Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Breg My Heart

The wines of Josko Gravner are among the most iconoclastic expressions of their local varietals in Northern Italy. Sure, there are others like Radikon and Gaja who consistently push the winewaking envelope, but Gravner crafts wines of a complexity that extends far beyond the prices those others' wines fetch on the auction block. Child of novelty that I am, I recently acquired a bottle of his 2001 Breg "Anfora" with the help of Treave Temple at Crush on East 57th Street. Intending to drink it over the next few nights, I forwent the usual shipment to my cellar and opted to store it in my New-York-apartment-sized wine fridge. The unusual thing about Gravner's wines is that they are pressed in a manual vertical press and fermented (at least initially) in beeswax-lined terracotta amphorae buried into a hillside. The Breg is a field blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, picked and vinified separately and blended. In the glass the wine has a copper hue and great viscosity (for a white); so much so that it you could eyeball it for a dessert wine. On the palate, the Breg has enormous structure and tannins that only can be compared to a mature Montrachet. It is big in the mouth, with strawberry, rhubarb and other red fruit and earthy notes coming through. There is a marked oxidative character to the wine but never to the degree of, say, fino sherry or Arbois. With impressive length and a seemingly endless drinking window ahead of it, I cannot but give it my highest recommendations. It should be the appropriate compliment to savory seafood or, as I prepared, a simple cavatelli with local corn, shiitakes and fresh oregano. (Side note: With his eyes closed, my boyfriend thought this was a red wine. There's no faulting him on that count!)


Blogger Unknown said...

Gravner is not for the faint of heart. I find that it does have a an oxidative chacter or leesly quality which I find pleasant. I am reminded of baked clay mineral and an almost resinous turp acid which I have yet to grow appreciative of. Perhaps with time.

August 8, 2007 at 2:50 PM  

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