Vinakoper – Merlot, Capo d’Istria limited edition, 2013

Vinakoper - Merlot, Capo d'Istria, 2013
Vinakoper – Merlot, Capo d’Istria, 2013
Photo: Mihaela Majerhold – Ostrovršnik

Slovenian Istria, the land of sun and sea, but also amazing wines. Such is the case with today’s choice—a real royal treat coming from Vinakoper, the largest producer on the Slovenian coast.

This Merlot is part of their prestigious Capo d’Istria line, indicating that wines are produced only from their best plots. The cellar work is meticulous, and wines mature in oak barrels.

Such is the case with this Merlot. Grapes for this wine are coming from a single plot in Debeli rtič. It is situated 25 meters above sea level, near the Adriatic sea. The soil is composed of Eocene flysch.

Grapes for this wine are harvested overripe, but still in time to keep the fruity flavour profile intact. They undergo a 16-day maceration at controlled temperatures below 29° Celsius. After a gentle pressing, it is first laid for a couple of months in large oak barrels where it conducts full malolactic fermentation. Afterwards, it is transferred to barrique barrels with an approximate 25 % new ones and a combination of Slavonian and French oak for two years.

Only the finest barrels are then selected to form the final assemblage, which further rests for a couple of months in two large oak barrels. Summed up this means 3 years of maturation in wood. Finally, it undergoes at least three months of bottle ageing before being put on the market.

The result is a wine of an aristocratic character. Demanding, but gallant, warm and complex.

It has a thick, deep, ruby red colour and is full of extract as it leaves stains on the glass walls.

Its bouquet is intense, mature. We detect ripe black cherries, mulberries, blackberries, violet petals, dried tobacco leaves, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, leather, dry Mediterranean herbs, incense and notes of smoke.

Initially, the taste is both soft and warm; our mouth is then refreshed by its freshness and dried by accentuated, velvet tannins coming from the grape and barrels. A wine with a vigorous body emphasised elegance and long persistency with long ageing potential. Even though it has now 8 years, it is still evolving, and I’m curious to taste it in 5 to 7 years to see how tannins have rounded and how it impacted its overall elegance.

As mentioned, it is an aristocrat, but it is a gem and a world-class rendition to the grape’s potential and the territory where it was harvested. You may have noticed a little inscription on the front label “Limited edition”. These wines are made in limited quantities, as they have been harvested from a single plot.

Vinakoper - Merlot, Capo d'Istria, 2013
Photo: Mihaela Majerhold – Ostrovršnik

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