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A (quick) tasting note: 2008 Sutor Pinot Noir

Ah… Slovenian wine. Although you can certainly find Slovenia on a map, I hope to see it more and more visible on wine maps. This smallish country of about 2,000,000 is really producing some interesting, if not great wines. Some of my favorites in fact. Refreshing reds &  skin-macerated whites (aka orange wines), many of which practice low-intervention farming and wine-making.

Thank you Wikipedia for the map

Sutor’s farm is located in the Vipava Valley of the Primorska region.  You can read more about Sutor on Wojciech Bońkowski’s blog.

The Sutor website doesn’t even mention the production of a Pinot Noir, but with a bit of research I was able to find out that the wine has been fermented and macerated with de-stemmed whole Pinot Noir berries in Stainless steel, then transferred to mature for one year in barrels.

Date tasted: Friday the 13th of January 2012

Appearance: As it poured into the glass, it inspired confidence. Not having tasted, or remembering tasting, the wines of Sutor, I didn’t know what to expect from this Pinot Noir. Will it be dark and extracted like you often see  in the new world or in some modern Pinot Noir’s coming out of Burgundy today? In fact, no it wasn’t. What poured delicately out of the bottle and into our glasses was a cranberry-red, non-opaque wine that I recognized as the color of Pinot Noir – the sort of Pinot Noir I studied and drank for years. Holding my fingers behind the glass of wine, they were easy to see.  I now looked forward to my first sniffs…

Nose: Extremely fresh with no intrusions from the oak. First thoughts were of Burgundy or even of a Beaujolais Morgon. Light red fruit like cranberries, delicate raspberries and some hints of herbs and earth. Very clean on the nose without any burning sulfur notes. Very precise and focused. Enticing while at the same time, not deep.

Palate: Same on the palate. Fresh, red-fruit driven wine with great acidity. Clean and delicate. Not terribly complex, but quite honest and drinkable.  As the wine opened up, what appeared to be overly-sweet  fruit and hints of oak became a bit more dominant and the wine lost a bit of its appeal to me. Was the wine overripe? Was it unbalanced? I have to be honest, the wine perplexed me a bit.  We couldn’t finish the bottle..

The next day I began to think about this tasting experience…and then it hit me. Although the wine was not very complex or deep, those overly sweet notes and hints of oak that appeared after the wine sat open must of been indicators that the wine needed perhaps a few more years of bottle maturing? Although the fruit became  too sweet and dominant, the more I reflected on it, the more I realize that the fruit was not overripe, but young and perhaps a little too expressive, dominant and maybe even a bit vulgar. Will the fruit calm down and integrate over the next 3-5 years? I would suggest so…and i would be happy to drink another bottle

 

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, organic wine, Slovenia, Vipava

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A tasting note: 2006 Vinarstvo Simčič Rebula Seleklija (Reserva)

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Date tasted:  May 19th, 2009

Exciting things are happening in Western Slovenia and North Eastern Italy.  The exciting thing that both countries have in common is the Rebula (Ribolla Gialla) grape which is quickly gaining cult status among us wine nerds.    It produces aromatic wines with high acidity and when a little skin contact is added to the mix, wines of great complexity and length can be produced.  (White) wines with skin contact are gaining popularity in the wine world and being referred to as “orange wines” due the color that extended skin contact gives the wine.

2009-05-19_1693Vinarstvo Simčič is situated in Ceglo (Zegla), a small village in the region of Goriska Brda, by the Slovene-Italian border, by the Italian hills of Collio.  Half of their vineyards lie in Slovenia while the other half lie in Italy.  An hour and half drive will get you both to Venice or the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. I have been told that this is one of the top producers in Slovenia, if not the top.  In fact, I was speaking to a respected source who also sampled some of their red wines (blind) and said that they were better than many Bordeaux’s….

They grow 100% of their grapes in their vineyards, which cover 16 ha.   They believe in the most natural methods of viticulture, reducing crop and leaving the grapes on the vine as long as possible.  They also follow ancestral and traditional vinification methods in the cellar, which is located 5 meters underground.

This wine is the Rebula Reserva (Seleklija).  The Rebula vines are 48-51 years old and lie at an altitude of 200-250 meters above sea level.  They have a North-West exposure and the soil is composed of marl, slate and sandstone.  The grapes are hand-harvested (bunches are carefully selected)  at the beginning of October.  The fermentation takes place with the skins in 3000 liter conical oak barrels (tino) using only indigenous yeasts.  The wine is separated from the skins after 6 months of maceration.  The wine is then matured in big oak barrels for 2 years.  The wine was bottled in September of 2008 without fining or filtration.  No added sulfur.  Only 2000 bottles produced.  13.5% Alcohol (14% according to the label).  Total acidity is 4.56 grams per liter.  Price in Norway is 250 Norwegian Kroner ($39)

2009-05-19_1688First tasting:  15:51 (3:51pm):  (from the refrigerator)

Appearance: Apricot orange.  Very clean looking with medium intensity.

Nose: Yellow fruit especially yellow plums.  Fresh apricots.  Hints of acacia honey.  Hints of herbs with underlying minerals

Palate: Ripe fruit, apricots, sultana raisins (semi-dry).  Medium to medium plus acidity.  Medium to medium plus alcohol.  Long finish, light minerality.

Second tasting:  16:31 (4:31pm):  (cellar temperature)

Nose: Tighter, more complex yet more focused.

Palate: Focus on the palate also sharper, alcohol a lot more integrated (interesting since this was now a few degrees warmer).  The wine has become very elegant with very mild tannins starting to emerge.

Third tasting:  21:00 (9:00pm):  (cellar temperature)

Nose & Palate: Amazing focus and elegance with “sweet” fruit emerging.  Lots of apricots.  Mild tannins, ripe acidity and great length.

This wine improved after being open half a day.  I often find that wines that are more natural tend to improve over the course of several hours and even days.  Unfortunately, this wine was so good that it never had a chance to make it to day two or three.  In my opinion this is a serious wine well worth the price tag.

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Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Goriska Brda, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine, Slovenia

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Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com