Atypical Wines From a Tough 2014 Istrian Vintage

2014 was generally a tough vintage throughout the Istrian peninsula, including the nearly 50 km Slovenian coastline (Slovenska obala) that runs north towards Trieste. Heavy rains in August and a cold summer overall meant lower yields for everyone. However, it was still a quality vintage if you farmed well, hand picked and weren’t tied to a recipe. Such was the case with the red wines from Coronica in Croatia and the Malvazija from Santomas in Slovenia. These are also the wines they each typically make the least of anyway. Coronica’s production is mostly white and Santomas is overwhelmingly red. Coronica Crno and Gran Teran Drive about 15 minutes southeast of the coastal city of Umag (50 km south of Trieste) and follow a small road named Koreniki and you will find Moreno Coronica. Even though the land is the same, Moreno’s grandfather was Austro-Hungarian, his father was Italian, he was Yugoslavian, and now his children are Croatian. Nevertheless, he has a stone tablet from 1764 with the family name carved into it that ties it all together. Moreno Coronica Even further back, the region’s long history also includes Romans, Goths, Franks, and Bavarians. The Republic of Venice also had a … Continue reading Atypical Wines From a Tough 2014 Istrian Vintage

#WineWednesday Spotlight #35: Piquentum Rouge

French-born winemaker Dimitri Brečević is the founder of Piquentum in Buzet, Istria where he grows the three Istrian varieties, Malvasia, Teran, and Refošk. In an old Italian water cistern made in the 1930s, Dimitri aims to make organic wines that express the typicity of the terroir. His Piquentum Rouge 2012, a 100% Teran, was recently tasted by Cliff Rames, sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia, a website committed to serving as a timely and reliable source of information about Croatian wines for wine advocates and consumers, professional wine buyers and sommeliers, agro-tourists, members of the international wine trade, and the global media. Here is his contribution: 100% Teran of Istria. Thick and viscous, mouth filling and vibrant–but only 12.5% alcohol. Savory with dusty plum, bright cherry, and cured meat notes. Perfect with Italian pasta, charcuterie, and grilled meats. Learn more about Piquentum here.

Instagram review of Coronica Crno by Christine Havens

Portland-based wine writer Christine Havens has this great review of the 2014 Coronica Crno: My first Croatian wine, ‘CO’ or Coronica Crno is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Kraški Teran, a dark-skinned member of the Refosco family of grapes. I’m amazed at how gamey it is, with even a touch of rancio that translates as very-aged Iberico ham, along with dusty, clayey soils, roasted plums, dried orange peel, spice and violets. In the mouth, it’s quite silky with very subtle sweetness at the core, bolstered by moderate acidity and a subtle finish of dried herbs, perhaps bay leaf, and green olive. 12% ABV | Sample Follow Christine Havens on Instagram here.

A caron of refreshment

Črnko Jareninčan, Štoka Teran rose and Martinčič Cviček will be available shortly after their May 25th arrival at port. They’re all from the idyllic 2015 vintage and none are over 12.5% abv. Spread across Slovenia, the three wineries Črnko, Štoka, and Martinčič form a triangle and moreover, speaking of triangles, that two sided triangle above all these threatening words is a caron. It adds an “h” to the pronunciation of the letter it crowns. “CHrnko, SHtoka, MartinCHiCH”… Get it? Amazing it took us so long to share that! 2015 Martinčič Cviček: The name Cviček (Zvee-Check) is evidently old Slovenian for “very sour wine”. A bracingly dry blend of native red and white varieties that cannot exceed 10% abv. nor be diluted or dealcoholized. Cviček comes from Lower Carniola in Southern Slovenia, another of the country’s picturesque green hillscapes and tastes of the surrounding forest and sour cherry. Barely red and void of tannin, it should be chilled and gulped. In addition to a vine nursery, Jernej Martinčič conscientiously farms 8 hectares over 7 sites of mixed marls and limestones. Fermented with native yeast in stainless steel and wood tanks before blending and bottled just after malolactic fermentation which moderates the … Continue reading A caron of refreshment

#WineWednesday Spotlight #13: Štoka Teran Rosé Peneče

Born and raised in California, the hardest part of adjusting to life on the East Coast has been learning to love (ok – more like survive) the long, cold winters. Sipping on a glass of wine while soaking in a bubble bath I find does wonders. This past weekend as temperatures dipped down into the teens, I enjoyed a glass of Štoka Teran Rosé Peneče (Pet-Nat) 2014 with my bath. Because there are less bubbles in a Pet-Nat than Charmant or traditionally made sparkling wines, it makes for a more refreshing and easier to drink beverage. This gently sparkling Rosé is a little hazy in the glass, with a slightly salmon hue. The nose offers notes of wild strawberry, juniper berries and freshly baked brioche. I enjoyed my glass of Teran Rosé Peneče alone, but in Slovenia the Štoka family serves it alongside the air cured ham that hangs over their barrels in the cellar. Here’s to making it out of winter alive and in good spirits!

Top Croatian Wines in the USA: Indigenous Grapes Grow Sales

Cliff Rames, founder of Wines of Croatia and sommelier, writes about indigenous Croatian grapes making the most impact in the United States market for Total Croatia. On January 21, 2016, I asked the top three American importers of Croatian wines to reveal which Croatian wines were best sellers in 2015 and provide clues about what new and exciting developments await in 2016. So grab a glass of your top Croatian wine and check out revelations below, listed alphabetically by producer, with tasting notes and added commentary by the importers about what made the wines successful in the U.S. Here are the wines we import: Bibich R6 2012 (Red) 34% Babić; 33% Lasin; 33% Plavina “This northern Dalmatia wine shows more smoke and Mediterranean herbs than heavy, overbearing fruit,” observed Eric Danch, Northern California Sales Manager at Blue Danube Wine Company. “There’s immediate life and levity without compromising its unique character. It’s a wine that can be readily be devoured at a casual dinner party and yet capture the attention of wine professionals.” Miloš Plavac 2010 (Red) 100% Plavac Mali “Plavac Mali has a much thicker skin than any of the three native grapes in the Bibich R6,” noted Danch. “The … Continue reading Top Croatian Wines in the USA: Indigenous Grapes Grow Sales

#WineWednesday Spotlight #7: Coronica Gran Teran 2011

A review of Coronica’s Gran Teran 2011 by Croatian wine writer, Nenad Trifunović: Finally a brilliant teran! This vintage exhibits even greater aging potential than the glorified 2000 harvest. The flavors are of reminiscent of the terra rossa soils the grapes grow in and of iron enriched, wild forest fruit. With a hint of tobacco, a touch of vanilla, and a whisper of a caramel, you know there is some oak influence. Gran Teran is an example of carefully restrained teran with preserved personality. There is a stony, iron minerality which can remind you of the taste of blood. For sure, the wine is yet too young. Nevertheless, its balance evokes marvel. Serious elevage in a great artisan’s cellar has prepared it for decades to come. Coronica demonstrates what teran is capable of with such a perfectly tailored wine that also respects the variety and terroir. Although this vintage resulted in very hign alcohols (14,5%) for teran, the wine is balanced by characteristic high acids and tannins, firm body, smoothness, softness, and richness without being flabby. The weight is pleasant and supports the bright acid backbone, with earthy tannin and a fruity spiciness. See the original post here. Also try the 2009 vintage.

It’s Time To Give Rosé The Respect It Deserves

Rosé is no longer a sweet, uninspiring wine to drink as was often the case in past generations. More and more people are discovering the diversity of rosé and the wine is enjoying renewed popularity. A younger generation of vinophiles are increasingly embracing the pink stuff, and more and more winemakers are producing rosé to keep up with its rising popularity. According to Nielsen, rosé sales in the US grew 25.4 percent last year. Continue reading this article by Lauren Gitlin for the NY Post, where our Štoka Teran rosé is recommended as one to “drink now”. Vine Wine owner Talitha Whidbee says,”It’s refreshing and delicious but it has enough weight and structure to hold up to some winter foods. I took it home and had it with chicken and tomatoes baked with feta.”

Teran is IRONic, because….

…it is grown in IRON rich soil called Terra Rossa and tastes of IRON. …though inky dark, Teran’s IRON cool character makes it a unexpectedly appropriate summer red. …while perfumed and pretty it is best suited to cured and chared rare meats. …Croatia has historic claim to the name Teran, but with their recent entrance into the EU, producers now have to find a new certainly less historic name for it. So, what is Teran? Italy, Slovenia and Croatia all produce wines called Teran (Terrano in Italy) that are related in both composition and form. In these three countries, the best examples classically come from patches of iron rich Terra Rossa soil that has significant influence on the wines. While there is a considerable variation in style among them, they relate to each other categorically. Intensely colored, they have typically more acid than tannin, though some extreme exceptions exist. They are ideally perfumed with brassy high toned fruit and an engaging medicinal/amaro edge that feels as nice as it smells. The sorts of grapes they are made from are related, but vary and are sensitive to the touch of the wine maker. We regularly find ourselves captivated by these wines, … Continue reading Teran is IRONic, because….

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