2001 Damijan Ribolla Gialla, Collio ($35)
In the Gorizia hills of Friuli on the border with Slovenia winemaker Damijan Podversic makes some of the most personal - and sure to be controversial - wines made anywhere. Damijan ferments on the skins in upright wood fermenters using only natural yeast. This may not sound so controversial, but indeed it is as he is making white wines not red. The results are white wines so concentrated with flavor and tannin that if you close your eyes you would be absolutely convinced you were drinking a red wine. Actually, you feel like you are drinking a red wine even when you have your eyes open. Podversic joins Gravner and Radikon, also from this region, in producing wines that really have no other equivalent in the world of white wines. What is it about Friuli that inspires such radical winemaking? While all three of these producers produce extreme wines, they are extreme in different ways and very distinct from each other. This orange/gold wine should be served at cool room temperature. It is intensely flavored and bone-dry with warm orange spiced flavors bolstered by a strong dose of tannin. Like this wine or not you have to admire the courage, intensity and creative independence exhibited by the winemaker. This is a must "brown-bag" for your tasting group that will drive your friends crazy and spark some serious debate. Ribolla Gialla is one of the indigenous vines of the Friuli region with records of its existence predating 1300. While this wine is a long way from a typical Ribolla Gialla it is a wine that stretches the imagination and brings a wonderful grape variety into the spotlight.
Warning: Serving Damijan to Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio lovers could be dangerous as, for them, this wine is the vinous equivalent of electro-shock therapy.
A Jens Schmidt Selection: Imported by Montecastelli Selections