I can say I’m lucky. This wine fable has introduced me to some experienced and impressive winemakers and people from the drinks business. Having said this, the luckier I feel when I discover someone new. And such is the case with Rokovi vinogradi (Rok’s vineyards) from Brda. We’ll have a look at their Malvazija orange today.
I have to thank Primož Bajt, owner and chef of Divina restaurant at the Dobrovo castle, who asked me if I could have a look at Andrej Sirk’s wines. Andrej is the young and aspiring winemaker behind Rokovi vinogradi. Curiosity is vital, and there I was chatting with Andrej, and soon a couple of bottles made it at my table. He produces an oak-matured Chardonnay, a classical version of Cabernet Sauvignon and this lovely expression of Malvasia Istriana, which we’ll touch on today.
Grapes are hand-picked at a terraced vineyard named Pod cesto (under the road). Vines count 30 years of age and are planted in Opoka at an altitude of 120 meters above sea level. The vineyard is grassed and looked after following low intervention methods.
Harvest is executed with optimal maturity, grapes are destemmed, and they macerate and ferment with selected yeast at controlled temperatures. After gentle pressing, the wine is left to mature in used oak barrels for a year. It also conducts malolactic fermentation during this time.
This all results in a Malvazija of crystal, golden yellow colour with a slight amber hue and dense texture.
Its aromas are intense, evoking ripe apricot, mango, dried orange, yellow plum, sultana, dried chamomile and yellow flowers, acacia honey, rosemary, roasted almonds, white pepper, caramel and vanilla, finishing with a slight note of resin.
The taste is intense, soft and quite warm, but at the same time fresh, minerally salty and perceptibly tannic. It works in a balanced way—a wine with a lasting taste of pronounced elegance and rich complexity.
Andrej succeeded to produce a sophisticated tribute to the macerated version Malvazija, which impresses with its elegance, giving it the ability to please a broad audience of drinkers. It will keep evolving for the next 3 – 5 years and keep in shape even afterwards, so I’m curious to see how it will develop.
You can order it straight at Andrej, and a bottle will cost you 15 Eur.