Gravner 2011 Ribolla

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Josko Gravner is one of Italy's most revered but also most controversial wine producers. Back in 1997 he was the first producer to introduce amphoras from Georgia to ferment and age his wines. This controversial technique changed the wines entirely creating whole new category, what we now call 'orange' wines. The wines undergo an extended maceration in amphora, then, once racked off the skins, they are aged for a further period in the amphora before being transferred to Slavonian oak cask for around 5 years.

The wines are quite extraordinary and despite the now popularity of ageing wine in these vessels, Gravner's wines are unique for their depth of flavour and character. Any adventurous wine lover must try a Gravner wine at least once in their life.

"Lustrous amber. Deep and compact with enormous depth, but at the same time still a little tight on the nose. Bread crust, acacia honey and savoury, saline notes. Very tightly knit apricot and spice palate, and still very compact but with a fine, persistent thread of acidity running all the way through the wine. Lots of super-fine tannins like a wall-to-wall carpet for the still-compact fruit. A Ribolla Gialla monument." Walter Speller,, 18 points

Italy | Friuli-Venezia Giulia | Gravner | 100% Ribolla Gialla | ABV 15.5% | Drink 2021 - 2031+ | 75cl

The Region



Friuli, or Friuli-Venezia Giulia to give it its full name, has a border with Slovenia to the east and with Austria to the north. Here you can see many wine producers with Slavic or Germanic sounding names such as Radikon, Gravner and Jermann. Friuli has a number of DOCs but most of the top producers are to be found up from the Italian plain into the hills around Gorizia and Udine, the most famous of which are Collio and Colli Oriental del Friuli. The region's production is around three quarters white, the highest proportion of any Italian region and is home to many of Italy's most ambitious and acclaimed of these wines.

In terms of grape varieties, there is the usual clutch of international varieties, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Franc to be found in abundance, but also many high quality local varieties such as Verduzzo, Ribolla Gialla and Refosco, among others. It is not unusual here for many of the top wines to be made from a blend of many varieties, and quite often made in an, it's reasonably fair to say, international style. On the other hand, there has been a movement here, initiated by the revered Josko Gravner, for wines made using ancient techniques, mostly using long macerations in Qvevri (large clay amphoras, originating in Georgia) with wines ending up with deep golden colours, the so-called 'orange' wines. These are remarkably profound wines, but very much an acquired taste.

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