White wine with red meat? I say yes—when the wine is Gravner. Gravner’s magical, golden wines are fascinating on their own, but they also assume different disguises when paired with food. They are some of the most versatile wines I have ever tasted, and they cause most of my senses to stir. Not only do I enjoy partaking in these wines, but also I take great pleasure in playing with spices, herbs, textures and proteins to elicit the varying flavors and nuances in these special Friulian wines. Similar to great red wines, Gravner’s amber wines have the acidity, tannins and structure that promise vitality and they’re destined to live a long life.
I had a great privilege of meeting Josko last year, tasting his prized Ribolla Gialla through seven vintages, 1998 through 2006. These mysterious Gravner wines aren’t always instantly scrumptious; instead they slowly draw you in, evolving with time, producing a feeling similar to when a book or a movie starts slowly, draws you in gradually, and next thing you know you are hooked. As cerebral as these Gravner’s wines can be, they are also just tremendously fun to drink, both in their youth and mature stages of life.
Note to those who partake: if you are expecting a fruit-forward zesty white you will be sharply disappointed. However, if you are open to Gravner’s magic, you will be greatly rewarded with wines that have gorgeous texture, depth and character.
Gravner 2004 Breg Anfora $89.99
Ripe apricots, honeycomb, red tea, wildflowers and spices abound in this Breg Anfora. Exquisitely balanced, the ’04 Breg, a blend of white grapes, is a gorgeous, textured wine. This saffron-hued wine has an unctuous mouth-feel that’s filled with velvety tannins, a deceptively chewy body, and a finish that last for what feels like ages.
Gravner 1998 Breg $125.00
This special blend of Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling offers perfumed aromas of stone fruit and honey. On the palate this Breg is soft with incredible elegance, as the wine has had time to soften and evolve. This is a rare treat and, along with 1991 that my friend Mark recently shared with me, this ’98 Breg is of the most memorable Gravner wines that I have yet to taste. If you love Gravner you will fall more in love, and if you have yet to dive in, it doesn’t get much better than this!