Gravner Ribolla 2009
Back in the mid-1990s, when Josko was widely acclaimed for his impressively rich new-wave Friulian wines, something still ate at him: he could never quite capture in his finished wines the true taste of a Ribolla grape plucked fresh from a vine. It wasn’t until he started experimenting with extended skin maceration that he found what he had been seeking, and it was that revelatory experience that set him off on his ultimate path. As is typically the case, this 2009 Ribolla—handled in the cellar in identical fashion to the Bianco Breg above—is less exotic and more stern than its brother. In keeping with the 2009 vintage character, there is almost a sense of restraint here (rare in Gravner), a coiled intensity with power in reserve—a sense of mineral profundity that hits one in the gut rather than dances on the tongue. The palate strikes with focused potency, swelling in volume just when one thinks things couldn’t possibly get more intense. This is high drama shorn of sentimentality, a riveting wine that could come from no other cellar than Gravner’s.