Experience Croatia and Slovenia’s Istria Region in the Flesh!

Being able to meet the people, eat the local food, attempt the language, and imbue every glass of wine with first hand experiences is why we got into the wine business. Context makes everything taste better. Plus, once you’ve visited, every time you have a wine from that place you’re immediately transported back. With this in mind, everyone at Blue Danube is happy to announce a partnership with Savor The Experience Tours, a company that has been running small group tours to Slovenia and Croatia for the past 9 years. As a Blue Danube Supporter, you’ll get 11 nights of winery visits, special feasts, and olive oil while staying with family run B&B’s. And once you return, you’ll have a gift certificate with us to purchase the wines stateside and relive the whole thing over again with friends and family. This October, don’t miss this unique opportunity to meet with some of Blue Danube’s best producers: Kabaj, Piquentum, and Kogl. For more information please contact info@savortheexperiencetours.com or call 206.529.4237.

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

Solving the artichokes and wine pairing dilemma: try the Kogl Magna Domenica Albus

Why are artichokes so hard to pair with wine? The main culprit is cynarin, a chemical compound that changes the way our taste buds perceive flavors. After eating artichokes, many people experience extra sweetness in their food and drinks, while a few others may taste more bitter flavors. My problem is that I love wine and I love artichokes, especially when signs of springs are starting to be seen all around. So the other night, I made one of my favorite spring recipes, pasta with braised artichokes, green beans, lima beans, and bacon lardons. As for the wine, I decided to try the Kogl Magna Domenica Albus 2009. Home of the Cvetko family since 1820, the Kogl Winery is located in Northeastern Slovenia, not very far from the borders of Hungary, Austria, and Croatia. With a humid continental climate and prolongued freezing periods during wintertime, the region is famous for its white wines. The Magna Domenica Albus (Latin for “Grand White Estate Wine”) is the winery’s flagship wine. It is a blend of Riesling, Yellow Muscat, and Auxerrois, aged in traditional big wooden barrels. The wine had a light golden color and a lively flowery nose. The palate was dry, … Continue reading Solving the artichokes and wine pairing dilemma: try the Kogl Magna Domenica Albus

Kogl Saemling 2007 at an IntoWineTV Tasting

As seen on TV: the Kogl Mea Culpa Saemling 2007. These days wine blogs are almost passé, Twitter is on the go, Wine TV is in, and social wine sites mushroom. Witness the many new entries in this field. I was made aware of yet another social site called IntoWine.com with a wine tasting TV section build in when its founder Brad Prescott contacted us. He was planning to produce a future segment on “Wines from Strange Places”. Well, that sounded a little better than the usual “Weird Wines of the World” so we complied and offered a selection of our wines from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia to be put through the ringer by an illustrious tasting panel at an equally illustrious place, namely the Incanto Restaurant in San Francisco. The first episode from this shooting has been posted and you can watch it here. It features a wine made by one of my favorite Slovenian producers, master vintner Franci Cvetko of the Kogl estate in the North-Eastern Podravje wine region. It’s a Saemling (AKA Scheurebe) mainly found in Germany in a fruity style and sometimes in Austria as a dessert wine. In the hands of Franci Cvetko it … Continue reading Kogl Saemling 2007 at an IntoWineTV Tasting

Slovenia? Wild, wild wines

The article in the Los Angeles Times. Yesterday’s article by Corie Brown in the L.A. Times, From Slovenia? Wild, wild wines speaks enthusiastically of wines from Slovenia, a region that “is getting hotter by the minute”. The article highlights the boldness of Slovenian winemakers, who are young, experimenting and obtaining some really good results. Revered wine expert expert Jancis Robinson is quoted to have said after her recent trip to Slovenia: “They are quite anarchic and individual in their use of oak and, to my mind, are making more distinctive wines than most of their neighbors in [Italy’s] Friuli.” Brown also spoke to Pieter Verheyde, head sommelier at Bastide in West Hollywood, one of the best restaurants in the Los Angeles area that have embraced Slovenian wines in their wine list. For Verheyde, “they’re lively and complex with unexpected flavors”, and bring diversity to Bastide’s 1,400 label list. He pairs the Santomas Malvazija with a ceviche of scallops, the Refošk with dry aged beef, and the Movia Pinot Noir with Hawaiian sea bass. It all sounds delicious. The two winemakers that the article talks most about are also the most famous ones in the US. Aleš Kristiančić from Movia is … Continue reading Slovenia? Wild, wild wines