(2019) From Gravner's pre-amphora period, made in big barrels with seven days skin contact. Also the first year Josko was searching for Botrytis in his grapes. Gorgeous nose, with honey and sesame seeds, a definite sense of sweetness and the latent vibrancy of the fruit - the Sauvignon and Riesliing - still discernable, juicy citrus to finish. A big change of pace from the amphora wines, lots of punchy fruit, touched with caramel and coffee but a marvellous wine.
(2019) From the pre-amphora period, made in a mix of 80% new and older barriques. No skin contact. Plenty of orange and even peachiness, a little bit of age showing, a touch of oxidation, but the colour still so youthful. The waxy, old parcel string and brown paper quality is intriguing and there is genuine fruit sweetness at the core of this still. Perhaps not in perfect condition, but still very good.
(2019) As a wine that *could* have come from a top Burgundy appellation, it is probably the more 'international' style that Josko later rejected, but he pulled out a bottle to show me and I thought - viewed objectively - it was stull a fabulous wine. It has a buttercup yellow into light gold colour. It is very much Chardonnay, very much Burgundian, with some creamy hazelnut and almond over buttery but clean and so pure custardy apple fruit, delightful pastry notes of the delicate oak. Hugely sweet fruit on the palate, deliciously medium-bodied, with gorgeous spices and toast into the finish, the crisp lemon acidity and those delicate but sweet fruit flavours beautifully balanced.
(2019) Showing a rather more rotty, aged character, more oxidation, certainly seems to have aged more, but still plenty of interest here, plenty of quality, with massive lemon pith and grapefruit zesty acidity, it still has length and tang, but not entirely convincing at this age.
(2019) An extraordinary Vino de Tavola, Ribolla harvested on Sunday 23rd November 2008, Thursday 12th November 2009 and Friday 15th November 2010, all Botrytis grapes. Not destemmed or crushed, aged in old barriques. Burnished tawny gold, laden with honey and mocha, apricot and touches of bergamot and clove. Such lovely warmth and spice about this, but an intense fruitiness too. Gorgeous slippery texture and intense sweetness, with a cherry tang to the acidity, and that salty note adding lovely freshness along with the definition of the acidity. 126g/l of sugar and only 1200 bottles made which, a few Italian merchants are still offering at around €400 per bottle (use wine-searcher link).
(2017) Very smooth, but immediately involving nose, with a slightly purer, less Botrytis character than the 2008, but such wonderful purity of fruit here, as well as the complex phenolic characters from the long skin contact. Apricot and orange, marmalade-like quality of bittersweetness, delicious, the fruit almost nectarine-like, but of course wrapped in more complex earth and salt flavours, and spices too.
(2017) Produced at the Azienda Grappolo d’Oro on the Alpine terraces of Friuli, the Martincigh family farm this 20-hectare estate, which has been devoted to vineyards since Roman Times. This is a terrifically expressive Sauvignon, capturing some of the brilliance normally associated with Marlborough in New Zealand, but tempered with a classic northern European restraint. There's a hint of Alpine white flowers, a touch of English summer hedgerows, and an exotic fruitiness with notes of lychee and juicy, ripe mango along with some lemony zest. The smooth, ripe character of the palate has weight and real presence, and a similar balance of the tropical and of clear, shimmering focus to the fruit and acidity. Super-impressive. A 2.25-litre box costs £27.00 (£9.00 per bottle equivalent) and 5-litres costs £49.00, or £7.36 per bottle equivalent.
(2017) This Pinot Blanc from Friuli, north of Venice and close to the Slovenian border, is fermented in large Slavonian oak casks. It has a certain richness on the nose, cream, ripe, sweet apple and a light hint of spices. In the mouth it has texture and richness too, though the fruit is juicy and racy, a touch tropical, but finishing with apple acidity.
(2016) One of the most attractively packaged wines I have seen for some time, this is one of a pair of delightful northern Italian whites in Wine Rack, its partner Sauvignon the same price and really just as good. This is a Friuli wine made from the grape once known as Tocai Friulano, that term now outlawed following Hungarian intervention, and so now simply Friulano (aka Sauvignonasse). It shimmers with life, the creamy but crisp apple nose showing touches of floral character and almond creamy/nuttiness, but clean as a whistle. On the palate it is quite full and rich in texture, but has beautifully limpid fruit clarity, great freshness, and a long, elegant and tapering finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2016) Wonderful tobacco and honey colour. Beautiful nose, delicate salt and tiny meat-stock notes. Extraordinary salty intensity, like a great Fino sherry but without the oxidation, meaty notes, such superb natural concentration with a great lemony thrust of acidity, huge precision to the finish. No doubt this will age for a decade or more.