Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Wind power

leave a comment »

Run by owner-winemaker Primož Lavrenčič, the Burja Estate is located about 30 km northeast of Trieste in Slovenia’s Vipava Valley, historically one of the main routes between western and central Europe. Geographically and oenologically, the valley can be seen as an extension of Friuli, which it opens onto (the Vipava River flows through Italy, where it is known as the Vipacco, for 4 km before emptying to the Isono River).

The Lavrenčič family traces its roots in the valley back to 1499 and has been making and selling wine for three generations under the Sutor label. Primož left the family estate in 2008 to found his own winery, named Burja after the strong wind that blows through the valley. His aim was to focus on local, indigenous varieties as opposed to the international varieties pushed by the government.

Based in Podnanos, the Burja estate has five vineyards totalling 7.16 ha. The soil is varied but mainly sedimentary rock with layers of silt, sandstone and, occasionally, marl. A student of philosophy, Primož says his approach to wine-growing is based on Artistotle’s Metaphysics and informed by his affinity for Spinosa and pantheism. A mix of western and central European grape varieties are grown: Blaufränkisch, Laški Risling, Malvazija, Pinot Noir, Rebula, Refošk, Schioppettino and Zelen. Farming is certified organic.

Vipavaska Dolina 2016, Reddo, Burja ($54.20, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Winemaker’s note: “My challenge: playing with the idea of former red wine varieties in the Vipava Valley, which were once in minority, for home consumption only. Pokalca (Schioppettino) 50%, Modra frankinja (Blaufränkisch) 30%, Refošk (Refosco) 20%. Young vineyards, from 4 to 6 years old. Aged for two years in large barrels (10 to 15 hl) and 225 l barrique barrels. On the market since 2016.” Spontaneously fermented with no temperature control. Unfiltered, unfined. Total sulfites: 45 mg/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Alluring nose of plum, wood, leather, horsehair, pencil lead, “smoked meat” and more. No more than medium-bodied. Silky texture, not unlike a fine red Burg’s. Nicely structured by bright acidity and lithe tannins. The clean, fresh fruit is underlain with minerals. Good energy. Depth and complexity are there if you look for them. Savoury overtones rise retronasally as the finish fades to a caress. Clearly food-friendly, this works as an easy drinker but also rewards contemplation. Perfectly accessible now but surely able to age and develop over the short to medium term. Beautiful – one of the wines of the night for me and some others around the table. Too bad about the price. That a few of us said we’d consider ponying up for a bottle tells you something about its appeal. (Buy again? Sigh. Yes.)

This was the group’s second encounter with a Burja wine, the first being the similarly gorgeous 2015 Bela white. Clearly an estate to keep an eye on.

MWG March 20th tasting: flight 3 of 7

Advertisements

Written by carswell

April 9, 2019 at 11:30

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.