The start of an email correspondence.
I remember Miha Batič, one of our Slovenian producers, telling me that his Great-Grandfather was Austrian, his Grandfather was Italian, his Father Yugoslavian, and now he is Slovenian. They’ve been working the same land and living in the same house since 1592. While borders and nationalities change, the vineyards have remained the same.
To this end, Italian and Slovenian producers are in the process of creating the first ever Trans-Border DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) that celebrates the Carso (Italian) or Karst (Slovenian) region. For instance, there are already joint community initiatives such as Scenarios and Flavours from the Karst Plateau without Frontiers based in Trieste that functions much like a “Doctors Without Borders” for food and wine. Concerning wine, they focus on the grape called “Terrano” (Italian) or “Teran” (Croatian and Slovenian) coupled with the iron rich “Terra Rossa” (red earth) unique to the region. These are red wines with off the charts acidity, enough minerality to meet a healthy diets monthly quota, and often a slightly tangy wild berry flavor that make it an incredible wine of place. It’s a killer with Prosciutto.
With this in mind, I’ve had many buyers admit they love the wines I’ve shared with them but immediately follow it up with, “They don’t fit anywhere on my list” or “They won’t sell here.” At the same time, they carry wines that share virtually the same soil, grape, climate, and history but happen to have DOC, DOCG, or IGT instead of Product of Croatia or Slovenia on their labels. If Terroir driven wines are really at the heart of their philosophy, why are politically drawn borders getting in the way?
The following is an actual email exchange that argued why a focus on Northeastern Italian wines should also consider the wines of Istria, Croatia. For privacy, the names have been blocked out.