Get to know Slovenian wine - Primorska region, Goriška Brda district
In this post, I am presenting You, the Goriška Brda wine district, which is a part of the Primorska wine region.
Goriška Brda or simply called Brda in Slovenia lies in the west (the small dark spot on the map). Brda has been the wine region with the most innovations since independence in 1991. Some of those innovations are the use of barrique barrels (225L oak barrels) and low-intervention winemaking. The results are top-quality wines with high critic scores and world-class PR. Brda wine region is a place where the producers love to challenge each other in the ways of vinegrowing and producing wine. It is also the wine region in Slovenia with the most high-quality winemakers. Brda is popular amongst wine tourists, with its breathtaking landscape, flavourful cuisine, and world-class wines. I have visited it myself and below are the blogpost from Brda winery visits.
Brda continues from the beautiful Vipava Valley. The two regions are divided by the Soča River. The landscape resembles an amphitheater open to the south with lovely hills on the opposite side. To be able to enjoy the landscape, climbing onto the observation tower in Gonjače is a must! From there you will be able to see, vineyards, fruit-tree plantations, over 40 small villages, and more than a few churches. There are no cities in Brda, only villages. Therefore there are no big streets or fancy shopping malls. Only narrow streets, old houses, and neighbors sitting around and drinking wine. In Brda, vineyards are planted starting at 80 m altitude in the south and up to 400 m altitudes in the north.
Another interesting fact is that 1/3 of the Brda region is in Italy, represented by the Collio wine region.
The climate in Brda can be described as a Mediterranean climate with strong alpine influence. Summers here are hot but not dry. Winters are mild with maybe a few days with low temperatures. The famous Burja (Bora) wind can appear, but not as powerful as in Vipava Valley. Frost is rare, occasionally in spring, rainfall is about 1,500 mm.
Soils are the clay, marl, limestone, and sandstone. All soils are poor, therefore exceptional for vineyards. Marl is locally called Opoka (on the picture).
These soils give medium to full-body white whines and reds with more than enough freshness, acidity that is perfectly balanced and worth mentioning minerality.
What grows there:
Ribolla Gialla is considered the signature grape of the Brda region. It is produced in almost all styles, varietal wines, oaked, macerated (orange wine), sparkling wine, and even blends. White blend with Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignonasse, and Malvazija Istarska is quite common. Nowadays blends that are going to the international market are changing from Malvazija Istarska to Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon blanc.
Chardonnay is the next to the top. Normally aged in oak or blends with the Ribolla Gialla. The wine style is strong and powerful and pleaser to wine critics.
Merlot is the king between the red varieties. It is made in juicy wines with medium to full-body style.
Cabernet Sauvignon usually can't ripen properly, but it's loved by the locals. CS is often seen in blends with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Pinot Gris in Brda has a unique style. The grapes can ripen fully and produce full-bodied wines, similar to Alsace wines.
Sauvignonasse (locally known as Zeleni Sauvignon) is the grape formerly called Tokaj, but since Hungar got a trademark on the name, the producers couldn't agree on a new name so the popularity of the grape has declined. Jakot is the name on which the producers agree to call it, but it is not officially recognized.
Pinot Noir is a true gem among the Brda wines when it comes from the top producers as Movia, Marjan Simčič, and Jakončič.
White Blends are usually (not all the grapes at the same time) from Chardonnay-Ribolla Gailla-Pinot Gris-Sauvignon Blanc-Sauvignonasse. Wines are oak-aged, medium to full in body, highly aromatic with the potential to age.
Red Blends are based on Merlot with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The wines are medium to full-bodied, both robust or elegant, good for shorter aging periods.
Sparkling wines are made by high-profile producers as Bjana, Medot, and Silveri. The quality of these wines is outstanding.
Sweet wines are one of their kind. The popular production method is passito and again Ribolla Gialla has all the glory here. Pikolit is known as well but only in between wine lovers.
Goriška Brda in a nutshell:
Source: Slovenia Winemaking country, by Robert Gorjak. Page 130-143.