Wine Region Primorska 14
Hello wine lovers!
More great news and more affirmations are coming for Slovenian wine makers, which just proves how great of a wine making country we are. This time it’s Marjan Simčič whose wines just got high ranks by James Suckling, the wine critic that every one involved into wine must have heard of.
Coming from Ceglo, a small town in Goriška brda the Simčič family has been into wine making since 1860. Currently they own 18 hectares of vineyards, some older than 55 years, both on the Slovenian and on the Italian side of the Brda region (Collio).
When thinking about Marjan Simčič and his wine, year 2008 was probably the most important one. It is in this year that Marjan presented the »Opoka« line of wines. The top quality line of wines, bought to perfection with a huge devotion. In Brda’s jargon Opoka means marl which is the soil poor in organic structure but very rich with mineral salts, giving to wines under this line a long-lasting aftertaste, character and a distinct signature of the Brda terroir. A total of 4 wines is shining under the Opoka label Ribolla, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.
Recently James Suckling has tasted their wines and 5 got exceptional scores, or as said »Five Outstanding Whites from Goriška Brda, Slovenia«.
2 wines scored even an impressive 95 points! The Sauvignon Blanc Opoka 2012 and the Chardonnay Selekcija 2012, which just confirms their devotion to producing top quality wines and I’m sure the scores are more than well deserved.
If you’re interested in tasting these wines and more and getting to know Marjan and the philosophy behind join us at eVino’s event.
Until the next time, cheers!
Hello wine lovers!
Well it is time to bring some really exciting news from the US. 2 of our wineries have been selected as top 100 wineries of the year according to the Wine & Spirits magazine! As it reads they have tasted more than 14.600 wines at Wine & Spirits offices in NY and SF and these wineries came on top in delivering quality and consistency across a range of wines. This year the honor is on Kabaj and Movia, both from Slovenia’s Goriška Brda wine district. The announcement can be found here.
A French touch at Kabaj estate in Šlovrenc
Kabaj winery is not new to the list, in fact they were on it already in 2013. Kabaj Jean M., the mastermind behind the winery is native to Paris. His life took him first to Italy. Having met there his future wife Katja he moved soon to Goriška Brda and is living there since 1989. They have 2 daughters and the older is already helping him promoting their wines, but has also an important role in the wine cellar – but let’s leave this for another post.
At Kabaj they are focused on producing full bodied, oak matured wines. A typical varietal selection from this districed focused on white wines from Rebula, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignonasse (or as they call it Ravan), Pinot Gris, Sauvignon and since recent Corpus – a blend of Rebula and Sauvignon both in equal parts. And to the reds including Merlot and Cuvée Morel – a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. They are also producing an amfora wine, according to the Georgian tradition. A white blend of Rebula, Malvasia and Sauvignon Vert (Sauvignonasse).
Their yearly production is around 60.000 – 70.000 bottles and their focus markets are USA, Japan, recently China and are also well noted in Italy. In USA they are distributed by Blue Danube wine.
Movia, a wine institudion in Medana
It’s been more than 200 years since Kristančič, the family behind Movia have been making wine in Medana. After WWII their estate remained in private hands. It is due to their constant delivery of quality that they became the exclusive suppliers of wine for protocol occasions of the then Yugoslavian government in 1958.
Aleš, the mastermind of Movia has been one of the first winemakers to organize from the remnants of cooperatives and launched the winery that soon became a true institution in Goriška Brda. Having probably the biggest estate in Medana, with vineyards extending over 22 hectares, it’s own line of wine glasses, it’s been also nominated as a wine innovator and a guy which charisma is probably unprecedented in the wine world. No wonder he’s was lecturing about wine marketing at our Sommelier course.
Producing a whole range of wines, from varietal to blends, not to forget the sparkling Puro and Lunar wines. Among the withes you can find Rebula, Sauvignon, Pinot Gris and Veliko belo – a blend of Rebula, Sauvignon and Pinot Gris. While among reds Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Veliko rdeče – a blend of the three mentioned beforehand. And you will find also special lines of wines like Vandima Turno and Vila Marija, as well as a dessert wine Essenca.
Movia wines are currently being sold in a large number of markets around the world.
An event not to miss
If in San Francisco 20th of October than save the date and book your ticket. The 12th annual top 100 tasting is happening at the Metreon. You’ll be able to taste wines from all of the 100 best wineries and have the chance to meet in person both Aleš and Jean.
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.
Hello wine lovers!
Let me start this with a toast, a toast to Jean Kabaj, as the occasion calls with his Luisa, vintage 2010. I’ve presented briefly Jean and his Amfora in one of my previous posts and the toast this time is well deserved. Jean made it to the top 100 wineries of the year according to Wine & Spirits magazine! And lucky as I am, I managed to catch him at home right after his return from the tour around US, having the pleasure of exchanging few words with him and his wife Katja.
Chatting with Jean, a French oenologist who years ago moved to Goriška Brda, is always a pleasant experience, decisive, focused, deep and straight forward those are the adjectives that would best describe him … And so are his wines.
I’m toasting with Luisa, 2010 vintage – a blend of Pinot Blanc, Chardonay and Rebula. It is named after his grandmother – Luisa. Earlier this wine was called Luisa Prestige and it was the first wine that introduced me to Jean’s wines. Luckily I still hold one bottle of the 2001 vintage carefully stored as it has great aging potential.
Luisa fermented in large (2.400 liters) oak vats, then it was laid in French oak barriques for 12 months and 4 months in bottles before entering the market. Its color is of a deep golden yellow notes, is dense and crystal clear, literally shining in the glass.
The nose is intense and very fine, with aromas of mature fruit like peaches, apricots, pears, you also sense a citrusy aroma of lemon. A lovely aroma of thyme in the background, but also aromas of vanilla and acacia flower. A very reach bouquet.
On the taste it is dry, hot and soft and on the other side fresh and tasty – confirming its brilliance. A balanced wine of with an intense and elegant taste that has a long finish and a full body.
A harmonious wine that can be easily enjoyed now or left for a couple of years to mature even more.
Jeans wines are available in the US at Blue Danube Wine for ordering on-line but it should also be easy to find them in some of the best wine bars over there. If you find yourself cruising through Goriška Brda make sure to stop at Šlovrenc where you’ll be able to also enjoy in some of their exquisite cuisine – in this period you’ll probably stumble across Jean in front of the oven making some delicious pot-roasts.
And if you’re near Gorizia – It this week-end come to Corso Verdi 65, you’ll be able to taste Kabaj wine.
Hello wine lovers!
This post is coming still from under a huge impression of yesterday’s dinner featuring some of Movia’s best wines. It was organized by Mira Šemić and held at restaurant Strelec at Ljubljana’s castle.
And what a dinner it was …
Mira is one of the biggest names of wine in Slovenia, she’s a 3rd level sommelier, WSET degree 3 and currently en route towards Master of Wine certification. She’s hosting a series of wine lectures known as Mira’s little wine school, where she shares her knowledge with the audience, but also organizes a series of exquisite wine events and trips. She is also very active as speaker on various wine events. This time we had the pleasure of tasting some of the best vintages of Movia, carefully stored and matured in her private cellar.
… wines that were complemented to perfection by some of the best dishes I’ve tasted so far. It was for a long time I was waiting to taste some of Igor Jagodic’s food. I’ve been following his work already from times when he was cooking at Vila Bled. Some months ago the news came he was moving to Ljubljana and that he would be hosting at Strelec restaurant, the newest addition to Kaval Group‘s venues, so the anticipation was really big, I’d say comparable to a child’s impatience on Christmas morning …
We greet with the group on the castle’s wall and soon we got the first taste of the symphony to come … Movia’s Puro Rose – 2002, made entirely out of Pinot Noir. A special sparkling wine that doesn’t need presentation for those who know it, but allow me to share it’s story for the rest.
Puro’s life starts with the base, made out of Pinot Noir wine. Late harvested grapes and fermented on own yeasts which Aleš makes out of 5 % of same pre-harvested and fermented grapes – a practice he does for all of his wines. It undergoes a one day maceration process in large tanks, followed by a gentle pressing and then it is laid to develop for four years in barrique barrels on lees, without racking. Then they only add must to the wine and it is left to re-ferment in bottles.
What is special about Puro is that it doesn’t go through the dégorgement process in fact the sediment is left in bottles on purpose as yeasts preserve it giving it a very long life. You find it sold in bottles turned upside down, laid in special cones and the opening process is a bit special, giving it even more charm. I’ll let Aleš himself explain you how it’s done in the video below …
The Puro 2002 shines of an amber color with copper shades in its brilliance. It’s bubbles are fine, abundant and persistent and it is dense. Its nose is intense and very fine. With a very rich bouquet of aromas of rye bread crust, buttery, brioche notes, dried fruit, toasted coffee … It is dry, rather hot and soft on the other side it is fresh and tasty. A well balanced sparkling wine of an intense taste, elegant quality, a long lasting taste and of a full body. Harmonious and mature and with a whole life ahead …
Along with Puro we were greet by the chef with Duck and pistachio confit, duck liver with red cabbage pure drops and egg royale with red wine reduction. An intricate play of flavors and taste with wine and also the sweet wine reduction in the egg royale was spot on.
Entrée time with baked and marinated beetroot, beetroot reduction, honey, matured balsamic vinegar, goat cheese foam and herbs were chef’s choice to complement Rebula 2000.
The Rebula 2000 has a bright, dark amber color and is dense. The nose confirmed that the dark shades are because of the sherrifycation which has started. It has an intense, rather fine and rich nose of over dried fruit like mango and pineapple, hints of honey and varnish, green tea and straw … The taste is dry, rather hot on the other side it is rather fresh and tasty. It is balanced and of an intense taste. It still is elegant and long lasting and has a full body. It is a harmonious wine, but if you have a bottle drink it now as it is already coming to its finish.
The cheese foams softness, sweetness of honey and freshness from the beetroot were making an amazing play of flavors and senses with the Rebula.
For the second course we were served with pan seared pigs tail, pigs cheek ragù, potato purée, pumpkin gnocchi, red wine reduction sauce and grated truffle. An earthy addition to the wine Aleš likes to present as “Flying rocks” – Lunar – 2007.
This Lunar is made of Rebula. Aleš developed specially shaped iron toppings for barrique barrels. Whole grapes are stored in and left to ferment. The wine is unfiltered and bottled straight from the barrel under a full moon. As a result it should be handled with delicacy due to its sediment.
But let’s hear the presentation from Aleš himself and if you want you can also watch here a video about Lunar decantation.
The wine is of a crystal clear golden yellow color and is dense. The aromas are intense and very fine of dried fruit, various jams, spices, licorice, but also a distinct marl mineral note (hence the flying rocks). It is dry, hot and soft. But also fresh and tasty and if you’d serve it in black glasses you’d probably say it could easily be a red wine – you notice also tannins. It is a balanced wine of an intense, long-lasting taste. It is elegant and full bodied. A harmonious mature wine that had no problems coping with the dish. In fact they were elevating each other …
A brief pause and here it was on the plate poached Zlatovščica trout fillet and caviar, potato and garlic purée and chips, with herbs and cucumber foam and herbs oil. A perfect match for the Veliko belo – 2002.
Veliko belo is a blend of Rebula (70 %), Sauvignon (20 %) and Pinot blanc (10 %). At first it fermented in large tanks and then it was laid to mature for 3,5 years in French oak barrels and then laid to rest in bottles. It shines of a golden yellow, crystal clear color and is dense. On the nose it is intense and very fine, with aromas of dried fruit, green tea, thyme, spices and also has a note of baked almonds, a very rich bouquet. It is dry, rather hot and soft on the other side it surprises with freshness and its mineralty. A balanced wine of an intense and elegant taste. Full bodied and wit a long-lasting taste. A harmonious and mature wine which still has a long life ahead.
Ah time for the main dish and this time topped by 2 excellent wines. Owen baked deer loin rolled in bread, with chervil purée, deep-fried chervil root and black walnut – the last a genius topping to Merlot.
The Pinot Noir is shining in a bright, ruby red color and is dense. It has an intense, fine and rich nose of roasted plums, dried fruit, flowery pelargonium note, humus and forest undergrowth notes. It is dry, rather hot and soft, on the other hand fresh, tannic and tasty. A well balanced, elegant, intense, full-bodied wine of a long-lasting aftertaste. Harmonious and mature wine with still life in it.
The Merlot on the other hand is showing a bright, garnet red color and is dense. Intense, fine and rich aromas of black cherry jam, dried raisins, walnut liquor, chocolate, leather … and they just keep coming. A dry, hot and soft wine, still fresh with rounded up tannins and tasty. A balanced, elegant wine of an intense, long-lasting taste and of a full body. A harmonious, mature wine probably at its best shape now. However you should notice that this wine was appearing still playful and younger in another bottle, this is to be attributed to micro oxidation of the cork.
Igor played with flavors and textures on the desert too, literally spoiling us with quince ice cream topped on buckwheat breadcrumbs, panna cotta, dark chocolate and chestnut ganache and chestnut foam.
And, as for the night given, we ended in big with a selection of matured cheeses and Veliko rdeče – 1995.
Veliko rdešč is made with Cabernet sauvignon (70 %), Merlot (20 %) and Pinot Noir (10 %). It matured for 6 years in French oak barrels and then waited in the bottle until coming of age to be opened at this special occasion. It has a deep, ruby red, bright color and is dense. The nose is intense, very fine and very rich with aromas of black cherries jam and other over ripe fruit, chocolate, dried tobacco, leather and it is just developing and opening … Dry, hot and soft, fresh, tannic and tasty. Tannins barely starting to round up, probably to be attributed to Cabernet sauvignon … A balanced, noble wine of an intense, long lasting taste and a robust body. A harmonic wine which still has to reach its maturity.
This was a dinner I surely won’t forget and hope that I was able to share with you at least a bit of the symphony of aromas, flavors and senses we had the pleasure to enjoy. Mira’s presentations were excellent and going in details. I’m thankful that I was able to be a part of this event, tasted some wines that are really rare to find and finally be able to enjoy in culinary delicacies of chef Igor Jagodic … Thank you!
Hello wine lovers!
They are currently cultivating approximately 55.000 vines of nine different varieties. All vineyards are oriented on extreme south and mostly of high altitude. The vineyards are planted at an average of 7.000 low growing vines per hectare and on five different micro locations: Stari d’or, Baredi, Raven, Stena and Ronkaldo.
Their philosophy is fully mirrored in their wine and I’m pasting it here as it deserves to be mentioned: “Wine is the child of grapes, which grew up on a certain soil in a certain land, under the influence of a certain climate and culture, cultivated by a caring hand of the person who nourished it.”
I was impressed with the Stari d’or when I first tried it 4 years ago and I knew immediately it had to lay and mature. Named after the micro location Stari d’or it is a blend of Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Refošk. It underwent a 35 day maceration in 2.200 liters wooden, cone barrel and then laid in barriques (Slavonic oak) for 24 months – 12 months without decanting on own yeasts, and 12 months in 2200 l wooden, cone barrel. During this period it made also malolactic fermentation.
The wine is unfiltered and it should be handled gently, in fact I used a decanter to separate wine from its sediments.
It has a ruby red color, with some shades of garnet, it is clear and rather dense.
Its aromas are intense and fine. It shines in jam nuances of black cherry, blackcurrant, chocolate, licorice, dried tobacco, a gentle hint of vanilla, gently roasted almonds and they just keep coming. A very rich bouqet.
In the mouth it is dry, hot and soft and to my surprise it still has a strong freshness, and present tannins which just started to soften and you notice also its distinct mineralty. All these factors make it a rather balanced wine. It is an intense, elegant wine with a long finish and a robust body.
The wine is harmonious and it can be enjoyed now but I recommend you store it for a couple of years more for its freshness and tannins to soften up a bit more making it more balanced. I’m lucky to have one bottle left and it will lay for at least five years more.
Hello wine lovers!
Here I am, writing this post while slowly tasting a glass of Čarga‘s Vinovo – their youngest wine. But let’s take spare some words first on Čarga winery and the Erzetič family proudly standing behind its label.
I had the pleasure of meeting Edbin couple of years ago at a dinner at Vinske kleti Slovenije. Miha, a dear friend, was then organizing dinners where winemakers would come and present their winery, philosophy and secrets. I still remember the dinner, but most of all their Čarvino (sweet wine, made out of dried grapes), so dense we were joking you need a spoon to taste it.
Their approach to wine making is with respect. Every white wine is the result of a maceration and growing in contact with lees, giving it fullness, coherence and a more intense and lasting flavor. Whereas red wine is laid to rest in barrique and large (20 hl) oak barrels. They are also renowned for their sparkling wine – Donna Regina, available in white, rose and red versions, recently also with golden leaves …
I was greet by Martin – Edbin’s son, at my last visit. A brief chat and he was already opening a bottle of Vinovo, a young wine made entirely of Merlot grapes coming from two different vineyards (one from higher grounds, the other lower). It undergoes a 5 day carbonic maceration made famous thanks to Beaujolais Noveau wine, followed by a normal one, resulting in a distinct fruity aromas in wine.
Well my visit to them was because of it. Couple of days ago I saw their image on Facebook and to my knowledge they were among the first putting it on the market – which Martin confirmed.
Vinovo is clear, of a scarlet red color and rather dense.
On the nose is intense, fine and fruity as expected. You sense shades of fresh raspberries, blackberries, currant, in the background hiding shy also an aroma of poppy flower. A rather rich wine aroma.
In the mouth it is dry, rather hot and rather soft on the other side it is fresh, rather tannic and tasty, rather balanced. It is intense, gentle and of a rather long finish and full-bodied.
A harmonious, mature wine ready to be enjoyed now with let’s say roasted chestnuts.
Here are some impressions I took at the visit to the winery
Here’s also a nice animation presenting their lovely estate … Did I mention you have to pass a renovated roman bridge to get there?
This post is about one of those wines you don’t just open at any occasion. And such was this case. It was a special celebration among friends and family joining together and having a nice time, celebrate and learn something new about wine. This Pinot blanc was the surprise of the night and judging by the feedback it left a huge impression.
This wine pictures itself in a godlen tone of old gold with intense shades of older gold on borders, it is crystal clear and of a rather density.
It is intense and very fine on the nose, with a very rich bouque of aromas like honey, acacia, over dried fruit like pineapple, citruses, dried camomile, straw, varnish and they keep coming. Well it was sealed for 31 years.
It is dry, rather hot and soft. Rather fresh with a distinct mineral presence making it a rather balanced wine, the harder side is prevailing. It is a noble, intense and persistently robust one for sure. A harmonious, mature Pinot Blanc which still hasn’t said it’s last word and can easily be stored for a couple of years more … A must try!
You can find it in vinska klet Goriška Brda‘s stores, I advise you first check the availability.
Aaaah the Pikolit, a grape that almost fell out of the radar, as its growing is demanding. It tends to develop floral abortion – a malady where the flowering buds don’t develop properly and often fall off resulting in smaller crops. You can see an amazing image of the grape here.
You’re probably familiar with Italy’s DOCG Colli orientali del Friuli Picolit often vinified in sweet or medium sweet versions, but you can find it also in Slovenia. Here it is spelled PiKolit though and you will find also dry versions of it. An interesting thing is that you find Pikolit wine also in the Vipava valley district but usually there it is used to name sweet wine from dried grapes – though some producers planted recently some vineyards with it.
The Pikolit I’m writing about is a 2009 vintage and Ščurek family produces it with pride and loving attention, as they do with all their wine. The grapes passed through a 24 – hour maceration and the wine was laid to rest in new acacia and oak barrels for 18 months.
In the eye it pictures with a golden yellow color with intense borders shading of an amber color, crystal and on the denser side.
On the nose you are hit with intense, very fine aromas of ripe yellow fruit like quince, European pear, dried flowers notes like acacia, with a herbal note of sage, spices – vanilla and I even sensed some scents of hay, definitely a very rich bouquet.
In the mouth it reveals to be a medium dry, warm and soft, just to be followed by its freshness and tastiness. The play of sides is really interesting as it presents a nice balance in its sweetness and freshness though the hard side prevails, but just for a little.
The wine is mature and it will be kept at life for quite some time by both alcohol – measuring 14,5 %, and freshness. A harmonious wine, ideal to be either enjoyed alone, or with aged cheese or why not trying it with a nice dish of gnocchi with truffles …
If you’re in China, you can meet in person Stojan Ščurek and with him you’ll also have the chance to try Steyer and Santomas wines from Slovenia. They are at the Langham Place – Hong Kong today with the World’s Leading Wines Event, tomorrow they’ll be in Shanghai and on the 1st November in Beijing.
You can find this exact Pikolit here (with international shipping).
Spring is in its full bloom, sun is high and it all has the looks of a special day, one of those that you just need to celebrate with a glass worthy of it … It has to be not an ordinary one, it has to be one of those you’ve been keeping away on your special shelf. You know those bottles we all have stored for some special occasions and are usually covered by dust …
So it went … A look on the shelf stopped at it, shiny and resting, a bottle of Burja Noir, 2009 produced by Primož Lavrenčič, the master behind Burja Estate. We’re talking about a Pinot Noir here. Even though Primož is an enthusiast of local varieties he’s growing it as a challenge and an homage to Burgundy. And what of an homage we’re talking here …
Growing in windy Vipavska valley on marly soil the grapes are picked from 12 – 20 years old vines, 12 days of maceration and a controlled fermentation of 20 – 25 °C then laid to rest for 22 months in mostly barrique (10 % new).
The wine is clear of a red ruby color with a pronounced garnet shade. Quick turn in the glass to reveal we are dealing with a consistent Pinot Noir.
The nose is intense, complex and fine. A fruity aroma of ripe fruit like plum jam, Marascha cherry in brandy, chocolate, caffe, vanilla, black pepper, tobacco leaves, licorice, underwood and a note of venison. I also get some mineral – graphite notes.
A first sip to feel it is a dry, warm and soft wine while on the other hand it is a fresh, quite tannic and tasty. A full-bodied, balanced wine of an intense, persistent and fine taste.
The wine is mature and harmonious. I wouldn’t mind leaving it to rest for at least 3 years before trying it again again.
You can buy Burja Noir here and as I hear there are not a lot of bottles left. Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it sipping this wonderful Pinot Noir.
Cheers my friends!