"I make wine for myself. What's left, I sell" Josko Gravner since 1998.
Josko Gravner has never been a guy apt to follow rules. In the world of wine he is know as the “amphorae eretic” as he ditched all conventional, modern, winemaking techniques in favour of the way in which the romans used to make wine. He sees himself as a “facilitator” of a natural process, not a maker. There is no making in nature, there are chemical processes that just need to be managed properly.
The way he got to this approach is quite peculiar, as he went from one extreme to the other.
When he was young he was seeking quality and quantity and, to do that, he bought every possible piece of technology available for winemaking. He experimented, learned, made mistakes, found interesting things… but he was never happy. This approach is frenetic, fast-paced, it’s probably what winemaking would be in Canary Wharf. This was not the life he wanted, he was not happy with his wine.
This is why, gradually, he started removing all the equipment he bought from the process. He went back to the roots of winemaking, without even using steel crates or barrique barrels: he used amphorae, like the romans did. He says “the amphorae from the Caucasus are gently cradled by my land”, this is how his beautiful products are made.
Friuli is not a famous region in Italy, it is far from the shiny lights of Milan and Rome, but it’s full of history and the land has a lot to give. People there are humble, not the friendliest probably, but hard working and honest, very jealous and protective of their beautiful region.
Calm is what you need to live and enjoy the beautiful things life gives you, be it watching a sunset over the Alps, enjoying a warm bath or sipping a glass of this wonder of nature and nurture. Calm is a part of this wine, it’s like Josko has done 99% of the work, but 1% is required by you, when you drink it. You have to respect this wine, like a wild animal, it will upset you if you don’t, but it will give you immense satisfaction of you do.
This wine will take time. All those years in a bottle will require decanting, at least for 1 hours but better if 2. Also, as this is a not traditional while, the service temperature should be 16-18C.
The color of this wine will make you doubt that it can be classified as White. It is white as nature intended it, with macerated grapes that “lost” some color, making the product opaque, orange, richer and bolder than traditional whites.
Its bouquet is a story that will be told over at least 3 hours. Opening with a waxy blast of overripe peach, apricot, hints of cinnamon, salty caramel, soy sauce, banana… if you have the discipline to “just sniff it”, you should serve the glass on the table and leave it there, checking every now and then to make sure you capture all the notes. You will also “see” changes, as the wine becomes more brilliant and clean. It’s like going to see and Opera at the Arena di Verona, there is a story and music that change over time in perfect harmony, generating emotions in the observer as the plot unveils.
After the 2h mark it will become ultra complex, with creme brulee and amontillado sherry notes.
Palate is silky, with a well rounded acidity that perfectly integrates with the tannins, making this wine the perfect companion for so many dishes: a good Pasta all’Amatriciana, pork brisket, crab...
This is not a wine for everyone, it’s for the curious, the adventurer, the lover of unusual things. It’s like the guitar of Steve Vai or the piano of Vladimir Horowitz, only a few people truly appreciate these things, but if you do, it’ll be very hard to go back.
You can find this wine: https://www.italiantreasures.co.uk/collections/white-wine/products/ribolla-gialla