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Slovenian Wines - Cotar

Tom Cannavan, 07/07

Tasting notes on Cotar estate, from Kras Valley in Western Slovenia. These notes accompany a full length feature article on western Slovenia, with profiles of nine of the top private estate wineries.

Cotar, Kras Valley

Cotar Malvasia 2003
Half of grapes spend five days on skins, whilst the remainder is held for one full year on skins. Big, waxy, slightly volatile marzipan nose with hints of nuts and caramel. On the palate an initial hint of sweetness with a touch of honey. Oatmeal and a beeswaxy, honeycomb note, with some fat Malvasia fruitiness. Low acidity, but has plenty of freshness, tang and grip, and a long, really quite buttery, sweet-fruited finish though it is dry. A singular style, but delicious. "Will age another 10 years - no problem," says Vasja. 90 10 Euros export price.

Cotar Vitovska 2004
Indigenous variety, with 14 days on skins. Quite a fresh, rather aromatic character, with some blossom and beeswax aromas and a certain nectarine juiciness. The palate has plenty of lemony, racy, lemon zest and pith fruit and acidity. Quite fat and waxy, with concentrated fruit, some herbal notes, and plenty of zest. 88

Cotar Sauvignon Blanc 2003
Five days on the skins, then two and half years in older barrels. Buttery, mint humbug and toffee notes with some dill character and sweet, ripe, quite exotic fruit coming through. The palate has more of the same, with mouthfilling, buttery texture and a green edge to rounded, sweet and ripe fruit. Fabulous concentration, and really a fantastically interesting Sauvignon with grip and tannin in the finish. Fascinating, but difficult wine in some ways. 89

Cotar Chardonnay 2000
Deep buttercup yellow. Beautifully limpid, mellow oatmeal and honeyed nose, with buttery white fruit and a hint of preserved lemon. The palate has nice freshness, with more of that waxy lemon fruit and a very dry extract character. The acidity is good, and though this is a little less distinctive than some, it has less tension and drama too. 88

Cotar Teran 2004
Slightly green, herbaceous capsicum character with a sweaty saddle character and Brett problem. On the palate high orangy acidity and a slightly lean structure. 85

Cotar Terra Rossa 2000
Three weeks on skins and 5 years in barrel. 40% Teran, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Mature, quite gamy nose, with some of the Teran herbal quality coming through. Also has that slightly sweaty, cheesy note. More cedar and some more solid red fruit coming through. Palate has very nice fruit, with a savoury berry richness and a very nice acid structure. Tannins are fine and racy. 89

Cotar Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Three weeks on skins and 5 years in barrel. There is a funky, silage and undergrowth quality here, but for me it edges into the slightly dirty spectrum, possibly Brettanomyces affected. The palate has Nicer quality, but there is a slightly metallic edge to this. The fruit is slightly herbal, and although there is richness and structure, it has very fresh acidity. 87

Cotar Teran 1999
This still has that little sweatiness, and a touch of herbaceous quality. Black olives and a certain fruity vividness here. Fruit on the palate is racy and has some cherry and cranberry dryness and acidity. This is much more enjoyable than the younger wine. 87

Cotar Drazna 2004
This blend is deliciously light, with some wax and parcel string aromas, but the vivid fruitiness comes through. Some light and brightness on the palate, with a dried fruit character, but good acidity and there is nice fruit here. Very modern and approachable. 87

Cotar Sladko 2006
Late harvest Malvasia grapes made in a passito method, dried to end of February. Macerated for 6 weeks and then into barrels. Nothing added and no other intervention. Still fermenting very slowly, and will be bottled in two years. Very aromatic, with lovely floral notes. Deliciously light and honeyed. Very long and bright, with great concentration. Promising. 90

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