Gravner Ribolla Gialla 2012
To say Josko Gravner is a rockstar in the world of wine would be an understatement. Every serious establishment in Europe clamours for a few of the 39000 bottles he produces from his 18 hectare estate. White wines fermented on skins for six months in clay amphorae? Be prepared for a mind and palate bending experience! The Gravner estate is located in the north-east of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, close to the border with Slovenia (Josko says vines and birds know no borders). The winery is located in the tiny enclave of Oslavia and is home to some of the most experimental producersin the world of wine today. The vineyards are mostly planted to the two native varieties, Ribolla Gialla & Pignolo with a smaller amounts of Pinot Grigio, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay, Sauvignon & Merlot, the latter are being phased out so the Josko can focus on Slavic varieties. The vineyards are run naturally with no fertilisers or chemical treatments. The fruit is hand harvested late to ensure the wines have alcohol and structure. The grapes are then destemmed, crushed and then transferred to the 2000 litre clay amphorae. The amphorae are buried in the cool soil up their necks allowing for a stable temperature. The wines are left to ferment naturally on skins for a full six months then transferred to large botte for further ageing. The wines are then bottled without fining or filtration and sit in cellar until the wine is 5 years old. Josko's makes wine that tastes of the vineyard, the region and its history. The sensitive use of the ancient winemaking techniques allow nature to take its path and the result is an incredibly complex, nuanced wine that jumps from the glass. It seems to me that the amphorae allows every nuance to shine in his wines. These are the most pure, expressive wines that I have ever tasted and anyone interested in what wine tastes like in its purest form should open a bottle of Gravner.