Tonight we’re returning to my friends Rok and Nik Ražman to taste another wine from their respectful repertoire. This time, we’ll have a look at their Popetris, a wine assembled of 40 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 % Merlot, 20 % Refošk and 20 % Syrah. And boy, what a blend!
First of all, you need to know that grapes are coming from vineyards around the village of Popetre (hence Popetris). One plot is Kleč, with an altitude of 300 meters above sea level. It gives Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Refošk. The other, named Brda is planted at 350 meters above sea level, and this is where grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Refošk and Syrah are coming from.
Each of the varieties is handpicked when entirely ripe. On the same day, this means Refošk is picked simultaneously in both plots, and each variety undergoes a separate vinification process from here on. All sorts undergo spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeast while macerating in open vats at uncontrolled temperatures, between 25 and 30 ° Celsius. Respectfully Cabernet Sauvignon for 6 days, Merlot for 5 days, Refošk and Syrah for 7 days.
They all are then gently pressed, and only free-run juice is used to produce the final wine. All varieties lay to mature separately in used oak barrels of mostly french provenance for 24 months on fine lees. During this time they conduct full malolactic fermentation. The final wine is assembled only afterwards.
Refošk represented the majority, but they opted to lower its share in the final blend. It’s a matter of philosophy, but the aim was to produce an elegant wine with an Istrian soul of international beliefs.
After the assemblage, it further matured in stainless tanks for 12 months to stabilize and be bottled without filtration. Finally, it had to wait just another 15 months in the bottle to then come on the market.
This results in a stunning, deep, ruby red coloured wine, with a dense texture, slowly sliding on the glass walls.
The nose is intense. Offering expressed perceptions of ripe wild berries, black currants, blackberries, blueberries, cherries and red flowers. They are followed by notes of sandalwood, leather, coffee, eucalyptus, resin and incense.
The mouthfeel is virtuous, warm, and lively and refreshing with youthful tannins and long, elegant persistence. Overall this wine represents the essence of a well crafted red Istrian with an international character, able to age for at least next five years.
Stylistically, it will please lovers of international blends, but it will find ways to the table of lovers of traditional, old World wines.
This harmonious wine will improve over the following years, and further express its elegance. You can order it straight at the Ražman family, where it will cost you a fair, approximate price of 15 Eur.