Let’s start the weekend with another beautiful example of Pinot noir. Today we’re returning to Ritoznoj, where Matjaž Fešer produces one of this district’s best varietal expressions. Expressing cool, Alpine climate breezes from the slopes of Pohorje and continental affluxes from the valley.
This one bears the name Markus, which at Frešer stands for their premium line. Markus was Matjaž’s grandfather, who was the first to have registered viticulture at the Frešer family back in 1832. That’s the year displayed on the front label. By closely looking at it, you’ll notice there’s a set of nine lines, with the fourth lowered in front of an oak leaf. The lines symbolize that harvest starter on the fourth day of September, while the leaf stands for a wine aged in oak barrels.
Grapes are hand-harvested from vines aged between 5 and 15 years, with 60 % French clones and 40 % Austrian. As with the rest, we’re in an organically farmed vineyard that edges the forest line at an altitude of 500 meters above sea level.
Harvest starts when grapes are overripe. They do it three times to pick berries that just started to wrinkle, and stems were dry – reaching 92 ° Oechsle. The first third of grapes are destemmed, and the mash is chilled at 10 ° Celsius for three days. Afterwards, the temperature is raised to 18 ° Celsius to kick spontaneous fermentation. The remaining harvest is then separated to 70 % and 30 %, where the last is left to macerate with stems. In all cases, temperatures are controlled and kept below 20 ° Celsius.
Following a gentle pressing, the wine is transferred with fine lees in 2.000, 500 and 225-litre oak barrels with batonnage for the next two months. 30 % of the barrique is new. Malolactic fermentation starts and is interrupted when the wine is racked with the addition of sulphur. This is done intentionally to preserve fruity characteristics and freshness that will keep its longevity. It then fines for the next 10 months until finally being bottled.
This results in a translucent, ruby red colour with a slight garnet tinge.
The nose is intense, with varietal aromas revealing ripe prunes, black cherries, mulberries. Red roses and violets, forest undergrowth, hummus, laurel, cloves, cinnamon, liquorice, finishing with chocolate and a touch of a pencil tip.
The taste is warm and soft, with an oily texture. Crisp freshness refreshes our palate and is spiced up by tannins that are rounding up. It is a full-bodied wine, sophisticatedly elegant with a lasting finish. A wine with all the markers to keep in shape, slowly developing for the next 5 to 7 years when it will reach its peak.
You can order it straight at Frešer’s online store for 18,3 Eur. If you want the 2018 vintage add the comment while finishing the purchase process, and keep fingers crossed, you’ll have the luck of receiving it. Anyhow, even if you get the 2019 vintage you’re in for a treat.