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Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands, which seemingly shoot vertically out of the sea, west of Patras, Peloponnese. The island is defined by Mt. Ainos, which towers some 1600 m above the vibrant, blue, sea, the peaks and upper parts are a national park. The dramatic landscape is rocky, and coloured by the Kefalonian Elati, a native tree who’s dark green needles give the mountain’s slopes an almost black appearance. Halfway down, starting around 800m and on down to 300m is the land of Robola; Kefalonia’s indigenous white grape. This grape has been grown on the slopes of Mt. Ainos for centuries. Today, many are still ungrafted, thriving in the limestone soils that cover the island. The high altitude vineyards, soils, and sea breezes ensure the wines of Kefalonia have naturally bracing acid, a distinct minerality, often flinty, and excellent phenolic characteristics. Rainfall is substantial during the winters in this stony, barren corner of the earth. However, summers are warm, dry, and offering cool nights. These are ideal conditions for white wines, all of which are unique, without being novel nor odd in character, rather these are lively, ethereal, and sophisticated. In 1982, Robola of Kefalonia was elevated to PDO status.

 

Orealios Gaea is a cooperative which in English was originally called the Kefalonian Robola Wine Cooperative. It was incorporated in 1982 as an effort to unite the grape growers of the region, as well as to protect and promote the vineyards of the region, and their potential. Presently, there are over 300 growers involved, and the coop occupies some 80% of the Robola region. In addition to their desire to promote Robola and the land from which it hails, the coop is also dedicated to continuing the ancient viticultural practices of the region. Given the gradient of the terrain, mechanized farming is all but impossible. Beginning in 1999, the coop has been pursuing organic practices.

 

R de Robola

 

As the name suggests “R” is the raw, naked, version of Robola, elaborated from younger vines, aged and fermented in stainless steel, this is a fresh, tropical wine. Low yields in the vineyards ensure some weight and structure, supporting an array of minerals, pineapple, lemon zest, and a touch of sea salt.

 

San Gerasimo

 

Assembled from selected sites, San Gerasimo is a more complex and sophisticated approach to Robola. It is fermented in stainless steel and then spends 3 months on the lees. The result is a silky mouthfeel of upper medium body, delivering grapefruit, lemon zest, spring flowers, and honeysuckle.

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