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Slovenian Wines - Tilia

Tom Cannavan, 07/07

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

Tilia Estate, Vipava Valley

Tilia Zelen 2005
Bright, aromatic, with some floral aromas and juicy apple fruit. The palate is bright and pretty, with some skinny pear and apple skin grip and a lovely fruit sweetness coming through. Very nice acidity here in a juicy, brightly fruity wine with a bit of real bite in the finish. 87. 5 euros cellar door.

Tilia Sunshine Sivi Pinot 2006
Pinot Gris. Around 10,000 bottles, so a big commercial wine selling around 5 Euros cellar door. Very bright, attractive fruit with juicy ogen melon and fat lemony fruit. On the palate a lovely fruit quality. It is dry, but lovely fruit sweetness comes through and a nicely judged orangy acidity. A beautifully pitched Pinot Gris. 88

Tilia Sunshine Chardonnay 2006
Bold, fruity, very lightly herbal notes with a nettly undertone. Matjaž thinks it is the rainy vintage that has promoted this characteristic. On the palate the lychee and pineapple ripeness of the fruit comes through, with a very nice juicy melon and citrus acidity with a grapefruit tang. Very fresh and mouthfilling, but that Sauvignon-like vibrancy pushes through. Delicious. 87

Tilia Sunshine Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Juicy, bold, passionfruit and peachy base, with some elderflower and a touch of talcumy perfume. The palate has more of a streak of green vibrancy, with a vivid nettle and crunchy fruit. Lots of green apple, lots of pithy lemon and grapefruit acidity. Lovely length and vibrant power. 88

Tilia Rebula 2005
Not for sale yet. Macerated for three weeks to bring as much anti-oxidants as possible from the grape to avoid use of sulphur. Rooted in traditional methods here. Matured in steamed new barrels, so there was almost no oak flavour imparted. Copper coloured wine. Lots of caramel and honey on the nose, with a creamy aroma and a persimmon note. The palate has that richness and chewy caramel character, but there is a robust fruitiness of bruised apples and sherry-like fruit and oxidised character that adds up to a complex picture, with the oxidised, waxy, phenolic character of the traditional style and some freshness and brightness. 90

Tilia Golden Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Use only old barrels, keeps yields low and harvest late (beginning of October). Big, juicy blackurranty, crčme de cassis nose, with some smokiness and a touch of deep mulberry character. There is a touch of greenness there. But a ripe, fruity wine. On the palate a touch of greenness comes through, and it has freshness and agility. Savoury in the finish, with good acid structure and some rustic, grippy tannins. 88

Tilia Golden Pinot Noir 2005
For Pinot Noir a 3 or 4 day cold maceration of de-stemmed whole grapes. 80% of vines are Champagne clones - Matja has experimented with Burgundy clones, but has had really good results with these clones that give him the colour and aromatics that he wants and that seem to suit this climate and soil. From a rainy vintage, and there's the merest hint of a little rot, but the fruit is quite bright with a smoky, redcurrant and cranberry aroma and small fennel and spicy notes. Very attractive. On the palate it has a medium-bodied, silky mouthfeel. There is plenty of acidity here, with a lot of freshness, and although it maybe lacks a little fruit, it has nice balance with spice and some toast and crisp tannins. 87

Tilia Golden Pinot Noir 2004
More toasty, charry oak on the nose, with less of the slightly herbal character and more of a soft, earthy, sweet vanillin quality and some good fruit. On the palate a silky texture and obvious underlying fruit sweetness. Nice life about this again, with very good acid structure and crisp tannins. There is a lingering spiciness here and the fruit, though discreet, persists. 89

Tilia Golden Pinot Noir 2003
From magnum (all that is left in the cellar). A very good vintage, with adequate rain and a drying wind that kept rot away through until September. Oak very subdued, with a rounded, soft, earthy fruit character with a little strawberry and redcurrant. There's a dry, slightly ashy smokiness, that sits very nicely with the supple fruit character. This has the nicest fruit, with a bright cherry fruitiness coming through, and a smoky, spicy background with some enriching truffle and gamy character. Avery nice expression of Pinot, with lovely concentration and structure, but finesse and fine length. 90

Tilia Golden Merlot 1999
Big barrels. A great vintage - could pick as late as they wanted. Still a full, rich ruby colour. Lots of cedar and pencil-shaving finesse, with plum and fine cherry, and a background of tobacco and some chocolaty notes. Plenty of fruit on the palate, with a gamy, meaty edge to very ripe, creamy, plum and cherry fruit. That lovely cedary, Bordeaux-like finesse is evident, with fine, supple tannins and good structure. Drinking beautifully, but has time ahead of it. 90.

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