Hello wine lovers!
If you happen to visit Ljubljana you’ll definitely enjoy in its beauty and what it can offer to visitors from all parts of the world. While walking around old Ljubljana town be on the lookout for a tiny little store named Balthazar. It is a recent addition to the wine scene in Ljubljana and is located just on the mid-way towards Ljubljana castle at Gornji trg 22.
In this little store you can find a lovely selection of wines from renowned Slovenian wine makers (Edi Simčič, Movia, Kabaj, Marjan Simčič, Batič, Rodica, Guerila, Joaness – Protner), but also selected wines from other countries, various liquors and tasty ecological delicacies from Dolenjska region. The selection is already broad and they keep on expanding it.
They are organizing various tastings and I’m helping there with different courses all related to wine. Couple of days ago we prepared an introduction course on how wine is made and how to taste it. The audience was thrilled and as it looks it will become a regular thing there …
You can drop by their Facebook page and give them a like to stay in touch. Or even better, drop by the store and enjoy a sip of some lovely wine … And if you’re interested in having a tasting or wine course just let them know (or leave me a note).
In below gallery you can get a look at how lovely Balthazar looks like and how we enjoyed in our wine trip … Photo credit goes to Polona Novak and her smartphone, images are unfiltered and unprocessed 😉
Hope to see you there and cheers!
Hello wine lovers!
What a treat I have this time for you. Finally we are touching ground also at our Posavje region. It’s surface consists of 2.700 hectares of vineyards and is divided into 3 wine districts:
- Bizeljsko – Sremič (862 ha)
- Dolenjska and (1.475 ha) and
- Bela krajina (366 ha).
Today we are stopping in Bela krajina and since we are here we must mention – Otmar Šturm. Oti, as friends call him, is not only known for his multiple times awarded wines, but also as being one of the most innovative wine makers from the region. In times when Posavje was not know as warranty for high quality wines he chose to walk the path of quality. Focused on low yield, he’s making wines that are reach with aromas, full bodied and persistent.
This example says best; eager and full of enthusiasm he went buying a vineyard in 1993 without looking what variety was planted. Later he found out it was Gewürztraminer which at the time was not on the list of suggested or allowed wine varieties there. According to Slovenian legislation you cannot put on the label a vintage that is not on these lists so he managed to obtain all documentation as white blend, allowing him to put the wine on market. This wine is now found under the name of “Prepovedani sadež – Forbidden fruit” and its 2007 vintage was awarded with Silver medal at Decanter’s Wine World Awards in 2012. And this is just one of the cases.
You can sense Otis decision in this Pinot noir. After the picking grapes went through a 14 days maceration. Oti jokies that it lasted for couple of days more, until at the end only seeds were floating on top – and these seeds are then used to make a delicious bread. After that wine was laid into a mix of new and used barrels for 2 years and left to ferment on lees, where it also went through malolactic fermentation. At end the wine was bottled without filtration.
This Pinot noir is of a ruby red color with garnet shades, it is quite consistent and crystal clear.
On the nose it is intense and fine, with aromas of preserved fruit like plum and sour cherry jam, dried flowers, spices like cloves, liquorice and vanilla, dried tobacco, chocolate, ethereal and a gentle hint of roasted almonds and graphite. It is packed with an ample bag of aromas.
Its taste is dry, warm and soft, on the other side fresh, tannic (tannins are starting to round) and tasty. A balanced, intense, elegant, full bodied and persistent Pinot noir that is harmonious and ready to be enjoyed now. You can easily forget it in your cellar for tannins to round more and it has a good aging potential.
I was lucky to attend sommelier course with Oti this year, getting to know him and taste his wines. I still have some, so you can expect some related posts. Oti is also taking care of Metliška črnina website which is a nice source for wine news from the region. If you find yourself in Metlika I advise you to visit its castle. You’ll be able to taste Šturm wines in the restaurant and enjoy in local delicacies – Oti is owning the place there, so chances are you’ll even meet him in person.
Until the next time, cheers!
Hello wine lovers!
Well here we go again, finally time has come to finish this break – hope you didn’t miss me too much. We are starting this time with a wine that is coming from Steyer family, a Gewürztraminer which in Slovenia is called Dišeči traminec.
The Steyer family cultivates 16 hectares of vineyards on the south to south-eastern slopes of Plitvice, Aženski top and Police with the cellar located in Apače – Plitvica. Vineyards are planted with Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Rheinriesling, Sauvignon, Yellow Muscat, Welschriesling, Pinot blanc and two red wine varieties – Pinot noir and Zweigelt.
Gewürztraminer is rendering top quality wine in the wine-growing distirct Radgona-Kapela gorice. Therefore the largest part of their vineyards is planted with it. They are cultivating it with greatest attention. Its attention is respected also in the cellar since it is their goal to produce a large palette of Traminer varieties starting from wines of normal vintage to special vintage wine sorts of the entire quality range. Absolutelz to mention also their sparkling wine made from Gewürztraminer by the classical méthode champenoise, and Gewürztraminer exclusive which was laid in oak barrels.
On the market you can find their wine sorted in 3 different ranges; white label which marks fresh wines ideal for every occasion, black label representing richer, more mature wines refined in oak barrels and black label with golden inscription which dedicated to predicates.
So here we go with this Gewürztraminer vintage 2011, as you see from images it is baring the white label and it is medium-sweet.
The wine is of a straw yellow color and has golden nuances. It is dense and crystal clear. On the nose it is intense and fine with aromas of ripe fruit like pears, strawberries, citruses, melon … You sense also floral notes of roses, spices like cloves and a gentle note of honey. It has a nice mineral note in the background too. It has a complex bouquet.
As mentioned the taste is medium-sweet, medium warm and soft, but has also a nice freshness and tasty. It is balanced, intense, elegant, of a full body and quite persistent. It is a harmonious wine ready to be fully appreciated now.
As you noticed even though this wine is wearing a white label the Gewürztraminer is represented at its best and it is also a good price-performance wine you can find on the market. I encourage you to try it and if you can share your taught in comments.
Until the next time cheers!
Hello wine lovers!
It’s the first day of 2014 so let me start it in due manner – with some wishes may 2014 be your year, a year of stars, love and sparkles, cheers!
And I will be cheering on this side with this Refošk, from Slovenian Istria region. Coming from Santomas, owned by the Glavina family from the hills of Šmarje pri Kopru. They own approximately 20 hectares of vineyards, mostly dedicated to Istrska Malvazija and Refošk, but they nurture also Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
On the market you can find Santomas’s two distinct lines of wines. One is dedicated to fresh wines that are put on the market the year after picking. The second is a line dedicated to nurtured red wines from vines that are growing on their best plots, from grapes that endured a rigorous selection and are later refined in oak barrels. Inside this line you’ll find following wines – Refošk Antonius, Cabernet Sauvignon Antonius and Grande cuvée.
Santomas is cooperating also with a renowned French oenologist – Claude Gros, from the year 2000. I had the pleasure of meeting him few years ago when they organized a memorable blind tasting and dinner at their cellar. Scroll down to see images from the tasting and if you’re traveling around make sure to stop there as the estate on its own is something to see.
Back to this Refošk now. This wine was given to me by a dear friend at a celebration for my graduation for 2nd level Sommelier and as the occasion calls time has come to taste is. We can see from the name that this one is from their top line and the name is also telling us the micro location of where Refošk grapes were grown – Sergaši. The fermentation was controlled in between 25 to 28°C, followed by a 30 day maceration. The wine was laid in new french barriques for 24 months where it did also the malolactic fermentation.
This wine has a deep ruby red color, it is clear and dense.
On the nose it is intense and rich, with very fine aromas of black cherry, blueberry and black currant jam, chocolate, dried tobacco leaves, vanilla, licorice, black pepper, roasted almonds …
In the mouth it is dry, warm and soft on the other hand it is fresh, tannic and tasty. Tannins are really present though the wine is still balanced. It is intense, elegant and has a robust body with a long aftertaste.
The wine is harmonic and ready to be enjoyed now, but I advise you keep it somewhere stored as its tannins needs some softening. I’d like to taste it again in 10 years to see how it has developed.
No wonder Santomas was mentioned also in A. Jullien’s book Topographie de tous les vignobles connus already in 1832 – as you can read on the back-label of the bottle.
You can find Santomas wines around the world, here’s a list of their distributors.
Images from the blind tasting that was held in December 2009. Santomas wines were keeping it up really nicely compared to some of the most know appellations.