Border(less) Regions are Great for Wine

Take a good dose of nationalism, a slightly larger dollop of history, and fuse it with taking the best from what’s around you and creating something new. This Slovenian and Istrian container is emblematic of changing flags and political systems forcing winemakers to make something that can’t be taken away from them. New co-fermented liters from Štajerska and Dolenjsko. Sanguine Teran, Refošk, Malvazija and Vitovska from both Istria and the Kras. The singular (and extremely limited) Batič wines from Vipavska Dolina. And finally, an iconic example of the most planted grape in Croatia. The borders move around, but the land and people often don’t. In 1993, Željko Adžić scored for the Croatian National soccer team and helped defeat Ukraine 3-1 — hero status in Croatia! In 1998, he left soccer to follow his larger passion for making wine in Kutjevo (interior Croatia), working with his father Antun full time. Slightly prior to 1993, Cistercian monks founded a winery in Kutjevo in 1232. It still stands and produces Graševina (Grash-eh-veena), the most planted grape in Croatia. The Adžić family continues this tradition. Graševina is high in acidity, has great weight, and carries both residual sugar and botrytis well. In Kutjevo, where … Continue reading Border(less) Regions are Great for Wine

Wine and gastronomy tour highlights amber and natural winemakers of Slovenia and Italy

Orange/natural wine expert Simon J Woolf and author of Amber Revolution, is partnering with Savor The Experience Tours to offer a tour of the amber and natural winemakers of Slovenia and Italy. Simon and the Savor The Experience team will take you first to the hilly vineyards of the cross-border wine appellation called Collio in Italy and Brda in Slovenia (Italian and Slovenian words for ‘hill’), visiting small artisan wineries and learning about the region’s traditional orange and natural winemaking. In addition to Brda and Collio, the tour takes you to Slovenia’s lush Vipava Valley, the stoney Karst region, and ends with a day trip to Croatia’s Istrian peninsula. Besides meeting with the winemakers and tasting their production, you’ll be able to experience the delicious local cuisine and artisanal products such as olive oil, prosciutto, vinegar, cheese and truffle. This 7 day wine and gastronomy tour starts November 8 2018 and ends November 15 2018, and all guests who sign up will receive a signed copy of Simon’s first edition book Amber Revolution.

The vineyard must be full of rock’n’roll: a conversation with Miha Batič

Batič wines have an immediate signature despite often drastic vintage variation. The tone and substance of Miha Batič is also immediately recognizable in his words. Having been fortunate enough to visit him, walk the vineyards and drink in concert with his vinyl collection, I’ve also hosted him a number of times in the Bay Area. I can assure you from first hand experiences, that if you’re into wine as philosophy, magic, poetry and yet still being effortless to easily finish a whole bottle, this interview is worth a gander. Let’s listen to Miha in is own words and look forward to drinking his 2015 Rosé, 2013 Pinela and 2013 Zaria — Eric Danch Miha, what’s a biodynamic wine? Biodynamic is a method of farming that goes beyond organic, considering the laws of the Earth’s natural motion and the seasons. A biodynamic wine reflects the variety and terroir in most living beings. Wine, like all living things, changes a little every day depending on factors like the phases of the moon and your company. When you drink in good company, the wine can taste even sweeter! What changes were made to attain Demeter certification? In the middle of the eighties we … Continue reading The vineyard must be full of rock’n’roll: a conversation with Miha Batič

Curious & Thirsty – Slovenian Wine Goggles

Historically vineyards have covered much of Slovenia’s countryside. In them you find grapes brought over the thousands of years of human movement. Coupled with the diversity of climate, topography, wine production methods, and localized taste, Slovenian wines are extremely different region to region. In the US we are largely unaware of this. Blue Danube Wine Co. — the company I am a part of — has been working for close to ten years to change this. For me wine is more than beverage, it is the ultimate lens to view Slovenia through. It is made in some of the country’s most beautiful locations, accompanies the best food, and attracts interesting people. Both those who make it and drink it. I return repeatedly to enjoy of course the wine but also the atmosphere, the cuisine and my friends there. It has taught me the value of returning to a destination. Slovenia is a place I would like to one day call a second home. For those who like to Travel Curious Often and want to learn more about Slovenia and its wines, read the full article here.

The winemakers are coming, meet them in Danubia!

Danubia is a border-less wineland situated geographically and philosophically between wine’s contemporary western position and its ancient Eastern origins. The mighty Danube River spans not just geography but also culture and time, defining landscape and the tastes of our Danubian wine loving predecessors. We dub it Danubia: unity through diversity. Nothing else in the world tastes like these wines. From steep terraced limestone vineyards overlooking the Adriatic, to basalt volcanoes whose wines once promised male progeny, to the world’s first classified vineyards where botrytis meets flor, these are the flavors of Danubia. Join us in DANUBIA and meet our fabulous winemakers that will be visiting the US this month: Grand Liquoreux Master Samuel Tinon will be presenting his remarkable Tokaji wines in New York. He will be joined by Skradin winemaker star Alen Bibić and natural wines pioneer Miha Batič, who will also visit Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. For the new Miloš generation, Ivan, Franica, and Josip, this will be their first US trip. They will bring their most respected Plavac wines to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and finally New York. This will be a rare opportunity to armchair travel to Central … Continue reading The winemakers are coming, meet them in Danubia!

Kudos for Kabaj, Kogl, and Batič

Wine & Spirits Magazine recently published excellent reviews of our Slovenian producers Kabaj, Kogl, and Batič: 91 Points Kabaj 2006 Goriška Brda Cuvée Morel: Winemaker Jean-Michel Morel bases this blend on merlot (60 percent) along with cabernets sauvignon and franc and a small amount of petit verdot. But it is not merlot-easy. The musky scent and potent, gravelly tannins made it austere, a powerful, chewy red that needs bottle age. Already sophisticated, with a bit of a swagger in its personality, this is built to cellar. 91 Points Kabaj 2009 Goriška Brda Ravan: Ravan is another name for zeleni sauvignon, which is [tokaj] friulano across the border in Friuli. This one is golden in color and massively fruity, balancing its grassy passionfruit flavors with a clean, tense line of acidity. It ends on a smoky note. A match for roast partridge. 88 Points Kabaj 2009 Goriška Brda Rebula (Best Buy): Deep gold in color and smoky in its scent, this wine focuses on lees and tannins, holding juicy apple flavors underneath. The structure lends it a pleasing textual roundness, finishing firm, almost gruff. For braised dark meat chicken. 92 Points Kabaj 2007 Goriška Brda Amphora: Fermented as whole berries in … Continue reading Kudos for Kabaj, Kogl, and Batič

Wine Without Frontiers

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 … Continue reading Wine Without Frontiers

Batič & Kabaj visiting NYC, PHX, LA & SF

Jean-Michel and Tomo of Kabaj – Miha Batič. We are pleased to announce the visit of two Slovenian wine makers in California in May: Miha Batič represents a pioneering organic estate in Vipava Valley. Jean-Michel Morel and Tomo Čeh come from Kabaj in Goriška Brda. Kabaj is reknowned for their unique Amphora and long maceration wines. Meet them at one of the many events we are planning. You can read the full schedule on the new community site Slovenes in USA. Please welcome Jean Michel of Kabaj when he makes his 1st step into an American Wine Bar: Terroir NY Tribeca, Thursday, May 12, 1-4pm. Jean will pour a selection of his finest wines for trade & media. R.S.V.P. required. On his trip from New York to Los Angeles Kabaj will meet and work with two James Beard Award nominees: The first is Chairman Paul Grieco of Terroir NY who was nominated for Excellence in Wine Service. We are very happy that Paul graciously agreed to host Kabaj for his first ever tasting in the United States at his renowned wine bar in Tribeca. The trade mark logo of Terroir NY. It is an honor that the first wine dinner … Continue reading Batič & Kabaj visiting NYC, PHX, LA & SF

LOU on Vine: Gastronomic Culture both Foreign and Domestic

Lou loves 3 Liter Batič. One of our early supporters, Lou Amdur of LOU on Vine has always been one of my favorite people to work with. His love of wine and food extends far beyond his sensitive nose, palate. Tasting with Lou is more history, science, farming and people than strawberries and tannins. As a space LOU is intimate, slightly psychedelic and smells good, it attracts a whole host of interesting food and wine affiliated individuals oftentimes to dine and sometimes to host events. Coincidentally “A Feast for Ed Behr” editor of “The Art of Eating” was to be held the same day as our follow up tasting of all of the Croatian samples from our trip this summer with our partners Empty Glass. All of us really wanted to go to the Ed Behr dinner; the guy is kind of a legend. Thankfully Lou offered to let us hold the tasting there before hand so that we could. In 3 hours we tasted 60 wines that ranged from international varietals produced in a global style to obscurities like the white grape Gegic. Lou tasted most everything and at the same time readied the restaurant for the dinner, wrote … Continue reading LOU on Vine: Gastronomic Culture both Foreign and Domestic

The Batič Approach to Organic Wine Making

memories of a warm Welcome at the Batič estate. Miha Batic’s great-grandfather made wine on his property in the old Austria. His grandfather made wine on the same property in Italy; Miha’s father, in his turn, in Yugoslavia, and now Miha makes wine with him in Slovenia. As Miha explains it, the rulers and their rules don’t matter so much as the land in the Vipava Valley that has been cultivated by his family since 1592. For him, as he explains his family’s wine to 60 appreciative guests at a tasting dinner in New York, it always comes back to the land, to nature. The Batic winery lies on 18 hectares of land on the westernmost edge of Slovenia, 15 miles from the Italian border. Grapes are planted on the slopes edging the valley, where the dry breeze of the Mediterrean climate meets the Alpine chill. The Vipava Valley is historically known for its white wines—and Batic makes ageworthy Pinot Gris, as well as Chardonnay and Sauvignon—but Old World–style reds are produced as well: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Indigenous varieties are blended with international in the Batic cuvée Bonisimus: Pinela, Rebula (known as Ribolla a few kilometers away … Continue reading The Batič Approach to Organic Wine Making