If you set upon the road to Gordia‘s, you have to go to Ankaran, and then turn up the hill to Kolomban. After a few curves, a steep, terraced, grassed vineyard opens to the left. Locals used to name this area Gordia. Hence this wine cellar’s unusual name, which clearly emphasizes the origin of the wine and the Cep family.
Gordia is today, Andrej and Tina Cep, with their family. It’s a relatively young winery since their registered production dates back to 2007. Andrej likes to say that he produces wines the way his ancestors did 50 years ago and more. But we will soon come to their philosophy and wine.
Let’s go back to the turn of the millennium. Andrej was an economics student in Maribor at the time, but he soon found that his studying career was destined to fell short. After a serious conversation with his father, he returned home and took over the pots in their kitchen. At that time, Gordia was especially famous for being an excellent inn.
Andrej enrolled in a sommelier course where he first encountered macerated white wines. He immediately fell in love with this style and decided to produce such wines himself. At the time, 20-year-old Andrej made a vineyard from the nearby four acres of the Kolomban forest. His father was supporting him this whole time.
He started his vine-growing and winemaking career practically from scratch, without a cellar, a tractor, or knowledge. In 2011 he managed to obtain organic farming certification, and since then, Gorida’s wine story keeps on growing.
Taking care of both the hospitality business and winemaking takes a lot of energy and effort, so last year they decided to close their inn and devote all their efforts to winemaking.
Today Gordia stands for five hectares of vineyards planted with Malvasia, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Yellow Muscat, Merlot, Syrah, and Refošk. They use only copper and sulfur preparations in the vineyard, without mineral fertilizers, systemic sprays, herbicides, or insecticides, following organic principles. The interventions are mainly preventive, and all the wines are fermented with natural yeast.
They produce two sparkling pet-nat (white and rosée), wines of shorter maceration and six months of maturation in stainless steel vats done a green label, the orange label stands for wines of extended maceration and the blue label represents red wines, for which they believe can measure with the best ones in the world. The opus finishes with a sweet wine made from dried grapes.
As of 2016, Gordia also offers wines made according to the traditional Georgian method in large clay vessels – Qvevri. This Amphora white reflects in a blend of Malvasia, Pinot Gris, and Muscat. It undergoes a 4-month maceration in qvevri and additionally 12 months in used barrels. The result is impressive!
In the glass, it amazes us with a glowing, deep amber color, which is mainly due to the Pinot Noir extract. The texture is dense. The nose is intense, reminiscent of dried fruit, where apple slices, dried apricots, quince, pineapple slices, and papaya are distinguished.
Candied citruses start to open with time; orange peel, lemon, and then red grapefruit. Thyme introduces dry Mediterranean herbs, with wild mint and sage. Hay blends nicely with aromas of dried yellow flowers and black tea. Pine resin and graphite lits in between. Altogether, well emphasized with wooden aromas of caramel, anise star, vanilla, and licorice.
The mouthfeel tells us it hasn’t yet been touched by age. It feels warm and soft, it pleasantly refreshes our mouth, just to dry it afterward by tannins and minerality. The intense taste is long-lasting, and its full-body exhibits into an elegant character of the wine.
The wine is harmonious, and you can enjoy dialoguing with him and learning its different faces, at times robust, at times elegant and gentle. We spoiled ourselves over a beautiful plate of freshly baked quiche, which my better half baked generously, and ultimately over a long chat. However, its warmth and tannins make it suitable for serving with a juicy beef steak. It is a wine ideal for long runs that will still develop its full potential.
This post was originally written in Slovenian language and for O vinu online magazine.