When we talk about Josko (Francesco) Gravner we tend to summarize the work of this man by associating him with the famous aging containers he has used for almost 20 years: the Georgian amphorae (the qvevri). To say the truth, his story is much more fascinating and also much longer since his winery was born long before him, in 1901, when his family bought a house and 2.5 hectares of vineyard in Oslavia, in the Collio Goriziano, on the border with Slovenia. That house, the only one left standing at the end of the First World War, also served as a winery and has continued to do so until today, despite the damage, repaired, of the 1980 Friuli earthquake.
In this house Josko grew up and began to develop his first conceptions of vineyards and wines almost in contrast with the natural and holistic ones that his father and his uncle had carried out until the 70s. On this regard it is worth mentioning that Josko’s wines, especially in the 80s and 90s, as well as being produced with all the most modern technical, chemical and scientific discoveries, were incredibly good wines. Precisely for this reason it was almost incomprehensible his choice, at the end of the 90s, to deny what he had done up to that moment, in search of a more sincere and expressive viticulture of those lands and those vineyards, choosing to produce wines that, especially at the beginning, were harshly criticized by the sector guides.
But what was the “Gravner revolution” about? First of all, Josko, despite being its creator and the main exponent, immediately tried to make team play involving other winemakers of the area in this project, iconic names such as Radikon, Kante, Princic and many others. Secondly, his production philosophy, today entirely biodynamic, had an evolution over time starting from the choice to adopt amphorae as containers for vinification and maceration of wines and arriving, over time, to recreation in his 18 hectares of vineyards of a rich and varied ecosystem, with the planting of fruit trees and the creation of ponds (precious sources of biological life). The most recent step of this route was the choice, starting from 2016, to produce exclusively Ribolla or Pignolo based wines, the two historical vines of the area, another anti-commercial decision dictated only by that constant desire to search for the enological truth that Gravner proudly claims.
One of the last masterpieces to disappear could be Rujno, a wine with a very long aging made of Merlot and a small balance of Cabernet Sauvignon (5%), cultivated together in the Hum vineyard, planted in 1966, and, in the case of the 2003 harvest, collected in the second half of September. As the fermentation in amphora was a choice that entered the full regime only in 2006, this wine did not use it and spontaneously fermented on the skins in open vats for five weeks without temperature control. It then took seven years of oak barrels and another seven in bottles aging before its commercialization.
The vintage in question shows an intense ruby color, with an olfactory range that opens on notes of black cherry syrup, mulberry, tomato paste and carob, followed by tarot orange, pot pourri, black pepper and vinyl, with final echoes of humus, shredded cigar and empyrumatic of excellent articulation. The palate, despite its undeniable breadth and generosity, embodies in the most exhaustive way the concept of balance, thanks to the counterweight of balsamic freshness, a hint of spiciness from black pepper and a tannin now totally smooth and integrated; all accompanied by the return of red fruit, spice and empyrumatic that persist for a long time even after the juicy closure.
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