Time to look at a peculiar wine from Dolenjska. Tonight we’ll speak about Cviček, a wine so distinctive it bears the PTP designation. It’s traditional to the Dolenjska region and known for its red fruit aromas and pronounced refreshing character. And what better way than by introducing Colnar‘s expression of this peculiarity.
The crisp freshness of this wine was notorious throughout history. Already Johann Weikhard von Valvasor was writing about a “Sour Dolenjec” in his The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola book written in 1689. But it’s Ožbalt Gutsman who has given the name to this peculiarity in 1789, initially as “Zvizhik”, which then became Cviček.
To produce Cviček, you need to combine red and white varieties, all of this to produce a final expression of approximately 10 % vol. alc. (minimum 8 % by law) with a distinctive fruit-forward character and pronounced freshness.
And this touches the PTP designation. It’s a designation of origin but think of it as the equal of “Disciplinare”, which states its origin, yield per hectare, and what grape varieties are admitted (plus some more specifics). So to bear the PTP, it must be produced with 40 to 50 % Žametovka (exceptionally 60 %), 10 to 15 % Kraljevina, 15 to 20 % Blaufränkisch (exceptionally up to 30 %), up to 10 % of Welschriesling and up to 15 % of other varieties that are allowed in Dolenjska.
Tonight’s pick is a rendition of Cviček that has been known for producing outstanding results. A wine that scored several bronze medals at Decanter’s World Wine Awards and one of the expressions that are best trying if you’re venturing in it for the first time.
It comprises two white and two black varieties, the majority composed of red ones and up to 25 % white ones. The exact percentage varies between vintages, allowing consistency and typicity, but it is always formed of red wines of Žametovka, Blaufränkisch and whites Welschiriesling and Kraljevina. Each of the varieties is hand-harvested and vinified separately. White ones with short cold soaking, while reds with up to a couple of days. After ending alcoholic fermentation, wines are assembled, forming what in November of the current vintage will see the light of day as Cviček.
Colnar’s Cviček displays a cherry pink, crystal clear and translucent colour with fair density.
Its nose is intense, fruity. We perceive raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, as well as notes of rose petals and freshly cut grass.
It is dry, with a reasonably soft feel, but with pronounced, vivid freshness and mineral salinity—a wine of intensity, medium-bodied with a medium-lasting persistency. We could say that it is an elegant rendition of a Cviček, given its peculiarity that will please those who are looking for refreshment in these hot summer days, without worrying they might feel the dizziness of alcohol.
Cviček is a peculiarity which many might not understand. In my sommelier classes, I often start by asking how many in the audience have ever tried a “good” Cviček and how many have liked it (silly question by purpose), and I repeat this question at the end of the lesson. The number of hands raised is at least double as it was initially – this shows how important it is to present it correctly. Maybe it might recall Schilcher from Burgenland, but it doesn’t have anything in common with it.