You know what, sometimes you come across a wine so limited it is made from just one barrel. And such is the case with Šuklje‘s Projekt Chardonnay, which is a barrel-fermented expression of this variety. Unfortunately, this particular one is sold-out, but at least I can try to give you a sense of its potential, letting you wait impatiently towards the end of this year to taste the new vintage …
The idea for this wine comes from when Katja Šuklje was helping as a student at the wine cellar Giaconda in Australia. She tasted there different, still-fermenting Chardonnays from barrels, and this left on her such an impression, she decided to try.
Fast forward for a couple of years, and here we are. Actually, this wine results from the sheer interest in looking into what Chardonnay can do in Bela krajina. It is produced from grapes bought at a winemaker in Drašiči, a warmer part of the district, with soil composed of flysch.
The production followed oxidative methods at the start. We’re speaking of whole-bunch pressing, without the addition of sulphur, without clarification, to the point where it darkens. The must is then transferred into a single, new oak barrel where it starts fermenting. Batonnage is executed regularly with malolactic conversion. After two years of maturation, it was finally bottled.
This results in a crystal clear, bright, golden yellow coloured Chardonnay with a dense texture and slowly slipping tears along the glass wall.
Its aromas are subtle. We notice and intertwining of the barrel maturation and the fruity character of Chardonnay. We perceive yellow apple, peach, papaya, yellow flowers, lemon peel, marzipan, butter, roasted hazelnuts, subtle notes of wood and butterscotch.
The taste is soft with well-integrated alcohol, and crisp freshness pleasantly cleanses our palate, leaving a mineral aftertaste. The freshness is youthful, crisp and indicates the ageing potential of this wine.
An elegant exemplar of a Chardonnay, with a lasting aftertaste in which flavours of oak maturation are expressed, and in the end, it is represented mainly by the aroma of roasted hazelnuts. A medium to full-bodied wine that simply calls for another sip.
I hear that the 2019 Projekt is produced from grapes that are sourced from the slopes of Semič – a location known for some great expressions of sparkling wine, so think of the possible style it will take us, while for 2020 we will probably see a combination of both, and hopefully in 2022 the first one made of their grapes.
Unfortunately, it looks like this wine has been sold out, but if you manage to stumble over some, it’s worth investing approximately 13 Eur for a bottle or two …