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Gravner

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The vineyards of the domaine curl over the hills passing seamlessly across the border of Italy into the slopes of Slovenia.  Meticulously maintained, the rows of grapevines settle into terraces that are dotted throughout with trees and bodies of water designed to attract wildlife and assure biodiversity.  Gravner is steadily replanting to assure the primacy of the autochthonous grape varieties of Ribolla and Pignolo.  After determining that stainless steel was not a proper marriage for his wines in the 1990s, Josko Gravner decided to follow the ancient wine-producing techniques used in the Caucasus and has began fermenting his wines in huge amphorae buried in the ground in his cellars in 2001, with a full conversion for all wines as of 2004.  The whites, which make up about 85% of the estate’s production, spend about 10 months total in amphorae, with the reds a shorter 1 to 2 months.  He insists on aging his wines in large barrels for many years so release dates for most wines are from 7 to 10 years and more from the date of harvest.

breg-b-2007-0.75 Bianco Breg 2007: the classic Gravner blend of Riesling Italico, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon and Chardonnay, fermented separately but blended and aged together. A textbook example of the Gravner approach: long maceration, wild yeasts, no temperature control; after the extended cuvaison and additional five months in amphorae, the wine has been aged for six years in large oak barrels; bottled unfined and unfiltered.
ribolla-2007-0.75 Ribolla Gialla 2007:  exclusively composed of the local Ribolla grape; fermented in Georgian amphorae buried underground; long maceration with wild yeasts and no temperature control; after fermentation, the wine rests again in amphorae for five more months and then is aged in large oak barrels for an additional six years; bottled without fining or filtering.
pinot-grigio-2006 Pinot Grigio Riserva 2006: a special bottling from an exceptional vintage; the prior release of this rare selection was from the 2001 vintage; longer aging, delayed release and single variety.
rosso-breg-2004 Rosso Breg 2004:  produced exclusively from the native Pignolo grape and fermented on the skins for an extensive period in large wood vats; wild yeasts and no temperature control employed; then, aged in oak barrels for an additional five years and given bottle age of five more years before release; bottled without fining or filtration.
Rosso-rujno-2001 Rosso Rujno 2001:  a selection of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon produced only in the finest vintages in very limited quantity (1700 bottles); a five week cuvaison in open oak vats and, as always, only wild yeasts and no temperature control; aged in oak barrels for seven years and then aged in bottle for an additional seven years before release; never fined or filtered.
8.9.10: The third rarity in this round of new releases, Gravner’s mind-bending “8.9.10” is the scarcest of them all. In the vintages 2008, 2009, and 2010, Josko painstakingly selected individual bunches of Ribolla based on their perfection of botrytis and allowed them to hang until well into November, picking them at towering sugar levels and meager levels of juice. This wine, aged in small used barrels and bottled in 2015, combines the juice from all three of those vintages into an elixir both massively sweet and shockingly complex. Ribolla’s inherent acidity prevents any trace of cloyingness from seeping in, and one feels a clear connection between this wine and his dry versions of the variety in its pit-fruit flavors and intense exotic-spice elements. It is another “outer limits” creation from this visionary grower—a wine that almost defies belief, but for whose existence we are beyond thankful.
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The Polarizing Power of Orange Wine

THE POUR
By Eric Asimov

The best examples of these white wines, made with red techniques, are striking and wonderful. Still some dismiss this ancient wine, now trendy once more.

From a distance, what divides white wines from reds seems pretty clear. Yes, the color is obvious, but it’s also the methods of production.

To make red wine, the producer begins by macerating the juice of the grapes with the pigment-bearing skins. This adds not only color to the juice but also tannins, which contribute texture and structure to the darkening wine. When the fermentation is complete and the winemaker is satisfied, the wine is drawn off the skins to begin the aging process.

“Wines like those from Josko Gravner…”

“Farther south, in Umbria, Paolo Bea produces Arboreus, a waxy, bright and juicy wine made of trebbiano spoletino.”

New Releases from the Iconic Josko Gravner

It is no exaggeration to count Josko Gravner among the most influential winegrowers of the past half-century, and in the world of non-interventionist wine his impact is perhaps unmatched. His revival of the ancient practice of white-wine skin-maceration over two decades ago was certainly not an inevitability, especially considering technology’s ever-increasing role in the winemaking process, and it took someone of Gravner’s vision and tenacity to forge such a path.

New Releases from Gravner

“Orange wine” is a bona fide category now, one whose amber-colored tentacles have crept further and further into the mainstream over the past several years. Still, amidst an ocean of skin-contact white wines from every corner of the globe, those of Josko Gravner stand apart. His resurrection of this ancient practice two decades ago was certainly not an inevitability, especially considering technology’s ever-increasing role in the winemaking process, and it took someone of Gravner’s vision and tenacity to forge such a path for himself.

Friuli Venezia Giulia: A Wine Smorgasbord

BY IAN D’AGATA | MAY 17, 2018 | No other region in Italy offers as large a selection of outstanding white wines from so many different grape varieties as Friuli Venezia Giulia does, while the region’s native red grapes yield wines that are equally distinctive. Make no mistake about it: Friuli Venezia Giulia is the […]