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Slovenian Wines

Tom Cannavan, 07/07

Tasting notes on 110 wines from Western Slovenia. These notes accompany a full length feature article on western Slovenia, with profiles of nine of the top private estate wineries.

Batič Estate, Vipava Valley

Batič Rose Polsuho 2006
Polsuho indicates 'half-dry'. This Cabernet Sauvignon rosé is fermented in stainless steel and has a delicate, coppery pink colour. Very nice, fresh, soft strawberry fruit with little herbal nuances on the nose. Palate is off-dry, with plenty of fruit ripeness and RS. Mouthfilling and quite rich, with good acidity, though certainly in a soft, sweeter style. Very nice, easy-drinking aperitif wine, with only 12% alcohol. 85

Batič Rebula Polsuho 2005
Made in a similar style to rose, in stainless steel, with no maceration. From younger vines. Herbal, slightly vegetal notes. The palate is off-dry again, with a peachiness to the fruit, but also a certain nuttiness. But the sweetness of RS comes through, leaving this slightly in need of acidity, but again easy to drink. 85.

Batič Chardonnay 2004
Made in barriques, both French and local oak, from a forest next to vineyard. Three days of a hot maceration. Big, oaky, nutty nose, very slightly oxidised. Lots of waxy richness and white fruits. On the palate there is plenty of alcohol and acidity, but a core of sweet apple fruit and that nuttiness persists. Quite orange pithy notes in the finish, and plenty of power, if a little alcoholic (14% alcohol). 87

Batič Sauvignon 2005
Old clone from this valley. Made with a very long skin maceration, influenced by Josko Gravener's philosophy and revival of ancient techniques, so the wine has structure and staying power, but loses fruit. Very different from NZ or Loire Sauvignon, with an intense, skinny, wax and parcel string nose. Some pear skin notes. On the palate this is tight and waxy, with very firm acidity and plenty of apple and pear skin flavours and tight structure. A really dry, racy, but full food wine. 88

Batič Cuvιe Bonisimus 2005
Pinella, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Rebula. Plenty of toasty, deep oak notes over ripe apricot fruit. Very open and flattering compared to the Sauvignon. On the palate very dry, with mineral and herbal flavours dominating, and fruit very restrained and tight. The fruit - melons and pears - is constrained by the oak and the skinny, grippy extraction. Miha Batič thinks this is too young and needs time. Complex, dry and savoury. 90

Batič Sivi Pinot 2005
25-year-old Pinot Gris. Coppery and full coloured. Plenty of toast and orange oil notes, with a rich, powerful herbal quality and a lovely underlying apricot kernel fruitiness. The palate is quite full and waxy, with a nice sense of freshness and raciness. This is tight and focused, with the same skin-contact grip and complexity, but an orangy acidity and core of pure fruit powers through. Long and balanced. 89

Batič Chardonnay 2003
Bold, quite brassy colour. Big, sweet, plush and attractive nose, with buttery toast nicely balanced by a real depth of fruit sweetness. An almost minty, mint humbug ripeness and richness here. That ripeness and sweet edge familiar on the palate too, with bold, quite oily fruit cut through by very nice mineral acidity. That purity and ripeness of fruit comes through. 90

Batič Chardonnay 1999
Partly French oak, partly Slovenian. No obvious toastiness, with much more honeyed, complex, dried fruit and oatmeally qualities. On the palate this has a very rounded, composed, harmonious quality with the fruit and oak resolved, and a lovely integrated acid structure. Savoury and fleshy, this has bite and a depth of fruit sweetness. Powerful, with a touch of oxidised quality, dried apricot and more exotic fruit notes, but a very profound. 14.5% Alcohol not obtrusive. 91

Batič Chardonnay Malvasia Rebula 1986
This has a lovely waxy nose with nuttiness and a beautiful fruit quality suggesting candied peel, preserved figs and a honeyed, smoky minerality coming through. Delicious fruit quality on the palate too, where the sweetness of the fruit really comes through with plenty of vivacity and a mouthfilling waxy richness. Lovely tension from quite high alcohol, a hint of terse minerality and some warming oak and spice. A revelation. 92

Batič Cabernet Franc 2004
Very nice dusty, redcurrant and slightly green nose, but lovely spice and pepper, and red cherry fruit. The oak is slightly resinous and raw, and the fruit is a little shy, but it has some good fruit at its core, with a crisp, light acid structure adding freshness and tang. Quite juicy and savoury, and a nice food wine style. 88

Batič Merlot 2003
Vivid pink-rimmed crimson colour. Big, plush oaky nose laden with Sandalwood, cinnamon and toast. composed cherry and red plum fruit beneath. The palate is crisp-edged and firm, with a racy herbal, menthol and cranberry fruit quality. Acidity is good and the tannins are rather mean and grippy, giving this a slightly lean quality. The oak seems a touch overpowering for this level of fruit. 86

Batič Cuvée Micha 2006
Field blend of Pinella, Muscat, Rebula, Zelen, Klarnica, Chardonnay. Racy orange and grassy character. Some linseed, flax and hessian notes, but also an intriguing floral lift and a touch of spearmint. The palate is powerful and skinny, with lots of grip and lots of pithy lemon. The peppery quality of the oak comes through, but very clean and fresh and really promising. 90

Batič Pinella 2004
9% alcohol. Quite a high, estery, floral nose with plenty of zing and lemony zip. crisp, taut, pithy grapefruit flavours and white fruit acidity. Very fresh and bracing. 88

Batič Valentino 2003
Pinella and Rebula. 2003 was the driest vintage in over 20 years. Grapes dried in shallow wooden cases in rafters of cellar from beginning October to end of February. 3 years in barrels. Only 50gm/l of sulphur needed to stabilise. Lovely salmon pink colour with a lightly oxidised nose with delicate notes of old roses, dried apricots and a hint of acacia honey. On the palate there's a silky texture and medium body, with a sweet, marmalade and brown sugar character. Lovely acidity here that really pushes through a powerful, slightly alcoholic finish. Really lovely stuff though. 92

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, crθme 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.

Sutor, Vipava Valley

Sutor Burja 2006
Rebula, Laski Riesling and Malvasia. Lovely waxy, red apple skin fragrance with little floral notes and a background of creamy vanillin. Interesting floral notes. Lovely fresh, full palate with bold, assertive pear and apple flavours. There is a real mineral streak to the acidity, and the finish is tight and powerful, with a long, tangy character.

Sutor Chardonnay 2006
Fermented with D47, an old Burgundian yeast. Fine nose from barrel, with very clear, forward melon and pear fruit. Nice sense of delicacy and finesse here. The palate has fine, ripe but taut and racy white fruit. Very nice balance and life.

Sutor Sauvignon 2006
Fermented and aged in large wooden vats, with around 10% skins. Very aromatic, much more lifted, bright tropical fruit. Very nice elderflower punch and notes of lychee and tangerine. On the palate the vivid quality of the ripe fruit comes through, and there's just a hint of that grip from the skins. Lovely quality and style here and beautifully vibrant and fresh 90

Sutor Pinot Noir 2006
Half from new plantings, half from Pinot grafted onto 15-year-old Cabernet roots. First vintage. Not hugely aromatic but a little suggestion of earthiness and then truffle and soft summer berries emerges. On the palate delicious fruit sweetness, with a dense and creamy quality, and a lovely, refined acid and tannin structure. Very good and highly promising. 89

Sutor Merlot 2006
A subtle tea, cedar and Sandalwood spice. The nose is not at all green, with subdued but dense cherry fruit. On the palate that tight structure of dense fruit, tight-grained tannins and some grippy character work well together. The oak is firm and not too toasty, adding structure and a firm, liquoricy quality. 89

Sutor Burja 2004
Lovely nose, where some acacia honey and a gentle waxiness is added to fresh, aromatic fruit. There is a background of vanilla and mint, with a lovely creaminess, but the aromas are fresh and appetising. On the palate there is an initial sweetness, with very ripe fruit and an orange and tangerine fruitiness. A real minerality comes through on this, with little salty and preserved lemon notes in a delicious and mouth-watering wine. 91

Sutor Chardonnay 2004
Again a finally balanced nose, with creamy oak in the background and very finely honed, honeysuckle and ripe pear and apple fruit. Some fat lemony fruit comes through, in a delightfully appetising wine. The palate has lots of flavour, with plenty of concentration and a dry, nutty character, but the juiciness and ripeness persists. Tangy and intense. 90

Sutor Chardonnay 2002
Beautifully limpid lime and mineral aromas, with tiny nuances of honey and a lovely oatmeal and cashew creaminess. Very vibrant, nervous palate with terrific vibrancy and tangy lemon fruit and minerality. 91

Sutor Burja 2003
Has a lovely dense, minty creaminess on the nose that is very limpid and ripe, with pineapple and exotic ripe fruits. The palate has deliciously sweet fruit, with the power and alcohol of the vintage coming through powerfully. It is slightly hot in the finish, but the acidity is really very good, and an orange and lemon rind bite. 89

Sutor Sauvignon 'Primus' 2000
Quite a schisty, smoky mineral note, with some herbal nuances. Fruit is quite ripe beneath. On the palate quite a buttery, full, limpid quality, but the fruit is bright and focused. The palate has some real leesy, skinny bite, with a waxiness and grip. Alcohol is quite noticeable too, but it is a fresh wine with a vibrant, tangy finish. 89

Sutor Chardonnay 1999
Lovely buttercup yellow colour. Very nice fruit character here, with lovely limpid freshness. Little notes of honeysuckle and honey, with some fig and apple fruit, and a background of slightly toasty vanillin. Sparky, bright, delightfully orangy and lemon zest fruitiness. This has verve and nervosity, with a dry grapefruit pith acidity and a sense of minerality, before a warming, rounded finish, but with that tangy definition. Very powerful, but beautifully balanced. 91

Sutor Merlot 2003
Gorgeous nose, filled with creamy, dense sweetness. Primoz admits 2003 was an exceptional vintage for Merlot. Lots of chocolate, black plum and a plush, Sandalwood and clove spice. Delicious palate, brimming with sweet, creamy fruit, notes of cherry and ripe plums. Fantastic balance here and sense of plushness, with a creamy density to the tannins and a lovely push of acidity into the finish. Beautiful wine with plushness and velvety texture, but still structured and fresh. 91

Edi Simčič, Brda

Edi Simčič Rebula 2006
With Rebula, selectivity in harvest is essential as there is big variation in ripeness between vines and even bunches on a vine. Lovely honeyed, nutty, limpid nose with small floral notes. Very nice fruit sweetness, with depth and balance, with a freshening mineral acidity. 88

Edi Simčič Pinot Gris 2006
Plenty of aromatic, fine oak for now, but seems to have power and substance. Good fruit and a certain spiciness 88

Edi Simčič chardonnay 2006
Lovely quality of aromatic oak dominating (barrel sample) but sweetness and purity of fruit really comes through. Harvested from a 27-year-old vineyard at 180 metres above sea level. Very long. 89

Edi Simčič Sauvignon 2006
Aromatics currently dulled by the oak and barrel ferment character. Very nice tang and fruit concentration. Promising, and very powerful Sauvignon.

Edi Simčič Pinot Blanc 2005
Very attractive , vividly fruity nose with orange and a nutty undertone, and background of sweet vanilla. Palate is quite full and creamy, with a pithy lemon zest acidity and good length. Very fresh, perhaps lacking a little fruit definition. 87

Edi Simčič Rebula 2004
Quite a bold, brassy colour. Quite gentle, nut and sesame seed notes, a certain waxiness and died apricot. On the palate that dense, cream and waxy nectarine fruit quality gives thick texture. Good acidity, with some straw-like character and a savoury, dry quality. 87 Around 10-11 Euros. Export price.

Edi Simčič Rebula 2002
Fragrant nose, with spice and Sandalwood notes, but a fig and quince richness comes through as well as some dried fruit quality. Palate is honeyed and has that figgy quality, with a nice palate weight and a core of lemony acidity. 89

Edi Simčič Pinot Gris 2004
Do a little more with this variety as Pinot Gris can be rather boring. Very low yielding, picking a little early before it becomes too oily. Smoky, sultry nose with toasty notes and apricot and peachy fruit. The palate has richness, but lots of crisp, taut, elegance too. The fruit is creamy and ripe, with a ripe apple fruit and really crisp acidity in the finish. It is spicy and full, with the oak filling in. 88

Edi Simčič Pinot Gris 1998
Quite a deep bronze-tinged colour. Really deep-set, smoky nose with delicious richness and some cedary notes, as well as dense white fruits. The palate has huge density, with delicious mouth-filling smokiness and marmalady fruit. There's a seam of mineral acidity that really freshens the finish, giving a crisp edge playing against the spice and slightly toasty character of the supporting oak. 90

Edi Simčič Chardonnay 2005
From a single vineyard. Recently bottled sample. clear, nutty apple fruit aromas. Lots of orange comes through. On the palate very dry, with a great savoury core of lemon and lemon pith. Rather short, but almost certainly bottle shocked and will come good. 88 provisionally.

Edi Simčič Shardonnay 2001
Big, leesy, oatmeal and toasty nose with lots of exotic spice and nutty apple fruit. The palate has a fine tension between sweet-edged fruit and that sour, pithy grapefruit and lemon rind. Acidity is very good, with a certain minerality also keeping this sharp. There are little notes of caramel and a touch of oxidation, but a delicious wine. 90

Edi Simčič Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Oak dominates with a smoky character. Some ripe, slightly tropical fruit comes through, but also a nice varietal hint of greenness. The palate has real life and definition. There's not a huge varietal character that comes through, and it is fairly one-dimensional at this stage, but it is a fresh, savoury, well-balanced style with persistence and plenty of tang. Alecks says this is very closed and needs time, and will develop complexity. For now87

Edi Simčič Sauvignon Blanc 2001
Gentle spice and some sweet, smoky vanillin. There is some green fig and layered fruit here that is much more complex than the 2005. The fruit is mouthfilling but really vibrant, with a decisive citrus fruit and big mineral base. Acidity is very good, and this is very fresh and tangy in the end, though it still lacks a little varietal character for me. 88

Edi Simčič 'Duet' 2002
80% Merlot, with 20% cabernet Franc and cabernet Sauvignon. Three years in 100% new French oak. Lovely Sandalwood, cinnamon and exotic spice to a solid, ripe cassis and glossy black cherry fruit. The palate has breadth, with smoky-tinged black fruits; pencil shaving and cedar comes through, but this is broad, juicy, with the oak tannins adding warmth and breadth and a good structure keeping it fresh and really extending the finish. Delicious and quite serious. 91

Edi Simčič 'Duet' 2000
Another smoky, savoury nose with a dusty quality to the black fruit and a hint of olive. This seems just a little green, but has an attractive smokiness. The fruit comes through nicely on the palate. Broad, smoky, deep and plummy, but with that same freshness. The acidity and minerality comes through again, and there is no sign of under-ripeness. Long and satisfying. 91

Edi Simčič 'Duet' 2003
Lovely ripeness evident here, with a really upfront cassis and black plum fruitiness and the dusty nature of the cabernet Franc comes through. Lovely plush character here. The palate is equally ripe and rich, and there is plenty of breadth and flesh. The ripeness really suits the wine in my opinion, and though the acidity may be slightly low, the minerality and the crispness is excellent. 91

Edi Simčič Wine with no Name 2003
A very careful vineyard and barrel selection of the same grape blend as the Duet. Oak is less evident than on the Duet, with a really solid, juicy fruit character suggested by the nose. Very solid and creamy, with that same dustiness. The palate has a solid, marzipanny density, with rich, mouth-coating tannins. This has real density, but the finesse is still there. It is powerful and at the same time harmonious. Lovely stuff. 92

Simčič, Brda

Marjan Simčič Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Part fermented with two days fermentation and 14 days for part. Beautiful aromatics here, with limpid fruit brightness hinting at tropicality, with expressive gooseberry and passionfruit notes and just a creamy background from the oak. The palate has some grip from the skins, and powerfully concentrated fruit. There's a huge core of lemon and minerality, with plenty of substance and extract. A huge, mouthfilling wine, in at 15% alcohol. 90

Marjan Simčič Chardonnay 2006
Bright, tropical, but quite aromatic and verdant notes. A grassy and gooseberry intensity. The palate has a breadth and pithy orange juiciness, with an oatmeal richness and full texture. Plenty of glycerine and concentration, with an intensely sweet edge to the fruit, but big savoury acid structure and tannic grip. "A twenty year wine" says Marjan confidently, pointing out thee wine's fresh minerality and maturity of grapes. 91

Marjan Simčič Sauvignon 2001
Plenty of varietal character, with a vivid elderflower note, but even more tropical lychee and honeyed, pineapple and mango fruit. Fabulous fruit sweetness on the palate, with mouthfilling vanillin sweetness and a melange of creamy yet pinpoint sharp flavours. Wonderful balance and length. 92

Marjan Simčič Teodor white 2000
Absolutely stunning mint toffee and lime, with a little floral note and some green fig nuances. On the palate a wonderful limpid quality, with that intense lime fruit and zesty acidity cutting through. Fabulous luscious palate but razor-sharp acid structure and warming depths of figgy richness. 93

Marjan Simčič Teodor red 1997
Hugely plush, cedary, luscious tobacco and figgy pudding richness, with such plush, ripe fruit. There's a floral note and something herbal, but very plush overall. Beautiful balance on the palate, with pepper and spice and rich, ripe cherry fruit. That tobacco depth is lovely. Long and balanced, and quite hedonistic. 93

Marjan Simčič Leonardo 1997
First vintage of this passito, named after Marjan's son. Wonderfully rich, figgy, plum pudding and quince nose with lovely coffee and tobacco richness. The palate has a lovely orange and fig flavours, with ginger and very good acidity brightening the structure. Delicious wine, with great length. 92

Marjan Simčič Pinot Gris 2005
Lemon rind and nectarine skin, waxy fruitiness. A deal of stony minerality too. On the palate a very light, crisp, beautifully poised wine with plenty of citrussy tang and hints of more tropical, ripe fruitiness. Nice rich texture with a bit of grip, but stays very focused and clean. Lovely wine. 88

Marjan Simčič Ribolla 2004
50-year-old grapes with 12-metre-long root systems. Six months fermentation and maceration on skins in wooden casks, followed by two years in 500 litre tonneaux. A dark, brassy yellow colour. That lovely earthiness and herbal quality, with all sorts of nutty and honeyed notes, even hints of wild mint and fennel. Really intriguing. On the palate this has lovely limpid weight, with a silky, honeyed quality and mouthfeel. Deliciously sweet fruit, with that overlay of nuttiness and all the time zesty lemon and minerality pushing through. Fabulous Ribolla/Rebula. 92

Marjan Simčič Sauvignon Reserve 2004
Fantastic nose with real toffeed richness and minty, leafy intensity of fruit. A piercing rendition of a Graves style perhaps, with an extra burst of intensity and luscious, honeyed fruitiness. Full and powerful on the palate, with delicious fruit and a real earthy, terroir-driven minerality still coming through layers of varietal fruit, layered, fig and passionfruit character and the creamy, supporting depth of the finish. Superb. 92

Marjan Simčič chardonnay Reserve 2004
18-41-year-old vineyards. Big, figgy, rich style, with toast and buttery richness, but that piercing minerality comes through, with lemon rind and nectarine juiciness. The palate is full and very big scaled, with masses of dry extract richness and bite, a creamy, toasty oak in the background, but masses of crunch and vivid fruit, as well as that steely core of minerality. This is balanced despite its extract and oak, and will age very well. 91

Marjan Simčič Pinot Noir Reserve 2002
This was the first Pinot Noir vintage, from 10 to 33-year-old vines. Lovely colour, with earthy tones. Big, very ripe and creamy cranberry and black berry fruits, with a heavy overlay of spices and exotic, incense-like notes. Seems plush and smokily sweet. On the palate it is really quite ripe and jammy, with a sweetness and plushness to the fruit. It has lovely fleshiness and the soft, silky quality of the oak and earthiness fills in very nicely. There's a coffee-like intensity and nicely roughening tannin quality, with very good acidity. 91

Marjan Simčič Merlot 2003
Plenty of push, sweet vanillin oak coming through, with masses of incense and Sandalwood spice. There's a meatiness and smoky quality here, with rolling, full, fudge-like depth. There may be a touch of briar and possibly a touch of herbal quality. Beautiful brightness of cherry fruit, all wrapped in a little chocolate and fudge. Really nice acidity here, with a savoury, structured character. Real finesse here, with plenty of coffee and plummy depth. Delicious. 91

Marjan Simčič Teodor 2003
Beautiful waxy density and green fig richness, with complex notes of leaf tea, green tea and camomile. Lots of honey that persists onto the palate, giving real richness and buttery, fudgy quality to clean, pure, limpidly bright fruit and acidity. Minerality ids expressive here too, with a slightly smoky quality into the finish. 92

Ščurek, Brda

Ščurek Savignonasse 2006
This is Tocai-Fruillano, macerated cold for 12 hours and made in stainless steel. Very fresh, bursting, lime and vivid green apple nose. Masses of ripe, zesty fruit with a verdant, Sauvignon-like grassy streak. Full, sweet-edged palate with a bit of RS, but more very sweet, ripe fruit. A really cleansing lemony acidity and a streak of pithy dryness. Stylish, modern and a very convincing demonstration of the versatility in this region. 87 7 or 8 euros locally, export price around 5 euros.

Ščurek Pinot Blanc 2006
Beli Pinot, or Pinot Blanc, made with six hours cold maceration and stainless steel vinification. Luscious peach and nectarine fruit on the nose, with a candied pineapple richness and tropical notes. On the palate there is mouthfilling, very sweet and mouth-filling fruit, with a real sense of fruit intensity and sweetness, and just a grippy pear and apple skin note. Acidity is very fresh, in a straightforward and commercial wine of great appeal. 88

Ščurek Pinot Grigio 2006
Six hours cold maceration and stainless steel vinification. Big, pungent nose, with herbal notes and a vivid green streak, but very fresh and appetising with some floral notes. Lovely mouthfilling fruit, very sweet and flattering, flooding the palate with melon and fresh, vivid apple. Good citrussy acidity. 87

Ščurek Stara Brajda White 2005
60% Rebula, 20% Pikolit, 20% Pika, Glera, Tržarka and Malvazija. 24 hours cold maceration followed by 12 months in new Slovenian oak. Quite a deep yellow/green colour. Big, bold, fig and spice nose with plenty of oak influence. The palate too has a rather strident oak influence, with modest but juicy sweet fruit that is very mouthfilling and pleasant, if slightly short. Pleasant drinking with fruity charm, if a rather overpowering oak influence at this stage. 87

Ščurek Stara Brajda White 2004
Very waxy, resinous oak quality here, with more of the green fig character and pungent fruit quality. On the palate it has sweet, forward, mouth-filling fruit and has better oak integration than the 2005, and though it is still a simple wine, very nice, mouthfilling fruit and creaminess. 88

Ščurek Stara Brajda White 2003
Much more pungency to this, with the figgy, tobacco oak subsumed under a Botrytis note of honey and green-streaked fruit. On the palate the extra ripeness adds a lot of nectarine and peachy fleshy ripeness, and though acidity is lower, it still has some edge. Oak is supporting rather than dominant. Slightly short. 87

Ščurek Stara Brajda White 2001
Quite a honeyed, nutty, almond and ripe, rich tropical fruit nose. The palate is smooth and limpid, with a slightly more angular feel to the acidity, but a nice integration of oak and fruit, and a harmonious mid-palate. This has aged quite gracefully. 88

Ščurek Pikolit 2003
24 hours cold soaking, with eighteen months in new oak and acacia wood. 15% alcohol. Intriguing floral and high, spicy notes, with some juicy melon fruit. The palate has a rounded, full sweetness of fruit. There's a warming, coffee and cream smoothness and flavour in the finish here, and the lowish acidity keeps that silky impression. Slightly harsh note in the finish perhaps, but interesting and drinking nicely. 87

Ščurek contra 2006
Blend of Rebula and chardonnay. Seven months maceration, each grape being picked from the bunch and dropped into the barrel for fermentation, with no sulphur added. Quite unusual nose with Botrytis notes and a quality of Amaretto. Palate has a waxy dryness, but fresh and zesty right in the finish. Tangy and savoury, and intriguingly moreish. 88

Ščurek Stara Brajda 2004
Stara Brajda means 'old vineyard'. 40% Merlot, 20% each of cabernet Franc, cabernet Sauvignon and Refošk (Refosco). 18 days maceration and 24 months in new and used oak, half French, half Slovenian. Quite a high, kirsch-like but very slightly volatile nose, with a slightly dried raisin, Amarone suggestion. Some dry cranberry notes and background cedary oak. On the palate the fruit comes through nicely, with red berry fruits and an edgy, liquorice and cherry skin acidity. Quite crisp and tangy, very fresh. 88 19 euros for a bottle here in Slovenia

Ščurek Stara Brajda 2002
Nice vibrant colour. A creamier, more rounded and subtle nose, with a suave black fruit quality. There is a chocolaty and plumy depth here, that is very appealing. The palate is voluptuous and soft, with plenty of fruit filling the mouth, and again that tight, acid edge and touch of roughening plumskin tannin that adds texture. Very good quality. 89

Ščurek Stara Brajda 1999
No cabernet Sauvignon in this vintage. There's a herbal lift to this wine, with red fruits and a certain leafiness more to the fore. On the palate there's a creamy fullness, with some raspberry and cherry quality and a chocolaty density. An orangy acidity gives this a lift and some life, and though the fruit is falling away slightly now, a balanced and interesting wine. 88

Ščurek UP 2001
80% Merlot, 20% cabernet Sauvignon. 21 days maceration, with 26 months in new oak and a further one in bottle. Spicy, soft, appealingly fleshy and fruity nose. Quite exotic and smoky, but a solid fruit. The palate has a full, fleshy appeal too, with very good fruit sweetness and some fine acid and supple tannin balance. Not hugely long, but defined and has finesse. 89

Ščurek UP 2002
A very fruit-dominated nose, with spice and a smokiness and some herbal touches. The palate has a creamy fruitiness, but once again it is bold, assertive, with nice tannins and an edgy cherry acidity. An enjoyably fruity wine, with a little spice and coffeeish richness in the finish. 88

Ščurek UP 2003
Deep-fruited, spicy and powerful, with great fruit density and sweetness, and a suave, polished character. Really stuffing here, and no trace of greenness, with lovely almost jammy mouthfilling blackberry fruit and a clear acid and tannin structure. Acidity is a little lower and more lemony,

Ščurek Rebula 2006
Very fresh style, with limpid, fresh, green apple purity and bite and just a bit of honey and freshness. Qa

Ščurek Pikolit 2005
Fabulous, enticing fragrance of old roses and lavender. Exotic notes of lychee and powdery love heart and Parma violet too. The palate has power and concentration. Lovely strawberry and sweet fruit, but huge dry extract quality with some tannin and huge core of acidity. Almost 16 degrees, but fantastic wine experience. 91

Ščurek Story sweet wine 2004
60% Rebula, 10% Pikolit, 30% Rumeni Muskat. Dried in wooden crates for 7 months and 2 years in old barrels. Beautifully sweet, notes of tobacco and smoke. Slightly smoky. Aromatic. Dry, smoky dried apricot. Becomes quite silky and softly smoky. 90. 70g/l RS

Movia, Brda

Movia Tocai 2006
73-year-old vineyard, just over into the Italian colio. 100% Italian wine. Dry, herbal, straw and hay-like aromas. Fine buttery fruitiness on the palate with some herbal qualities coming through. Ripe, sweet fruitiness and a lovely acid backbone, with just a bit of skinny grip. 88

Movia Rebula 2005
Two weeks in bottle. From 78-year-old vines. Big wax and green fig nose, with preserved lemon and a concentrated fruitiness. Wood is very much in the background on the nose and onto the palate, with a racy lemon fruit and acidity. Very clean, fresh, with not a huge finish, but lovely clarity. 88

Movia Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Nice, punchy green fruit with verdant gooseberry and a hint of nettle, and a rich, waxy lemon fruitiness. On the palate there is vibrant lime acidity running through, and a definite minerality. This is mouth-filling and rich, but has a composed, cool definition and tangy, fresh finish. Lovely balance and length. 89

Movia Chardonnay 2004
Beautifully deep green fig and quince, with honey and fragrant honeysuckle and deep passionfruit notes. A brighter green apple note and minerality adds layers of complexity. The palate has a touch of oily weight and texture. The palate is filled with shimmering lemon and zest, with a fine core of acidity and that nutty, rich background. Excellent wine. 92

Movia Veliko Blanc 2003
Veliko is a single vineyard in a natural amphitheatre around a small wood, with biodiversity. A sense of freshness and ozoney clarity. A big sour apple fruit floods the palate with a touch of waxy lemon rind and a razor sharp acidity. Very good quality here, a terrific length. 90

Movia Veliko Blanc 2000
Beautifully lifted fragrance, with a streak of grassiness and lime, and that waxy, nectarine skin character. The palate is racy and very fine, with a beautiful poise and clarity of fruit. Pristine stone fruit and lemon flavours, and that lovely minerality. Persisting. 92

Rojac, Istria

Rojac Malvasia 2006
Very simple cool fermentation, no real skin contact, one month in oak just to add a slight hint of vanilla. Very lemony and fresh, with a little hint of oatmeal and almond. On the palate bone dry and shot through with lemony fruit and clean, white fruit shimmering acidity. 87

Rojac 'Moja' Sparkling Refošk Rose 2005
No sulphur, made in a frizzante style. 2005 harvest fermented with the must of the 2006, put into bottles. Very bright, vibrant rose colour. Fresh, fruity, red fruit nose with a hedgerow quality of berries and a nettly background. The palate has slightly creamy quality, but the soft, strawberry with a touch of sweetness, before sharper raspberry fruit comes through. Very nice acidity and clean, crisp finish. 87

Rojac Starid'or 2003
chardonnay and Pinot Gris, with a little Malvasia and Muscat. 30-day maceration for each component, apart from Pinot Gris, which has no time on skins. Fermented in oak, and into barriques with no sulphur and no battonage. Free co2 keeps wine healthy. After one year components are blended in large oak casks for 18 months. 'The Pinot Gris brings harmony across the wine.' Big vanillin and cream nose, with a minty, toffee and ripe nectarine and peachy fruit beneath. The palate has a deal of sweetness and that vanillin-wrapped, creamy ripe and fat fruit. Low acidity and a grippy tannin quality, but rather overoaked. 87 12 Euros

Rojac Starid'or 2004
Still has that creamy mint humbug and vanillin overlay, but rather more fragrance and floral highlights. The palate has more life and brightness, with an orangy tangy of fruit and acidity, a touch of lime and a much fresher palate. This is juicy and fresh, and a much better wine, which ?? thinks is the product of the vintage. 89.

Rojac Malvasia 2000
Very dense, creamy, toffee and buttered toast nose, with a depth of rounded, baked banana and spice. Very complex and layered, and ?? says that is the grape, not oak, because only old barrels are used. The palate is mouth-filling and creamy, like vanilla and toffee, but then a really good pear and ripe, juicy apple fruit and acidity comes through. This is a fairly rounded, lowish acid style, but has lovely balance. 88

Rojac Malvasia 2003

25 days skin contact, two and a half years in barrels. More subdued than the 200 perhaps, but there is ginger and toffee, and a touch of honeycomb and crunchie bar. There's a lovely fruit quality here, with bright tangerine and orange coming through, with that apple fruitiness and acidity holding on very well in this hot vintage. 89

Rojac Refosco 2006
Refosco means "king of reds". In the middle of malo. Vibrant colour. Quite a bold, cherry fruited nose.

Rojac Syrah 2005
Very vivid crimson colour, with a creamy blackberry and vivid cherry fruit, with little violet cream nuances. The palate has plenty of pretty fruit, with a slightly herbal note, and plenty cherry lift and acid brightness. A very crisp, fruity style. 87

Rojac Renero (?) 2005
100% Refošk. Very nice, bright pastille fruit. And a bit of glossy cassis. Big, dry palate, with cherry and a bright food quality.

Rojac Starid'or red 2004
This is a brightly focused, forward and fruity style, with really nicely managed oak adding a soft and supple vanilla. Quite long, and again that crisp, cherry and mineral acidity adding real freshness and bite.

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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