola remains a total mystery to the rest of the world: no one seems to have heard of it outside of Greek industry tastings. And unsurprisingly, no one has heard of its home: the stunning Ionian island of Cephalonia itself.
Only Italian and English tourists seem to have discovered the Cephalonian secret. Historically, they’ve an unfair advantage, as the Venetians and later the English ‘protected’ the island after the Turks lost control in 1460.
Poor Robola. No one speaks of this silver medalist, this silent prince, who lives in the shadow of its Santorinian counterpart.
Or — more precisely — who lives in the shadow of Mount Ainos.
The Robola grape grows on the slopes of this highest peak of Cephalonia (also spelled Kefalonia). A fair share (10-30%) of these are ungrafted vines, over 100 years old, planted at up to 2600 ft (800 m).
Which is to say: this is the real deal. Here is a unique wine expressing Cephalonia’s limestone terroir in the most raw, direct form possible.
GETTING DEEP INSIDE LIMESTONE
Cephalonia is a shimmering, turquoise-watered island paradise; yet another otherworldly, karstic limestone world in Greece, whose crown jewel is the Melissani cave.
The Melissani cave’s roof fell in thousands of years ago, and left a 50 x 40 m gateway to a cavernous lake world. The cave beneath had been hollowed out (Click to Read more)
- Malagouzia has also risen in fashion, and has more recently acquired this moniker. [↩]