If you happen to fall in love with wine, you should prepare to spend most of your life confused, constantly humbled, relearning over and over again what you thought you'd already grasped. I suppose, in some ways, this is similar to falling in love with a person.
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When people speak of traditional Italian wines (as opposed to modern ones), they mean wines that are produced more or less the way they were about 100 years ago. The turn of the twentieth century was a time before the widespread introduction of French barriques, single vineyard bottlings, and temperature-controlled fermentations in stainless steel tanks. All of these inventions (combined with lower yields, global warming, and a shorter aging period) has combined to make wines that are now more concentrated, fruit-forward, and oaky than in times past. In short, more modern. Josko Gravner, an off-the-wall winemaker in the northeastern region of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, makes a very different type of "traditional" Italian wine. Instead of using methods from 100 years ago,...