Marjan Simcic – Goriska, Brda
The Slovenian region of Brda lies immediately to the east of Italy’s Collio region. The two denominations, in reality, comprise one contiguous quality wine zone whose terroir is rudely bisected by an international border. Today many winemakers and grapes cross the border in both directions in short journeys from vineyard to cellar. The Simcic family trace their wine making story in the region back to 1860. Their aim is to respect the historic traditions of the region in both viticulture and wine-making. The vineyards are farmed organically, yields are kept low and only natural yeasts are used. Marjan is one of the best young winemakers in Europe and has honed his knowledge of his land all his life and works to progress the quality of the wines tirelessly every year. The wines are divided into three distinct ranges. The Classic range is from the youngest vines (often up to 35 years old, however) and is made to provide wines for earlier release. Fermentation and aging takes place in stainless steel following 2 days of maceration, they then age for up to 8 months on the fine lees. The Cru Selections are all sourced from old vines growing in the very best sites.
The Sauvignon Blanc Cru Selection is from vines aged between 25 and 45 years old located in Podgredic (IT) & Jordano (SLO). They vinify in stainless steel with 4 days maceration and age for 15 months in 4hl conical oak vats and 5 months in 500 litre cask. The Ribolla Gialla Cru Selection is from the Jordano Cru with vines over 50 years old. Fermentation with 6 days maceration is in 3hl conical oak where it ages for 1 year before 6 months in 500 litre cask. The Chardonnay Cru Selection is from vines from 35 to 50 years old, fermented on the skins for 4 days in 3hl conical oak and aged for 15 months in 2 hl cask and 6 months in 500 litre barrel. Teodor Bianco Cru Selection is a blend of Ribolla 60%, Pinot Grigio 20% and Sauvignonasse 20% from vines aged 33 to 64 years. The Ribolla ferments on skins in 3hl oak for 6 days, the Sauvignonasse and Pinot Grigio macerate for 2 days in stainless steel. The Ribolla then ages in large oak for 23 months, the Grigio and Sauvignon in 500 litre barrel before blending. Including fruit from the famed Breg cru, the Pinot Noir Cru Selection ferments in stainless steel before aging in barrique (30% new). Opoka is the local term for the marl mineral soil of the area. These wines are the product of a strict selection based on a survey of the vineyards Marjan undertook involving deep core samples for soil analysis. Sauvignon Blanc Opoka ferments with 4 days skin contact in 4hl oak followed by 23 months in 2,5hl cask. Vines average age is 47 years. The Ribolla Opoka is from 65 year old vines, fermented on the skins for 16 days in 1hl concrete eggs where it ages for 1 year before 10 months in 500l barrel. From 50 year old vines the Chardonnay Opoka ferments (4 days maceration) and ages (23 months) in 2,5hl oak. Merlot Opoka is from vines of 55 years, fermented with 30% stems in stainless steel. Ages in barrique for 48 months (30% new). The Pinot Noir Opoka is from the Breg Cru. Fermentation in large oak with aging for 27 months in barriques (30% new). The Leonardo Ribolla Passito is a true work of devotion. Fruit from 60 year old vines dried for 6 months before a slow pressing yielding very little juice. Fermentation is in barrique and a small portion in small wooden eggs. Aged in barrique for 4 years. Only 1000 ½ bts are produced.