The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Memories of Verona and Josko Gravner

Posted on | September 21, 2015 | Written by Janice Cable | No Comments

640px-Romeo_and_juliet_brownIt could only be a romance. How could it be anything but? The first time I had Gravner Breg and Gravner Ribolla Anfora, I was in Verona. There with IWM Founder Sergio Esposito we had dinner with Filippo Polidori, one of Sergio’s close friends and the sales manager for Josko Gravner. It was VinItaly, and this antediluvian café was very clearly the industry spot. My Italian is pretty lame, but even were I fluent, I’d have been so delirious with the company, the capretto risotto, and the Gravner wines that I doubt I’d have been witty. I can’t separate the heady, textured feel of drinking these wines from the glittery Verona night, its spectacular romance and the sense that the air was buzzing with everyone who knew anything about wine.

My memory of this meal—and I’m not doing it justice; it wasn’t merely the first time I experienced the telescoping layers of Gravner’s amber wines for it was also the first time I ate burrata—is almost hallucinogenic in retrospect. Filled to the jawline with people, Verona was a nightmare for cars, and we haplessly made it a nightmare for people too. Driving to the restaurant, the GPS sent us down a marble-paved pedestrian walkway. Tourists skittered like bunnies, gelato in hands. Sergio had to wedge our car into this tiny church parking lot. I’m still shocked that no bumpers were scraped.

After the meal, Sergio, Filippo, a friend whose name escapes me but whose ‘70s inflected outfit will never leave me, and I wandered around Verona. We crossed a giant piazza and lounged before a fountain; I still rue the fact I left my camera in the hotel room. We passed the home of Juliet. We walked by the Verona Arena, an ancient coliseum that’s still in use. We wandered the stone streets and Verona shimmered like a mirage all around; my febrile American mind wonders if it was real or a figment brought about by Gravner. Frankly, I don’t really care—as long as it’s an experience I can recapture whenever I drink Josko’s wonderful, chimerical wines.

IWM has a new allocation of Gravner’s 2005 Anfora Breg and Anfora Ribolla Gialla; you can also explore the world of orange wines in our upcoming tasting at IWM NYC on Saturday, October 31.

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