Grape Explorations: Slovenia
Today I’m feeling a little nerdy. Some of my friends would likely tell me that I’m always feeling that way, but maybe today I’m just feeling extra nerdy. We offer a copious selection of wines from uncommon parts of Europe, so let’s take a trip to Eastern Europe and explore some wines and areas with which you’re probably not too familiar.
Let’s take a trip to Slovenia. Slovenia’s winemaking history even predates Roman influence, all the way back to Celtic tribes who began making wine in the 5th or 6th century BC – just don’t ask the Romans about that. And remember that lovely Austrian grape, Blaufränkisch? Well, in fact that grape is not so Austrian after all. It originated in modern-day Slovenia and is still widely cultivated there to this day. Slovenia, as with any remarkable wine-growing region, is quite geographically diverse, with microclimates ranging from mountainous, to continental, to Mediterranean, all within land area about equivalent to the state of Massachusetts.
Let’s talk wines. At the moment we carry two wines from Pullus, a label started by Ptujska Klet, Slovenia’s oldest winery. The first is called ‘Halozan’ which is a white field blend of 8 different grapes: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling, Welschriesling, Furmint and Muscat. The wine is bright and fresh offering up layers of crisp green apples intermingled with floral aromatics. The wine is well-balanced and youthful and absolutely delicious on a sunny patio. It definitely falls into the category of a, “Don’t think too much about me, just drink me” wine! And it also comes in a one-liter bottle, making it a great value at $14.99.
Another wine from Pullus that we love is their Pinot Grigio. This actually falls into the category of ‘skin contact’ as the wine sees about 48-72 hours of maceration time on the skins. This gives the white wine a little bit more weight and texture, almost presenting itself as a golden rose with a slightly more Asian pear yellow color. And speaking of pears, lots of those in the flavor profile. Ripe pear, melon, and nectarine all dance from the glass. This wine is also very fresh, but with a much more weighty tone to it. The texture is more grippy, more oily, and thus I would recommend this as a food or snacking wine – still on a warm sunny patio of course. $16.99/bottle.
What did we learn this week? Here’s a short summary: The Romans weren’t responsible for everything lovely. Austria owes it to Slovenia. Wines do come in all sizes. And there’s more than one meaning to ‘skin contact.’ (How’s that for social distancing?)