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A Note from Sergio


Josko Gravner is one of those producers who challenges you. He's more than a winemaker; he's a wine philosopher. He makes wines with a soul, and he makes them according to his own principles, tenets that hearken back thousands of years. Josko grows his grapes naturally and makes his wines without intervention, using anfora, clay vats so large that you could fit a person inside them, sunk into the earth. He believes in the power of nature so completely that to interfere with nature would be sacrilege, and his wines look, smell and taste like no other. They are simply otherworldly.

Paolo Domeneghetti, owner of Domaine Select, the importer of Gravner, visited Josko last year and talked with Josko about the wines he's releasing, the 2005 vintage. Josko said:

With 2005 I understood one more time that mankind is nothing compared to nature, and it taught me that great or poor vintages do not exist. It took me 44 years to arrive to this conclusion--44 vintages. A great or poor vintage is an invention of mankind, of the media. Look at the stock exchange going up and down, only foolishness.


It is not the vintage to be at the man's disposal, but vice versa. 2003 was supposed to be my best wine, but the fear to lose such great fruit made me harvest too early [meaning in October] and if I had waited for the rain, I would have made my ideal wine.

On the opposite 2005, in the proximity of the harvest the rain came, and that is how nature awarded me. After the rain, came the noble botrytis. Botrytis is the best gift that grapes can receive. To have botrytis, the production must be 1kg of grapes per plant and wide fields. Botrytis gives to wine great minerality and great elegance that turn into great drinkability [with no sugar, just to be clear].

Please remember that wines should not only be told, but tasted and not just a glass; only after drinking a bottle can one understand the true value of a wine. In just one glass my wines will not be understood, but with patience in retasting them, everything becomes more clear.

My wines are often judged as too complex, difficult. This is the worst mistake. Trust me, my wines have only one defect; they are too simple, the simplicity that often becomes complexity. Do you think classical music is more or less complex than techno?

The four opening chords of Beethoven's Fifth versus any four seconds of dubstep would answer Josko's final question. There is an arresting beauty in pure symphony.

This week, I'm delighted to offer the 2005 vintage of Gravner's wines, along with the 2004 and a few handpicked wines from producers who also cherish wine's soul and nature's hand. These are unusual wines, wines that, as Josko suggests, require tasting, and tasting again, to comprehend them. Here's to simplicity so intrinsic, so pure and so genuine that it becomes something else altogether. Here's to nature, and all that it gives us.



My Best,

P.S. You can now follow me on Twitter: @Italian_Wine_SE.  
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Gravner Ribolla Gialla Anfora 2005 750ml
Gravner Ribolla Gialla Anfora 2005 750ml
Price: $89.99
Currently Unavailable.

Opulent, intense, and textured, the '05 Ribolla Gialla is a powerful wine--it’s a white that drinks like a red. This structured, fantastically layered wine shows ineffable notes of caramel, orchard fruit, crushed seashells, and minerals, all carried by velvety tannins. After growing his grapes with strict biodynamic protocol, Gravner lets his white grapes sit on the skins in his amphorae for around twelve months; then he ages the wine in casks for about six years before bottling, without fining or filtration. Unlike some other natural winemakers, Gravner does add small amounts of sulfur, believing that a tiny amount will keep his living, breathing wines from oxidizing, or dying a premature death. This amber wine is best served like a red and enjoyed with hearty fare. Trust us: its palate of honeyed apricots and peaches, warm spices, and savory caramel will stand up to it. more info
Paolo Bea Bianco Arboreus Umbria IGT 2007 750ml
Paolo Bea Bianco Arboreus Umbria IGT 2007 750ml
Price: $68.99
Currently Unavailable.

Like Bea’s Santa Chiara, his Arboreus Bianco is a full-figured amber-hued wine that’s weighty, lush, full-bodied and utterly delicious. 2007 marks just the third release of this white that drinks like a red, with a satisfying weightiness in the mouth, imparted by the wine’s sitting its lees for about nine months. This wine gets its name from seriously old pre-phylloxera vine Trebbiano Spoletino rootstock trained into tree-like shapes--and that’s where it also gets its nearly indescribable, intense flavor. Ripe golden apricots, dried orange peel, a touch of honey, a sprinkling of dried flowers and a dash of warm baking spices swirl and meld, making this wine like a walk through September Umbrian sunshine. Just 275 cases made of this vintage that’s drinking for the next half decade, deliciously. more info