Imagine there is this special restaurant you’ve been told the owner is a passionate wine expert and that he treasures a great colletion of wine in this place. Then imagine they tell you there is a chance for you of visiting the underground cellar. One of those cellars you immediately know it will be amazing because it is secured by lock and keys. And then you find yourself in a place you would want to stay forever. Well, my friend, that place exists and it is called Lokanda Devetak.
Located in San Michele del Carso, Gorizia, in Italia, Augustin Devetak is the owner of this great restaurant located in the middle of nowhere. You know you are arriving because the road comes from a two-lane highway to a one-lane backroad, then to a narrow single lane road to a really small side road fitting only one car. Both ways. Only two possibilities there: either the road ends and you have to go back or you have reached Lokanda Devetak.
The place is very charming and even thought is far from everywhere is very popular. You have to book well in advance because not only locals go there but also can be the place chosen for the presidents of nearby countries to get together in an informal meeting.
We won’t tell here about how much money can be in the cellar, but it is a lot. Augustin loves local wine from Friuli, and you can see the best producers around. From nearby Slovenia he has Klinec, Mlecnik, Movia or Simsic. Friuli winemakers such as Paolo Vodopivec, Josko Gravner, Marko and Boris Primosic, Sasha Radikon, Stefano Bensa of La Castellada or Marco and Livio Felluga. Then some of the best Amarone wines or Brunello di Montalcino. And if you love Barolos, this is your dream place. Augustin has magnums of Conterno going back in time to the early 1990s. Some of these wines, not only Barolos but the rest, he doesn’t sell. He values them so much. Like a bottle of Rosso de La Castellada 1992 he opened recently and it was amazing, as he told us. He has a large vintage collection of Sassicaia as well, both regular bottles and magnums, and all the champagne and Burgundy wines you can ever think of.
So we went to this place and the first thing to do, after almost losing conscience in the cellar, was trying to hide ourselves in one of its corners but Augustin was very vigilant to our moves, so we went for dinner and asked him to choose the wines for us. And it was a great thing to do.
With the first appetizer, he served a glass of a Slovenian sparkling wine called Sinefinis Rebolium Brut MMXII, produced with the Slovenian version of Ribolla Gialla, a grape we recently discovered and got us deeply in love. After this one, with the second appetizer, a Malvasia 2013, DOC Isonzo Del Friuli, by Azienda Agricola Mauro Drius. Very good wine, very interesting Malvasia. With the first main elaborated with Pasta alle funghi and truffle we enjoyed a superb Malvasia 2013, DOC Carso-Kras, by Azienda Agricola Castello di Rubbia, a wine whose must stayed for six days macerating with the skins. Wonderful wine we became instant fans. Finally, with our main of Wild boar sirloin with polenta, a Refosco Del Peduculo Rosso 2011, DOC Friuli Colli Orientali, by Livio Felluga. Good wine, the best Refosco tasted so far, even if it is a variety we dont fully grasp.
Small chocolate dessert to keep up in shape, and wanting to stay with the Ribolla Gialla, a Grappa di Monovitigno Ribolla by Nonino using this variety.
Such a great dinner, such a great place. Thank you, Augustin, for the experience.