Oh, what a treat for today. A wine that grasps sunny hills’ essence and fully expresses this with every sip of this noble drink. We’re on the sunny slopes above the town of Izola, where the Zaro family crafts expressive wines out of organically farmed vineyards. Such is the case with this Gran Morer.
The Zaro family is renowned for producing some of the best expressions of local and international varieties in both traditional and let’s call it rustic expressions. They are key to the Orange wine festival’s success and own a lovely wine bar in the old town centre named Manzioli, a must-stop if you’re there. They have been historically tied to the community as we find mentions of the family dating back to 1348.
They own some of the most picturesque vineyards above Izola. These terraced slopes facing southwest offer such a romantic view towards the gulf and the town it just makes you stop and stare, leaving your eyes to wander in the marvels below you …
Pivol is the amphitheatrically shaped, 20 years old vineyard we’ll have a look at today, as this is the provenance of the grapes used in the production of Gran Morer. There is a micro-location which has historically given amazing results with Refosco, hence the prefix Gran. The vineyard is grassed, organically farmed and the soil is composed predominantly by flysch with clay layers.
Gran Morer is a blend of 50 % Refosco, 30 % Merlot and 20 % Cabernet Sauvignon, where each grape variety is handpicked separately at its high ripeness. A 30-day maceration is employed at uncontrolled temperatures. Fermentation kicks in spontaneously, with grapes indigenous yeast and is followed by malolactic fermentation. Then the wine matures for 18 months in a combination of used large and small barrique barrels. After the assemblage, it does further 12 months of bottle-ageing before seeing the light of the market.
The result is a wine of deep, ruby red colour with a purple tip. With high viscosity and extract that taints the glass while swirling it.
The bouquet is intense, with a distinctive note of black pepper, ripe wild berries, maraschino cherries, black currant, dried rosemary, fern, eucalyptus, cedar, cloves and chocolate. You sense the imprint of Refosco, vested with the elegance of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The taste is luxurious, warm and soft. It refreshes our palates with ripe acidity, and the velvety tannins caress us pleasantly, resulting in an almost balanced feel. It is a wine of emphasized elegance, boasting a vigorous body and long, enjoyable persistency.
Gran Morer is a harmonious rendition to its land of origin that elegantly elevates the Istrian character of Refosco with the elegance of international grape varieties.