Wine Review 13
Hello wine lovers!
I’m thrilled, as I’m getting ready to write about one of the most prominent wine makers coming from the Podravje region. I’ve been getting ready for this for quite some time as the word here is about mr. Riesling himself – Boštjan Portner and his wines coming from the house Joannes – Protner, named after a statue of John of Nepomuk which is situated in one of the vineyards above Malečnik.
You will find mostly white, varietal, fruity and fresh wines, a stunning Pinot Noir, a sparkling – classically produced, Chardonnay based wine and when weather allows also predicate wines in their repertoire. And if you find yourself around Vodole be sure to stop at their house, as you’ll have a chance to dine at the agritourism held by Boštjan’s brother, visit the cellar and, if tired, also sleep-over there. A real treat for the taste-buds, I tell you!
And since one is not enough I have a tipple threat this time, as I’m lucky to have 3 different Riesling vintages in my glasses. The dry variation is produced with grapes from 20 – 30 years old vines, it ferments in inox for 5 months and then in large, 2000 l oak barrels for 6 months. And these are the results …
|Visual Examination||Straw yellow, Crystal clear, Quite consistent||Straw yellow, Crystal clear, Quite consistent||Straw yellow with golden nuances, Crystal clear, Consistent|
|Olfactory analysis||Intense, Fine, Quite complex, FrankFloral: fresh linden flower
Fruity: fresh citruses, apricot, green apple
Etheric: showing hints of petroleum
|Intense, Fine, Quite Complex, FrankFloral: ripe linden flower
Fruity: ripe citruses like orange grape fruit, apricot, peach
Etheric: hints of petroleum notes
|Intense, Fine, Complex, FrankFloral: dried linden flower
Fruity: ripe citruses like orange grape fruit, dried apricot, peach, also hints of honey
Etheric: distinct petroleum notes
|Olfactory-taste analysis||Dry, Medium warm, Quite softFresh, Quite tasty, Quite balanced
Intense, Full bodied, Quite persistent, Fine
|Dry, Medium warm, Quite softFresh, Tasty, Quite balanced
Intense, Full bodied, Quite persistent, Fine
|Dry, Medium warm, SoftQuite fresh, Tasty, Balanced
Intense, Full bodied, Persistent, Excellent
|Final impressions||Young, Harmonious||Ready, Harmonious||Mature, Harmonious|
Ah if you wonder, all wines were tasted with same glass. And below you can see a short gallery. If you’d like to taste some of Joannes-Protner wine you can order them online at their homepage, eVino.si or Koželj. If you are discovering Ljubljana look for Balthazar store.
Until the next time 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.
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?
Hello wine lovers!
We’re continuing our disovery of Slovenian wine at the North-Eastern part of our country. I am writing this time about Renski rizling (White Riesling) wine produced by the Kupljen family from the Podravje region. To point more exactly the microlocation is Jeruzalem hills – famed from ancient times as an excellent location to grow Riesling.
The Kupljen family produces wines from vineyards located in Jeruzalemsko-Svetinjske gorice hills. Their beginnings date as back as 1836 and to mention from recent history Jože Kupljen was among the first Slovenian winemakers that launched Vino Kupljen as a private label in 1976. The Jeruzalem hills area is renowned for emphasizing fruitiness, freshness and minerality in wine and you really sense this in their wine.
I got the pleasure of tasting this Riesling at a beneficial event a dear friend and well known wine expert – Mira Šemić hosted and I knew right away I had to share the impressions with you.
This wine is the result of a late harvest. And you can sense all the benefits of over matured grapes involved in the production when tasting it. It pictures of a golden color, it is rather dense and crystal clear.
What hits you are its intense aromas of ripe fruit like peaches, mango pineapple, a citrusy hint of pomelo and also hints of tarragon and dried pelargonium flower. And of course its distinctive mineral aromas of petroleum with a hint of flint too. A very reach bouquet.
In the mouth it is dry, warm and soft but also fresh and of a pronounced minerality. Both sides are playing nicely in between, making it quite balanced. It is an elegant, intense, full bodied wine with a long finish.
A harmonious, mature wine which is now at its best shape. If you manage give it a try.
You can order it online here.
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).
Hello wine lovers! Well here we are again and this time I’ve got an interesting story, a story of passion & love. It all began a few months ago when a gentleman by the name Nicholas Gee contacted me if I could write about his wine. I didn’t think twice so we met in Ljubljana. OK … where’s the passion so far? Well as curious as I am I wanted to know as much as I could about his philosophy, winemaking, his views etc. And quite a chat we had!
Nicholas is from New Zealand, yes you read right, New Zealand! After graduating his thirst for knowledge led him across the World. He worked in 14 wineries in 6 different countries (New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France, USA and Slovenia). Combining his knowledge, experience and what he learned working with different winemakers has helped him to fully shape his own winemaking philosophy. He avidly believes that wine is made in the vineyard than it is the winemaker’s duty to express it as best as possible in the wine.
OK so we covered passion and one part of the love side, but why a guy from NZ is in Slovenia? When I asked him this question he smiled and said that he never would have imagined to end in Slovenia, but then again you never know who you’re gonna fall in love with. On a trip to Paris, France he met Marija and then in the city of love magic happened. They got in love, Nicholas moved to Slovenia and now they’re expecting their first baby. Now ain’t that a fairytale?
I’m telling you this because all of this is perceived in his wines. You can find them under the label Heaps Good Wine. If you find the name strange, well Heaps Good means that something is really good and so far I’m impressed. They produce 3 wines Sivi Pinot (Pinot Gris), Modra Frankinja (Blaufränkisch) and Modri Pinot (Pinot Noir). This time I’ll be writing about his Modra Frankinja, 2010 vintage.
The maceration took 21 days, 10 of it were at a controlled temperature of 8˚C. Then after the pressing it laid in French barrels (one 1 year old and one 2 year old). The wine endured a natural malolactic fermentation and after its completion it was racked off lees to a tank, sulphured and then returned to barrels. It was bottled in September 2011.
The wine is of a crystal garnety red color and has slightly purple borders. Of a quite dense consistency.
On the nose it is quite intense. At first I’m hit by a peppery note mixed with a note of cloves. Then it starts opening into notes of mature red fruit like cherries, blackcurrants jam, a hint of dried flowers, wood and a buttery note. A wine of complex and fine aromas.
A sip to wash the mouth and then another to fully taste it … Dry, warm and quite soft. Fresh, quite tannic and tasty. Quite balanced but its roughness prevails a bit (acids). A wine of a good, fine structure, intense with a quite persistent finish. Of a fine taste.
The wine is mature but this does not mean it has come to its end, quite the opposite I’d like to taste it again in 2 years. Its looks, aromas and taste make it a harmonious wine.
Here’s a list where you can find Heaps Good Wine’s wine. I’m sure it won’t be difficult to spot their distinct label, which really stands out. Try it and share your thoughts with me. I’ll be glad to read them and I’m sure Nicholas will be too.
Until the next post – Cheers my friends!