It was probably around 2005 or 2006 that I first discovered Slovenian wines for the first time. I came across them at a tasting and they were mingled in with a few wines from North-East Italy. To tell you the truth, I thought they were very good. The whites, produced very close to the Italian border (it allegedly kind of merges and drifts back and forth) tend to be aromatic and quite flavoursome. The majority of the grape varieties employed by the small handful of winemakers here are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rebula (Slovenian for Ribolla Gialla), amongst other international and local grapes. Goriska Brda is the main wine producing region and it is starting to grow in reputation, as the wines are achieving more international success. Moreover, over the years, I have had more experience with the whites than the reds. There are definitely some to look out for though.
I was sent a couple of Slovenian wines to taste and here is what I thought.
2007 Edi Simcic “Triton Lex” White, Goriska Brda – blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Rebula (a third of each). Intense, bright golden colour (some definite evidence of ripe grapes and oak used here), powerful, intense and aromatic. Exotic fruits, hints of flowers, camomile and a touch of beeswax and nuttiness (faintly reminiscent of an aged white Rhone/Roussanne). Very textural on palate with big, long, lingering length. For a wine that is already five years old it has evolved well, is nicely balanced (even at a whopping 14% alc) and still remains fresh on the palate. I enjoyed it with some lovely homemade fish cakes and tartare sauce.
And yes, when I saw the label and “Triton Lex” on it, the first thing I thought about was some dodgy character out of Star Trek! There are more details about this wine on their website.
2007 Erzetic Visnjevik “Amfora Rdece”, Red, Goriska Brda – really unsure of what the grape varieties are in here, but it tasted good. On doing some further research, I found out that the wine is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot, aged in traditional anphoras. Quite plummy and soft, supple tannins with were very harmonious on the palate. Overall, the wine was really nicely balanced. The oak, was there, but not jarring and everything pretty much was well-integrated on the palate. At 13.5% alc this flavoursome, yet elegant red wine still had plenty of oooomph and finished pleasurably. I tried it with a nice juicy steak and it pretty much ticked my boxes.
There are more details about the Erzetic family wines on their website.
For more information on these wines and prices and availability, please contact Bostjan Erste at www.wineselection.si
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The epicurean odyssey continues…