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Get to know Slovenian wine - Primorska region, Karst/Kras wine district

In this post, I am presenting You the wine district of Karst/Kras, which is a part of the Primorska wine region.

Karst or locally known as Kras is a small district in the Primorska wine region. The region features

underground caves and karst phenomena. The surface was quite rocky in the past. Therefore farmers were collecting those rocks to clean the surface and use them to build walls around the farming fields. The three most famous things from Karst are prosciutto, Teran (wine), and the famous white Lipizzaner stallion (horse).


Karst wine district lies on a limestone plateau between the Vipava Valley and the Gulf of Trieste. Here the continental climate influences are stronger than the Mediterranean. Vineyards can be found at 200m-400m altitude. The region has a natural border with a mountain range on the southwest side. Karst shares a border with the Italian Carso DOC wine region.

Sežana is the biggest town in the region and Dutovlje is the town that has an annual 'Feast of Teran and Prosciutto'.


Karst has the sub-district Vrhe, which lies to the border with Vipava Valley. It is similar to the neighboring Valley in many ways. Among others, the soil content and the grape varieties are grown there.

Climate:

The climate here is influenced by the Mediterranean, Alpine, and continental climate. Snow is possible, but it doesn't stay for long. The Burja wind (mentioned also in Vipava Valley) can cause problems. Its dry air can harm the vineyards and the vines during the flowering season. It also causes wind erosion on the soil. If Burja wind comes right before the harvest season it can prolong the ripening season for up to a week.


Soil: As mentioned in the beginning Karst is a rocky region, with little topsoil and no surface water. The rainfall is spread throughout the year and it causes soil erosion.

The typical bedrock is a layer of limestone with over 1000 m thickness. 'Terra Rosa' = red soil is the one that is famous here. This soil forms when the limestone is watered and the color gets from the high iron oxide content.



What grows there:

  • Refosco = Teran: Refosco grape makes the famous Teran wine. The grape covers 75% of all grape production in the region. It is produced as a varietal wine and as a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Teran PTP: is made from 100% Refosco grapes, has a deep ruby color, grown on terra rosa. Low alcohol level with high acidity. Very popular among local and simple restaurants.

  • Izbrani Teran PTP = selected Teran PTP: is a level higher than Teran PTP in quality. To be produced in high-quality wine, the perfect vintage is needed. Two recent high-quality vintages are 2011 and 2015.

  • Teranton: is a top-quality wine, able to age for a longer period of time. The grapes for this wine are harvested later than usual, and only in perfect vintages. With this, the ripeness of the grapes is better and the sugar levels are higher. This wine has a maceration time of up to 6 months. It is matured in big and small oak barrels and arrives on the market 6 years after the vintage.

  • Sparkling Refosco wine: is produced due to the high acidity and low tannins.

  • Vitovska Grganja and Malvazija Istarska: are the two whites produced here. The first is native to the region.


Karst/Kras district in a nutshell:


Source: Slovenia Winemaking country, by Robert Gorjak. Page 182-188.