Wine lovers understandably zoom in on Josko Gravner’s use of Georgian amphorae and the months-long macerations that his white wines receive. Often forgotten is the fact that the specific methods Gravner uses in his cellar are only one part of the story. After all, Gravner was a very highly-regarded vigneron well before his 2001 conversion to traditional Friulian/Slovenian methods.
As with all great wines, the heart of every Gravner wine is in the vineyards, not the winery. These are steep, terraced sites with clay, sandstone, and marine sediment terroir. The vineyards are not merely tended by hand, the entire environment in and around the vines has been carefully managed to coexist harmoniously with nature. Roughly half of the property remains forested, trees (everything from olives to apples to cypress) are even dispersed among the vines, and ponds have been dug among the largest plots. Josko recognizes that viticulture is by necessity monoculture, and so he tries to correct that imbalance by bringing nature directly to the vineyards.
In the winery, of course, there are Gravner’s famous terra cotta amphorae, buried in the ground and sealed with beeswax. The whites receive long macerations (usually 5-7 months), even longer aging in large neutral oak (6 or more years), and then a further year or more in bottle. Naturally, only indigenous yeast is used, and sulfur is the only rare addition.
These are special, extraordinary, and often very challenging wines. They are also very limited.
For More Information Visit: Rosenthal Wine Merchant
Stanko Radikon is a maverick in a land of mavericks. The town of Oslavia, on a relatively tiny stretch of hills north of the border town of Gorizia in the Isonzo zone of Friuli, is home to a number of talented and individualistic wine makers. The vineyards were originally planted by Stanko’s grandfather Franz Mikulus with the local favorite, the Ribolla Gialla grape. In 1948, Stanko’s parents, who had inherited the property from his mother’s father, planted Merlot, (Tocai) Friulano and Pinot Grigio. Today, Stanko, his wife, Suzana and son, Sasa maintain their family’s land. All of Radikon’s wines receive very extensive skin contact (up to 6 months for certain portions of the whites), which gives each of them tremendous depth, complexity, character, and a texture that is at once rich and etherial. The long maceration also gives the ‘white’ wines a distinctive orange-amber hue.
Radikon ‘Slatnik’ (Chardonnay/Friulano)
Radikon ’S’ Pinot Grigio
Radikon ‘Jakot’ (Friulano)
Radikon ‘Oslavje’ (Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio/Sauvignon)
For More Information Visit: Louis Dressner Selections
Silvana Forte and Flavio Basilicata established the estate in 1984 with the goal to produce wines with both tradition and sense of terroir. They are committed to wines that flout traditional canons. Flavio could be called an avant-garde traditionalist. He wants to keep alive the varietals and the ancient methods but he’s also aware of the necessity of refinement and complexity required today. His winemaking approach is simply ‘less is better’. Hence, he does not rack the wines unless absolutely necessary, preferring the action of the lees and oxygen to any intrusive manipulation. He doesn’t want to produce big, showy wines, rather natural wines that reflect the site, the vintage, the history and the ambition of a long ageing potential.
Le Due Terre Sacrisassi Rosso
Le Due Terre Sacrisassi Bianco
Le Due Terre Merlot
Le Due Terre Pinot Nero
For More Information Visit: Indie Wineries
Situated a stone’s throw away from the Slovenian border, Edi Keber’s 10 hectares of vineyards in northern Italy grow on the classic “ponka” soil – a stony, friable marl that gives the wines remarkable weight and body. Ponka naturally stresses the vines, which produce small quantities of grapes and provide a distinctive minerality, typical of the Collio region. Keber’s first bottled wines date back to 1957, although his family, originally from Vienna, has made wine for 350 years. Edi’s young son, Kristian, follows his father’s maverick footsteps helping in every aspect of the production. Ebi desired his one white wine to embody the tradition of the Collio by blending the three varieties that have been grown in the area since before the two great wars: Friulano, providing for body and structure, Malvasia Istriana to impart the aromatic component and Ribolla Gialla for its acidity. The grapes are picked at their highest possible maturity levels. Fermented and matured in old cement vats, which according to Edi, add an element of “soul” to the wine as opposed to the sterility of stainless steel. Dry on the palate with nice minerality and hints of grass and intense, long finish. The total production is 60,000 bottles.
Keber Bianco Collio
For More Information Visit: Edi Keber