Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their July 2019 article on Slovenia and Croatia (see blue link below).
Primoz Lavrenčič is a life long student of classical philosophy and applies it to his winemaking artistry. Primoz believes, that wines from different places, different cellars, different winemakers, all contain their own idea, or essence. Wines should be bottled as their own individual expression, sui generis. They are bottled as their own expression. Primoz find that wines that yield to the terroir are the freest in their individual expression. The wines he crafts are meant to act as a sort of proof for this thesis. He recognizes that the experience of a wine depends on the knowledge, culture and past experience of the drinker, thus it’s a fact that the same wine can generate different, even contradictory experiences.
The Lavrenčič family moved to Vipava in 1499, and like most who settled there, they took advantage of the favourable soils and climate and made wine.
Malvazija 30%, Welschriesling 30%, Rebula 30 %, other varieties 10%.
FERMENTATION TANKS: stainless steel.
MACERATION: 7 Days.
MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION: yes.
AGED IN: concrete eggs 30%, oak barrels 70%.
AGED FOR:10 months.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 12.5% vol.
TOTAL PRODUCTION:12,000 bottles.
ALTITUDE: 220-300 m.
VINES - YEAR PLANTED:1953 – 2005.
VINE DENSITY: 7,000 vines/hectare.
YIELD: 1 kg per vine.
Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their July 2019 Expert's Choice article/tasting on/of Slovenia and Croatia (see blue link below).
Gašper is located in Goriška Brda, which makes up the two thirds of Collio stretching into Slovenia from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in north-eastern Italy. Goriška Brda has a climate ideally suited to viticulture, with its proximity to both the Adriatic Sea and the Alps providing dry, warm summers with cooling breezes during the crucial ripening period. The Gašper wine estate is a joint venture between a local cooperative and the Čarman family, who have been in the wine and hospitality business for over 50 years. At the helm of the cellar is Darinko Ribolica, a respected oenologist from Goriška Brda. He uses Slovenia’s local varieties, deeply rooted in Germanic, Slavic and Roman cultural influences, to create wines in a modern, fresh style.
The Gašper vineyards are between 10 and 25 years old, and characterised by ‘opoka’ marl soil and excellent sun exposure on terraced, hillside rows. There is also the benefit of altitude, ranging from 80-200 metres above sea level, which helps the grapes retain acidity and aromatics. Vines are single Guyot trained and planted at a density of 4,000 to 5,000 per hectare. All picking is done by cooperative partners, family members and friends, which allows for a careful selection of fruit that enhances the quality of the final wine.
Fruit was pressed in a pneumatic press and then fermented and matured in stainless steel containers. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place to preserve the freshness and fruit character of the grapes.
100% Malvasia Istriana.
The Malvazija is the same grape variety as Malvasia Istriana, native to the Croatian and Slovenian coastal areas that used to belong to Italy. The wine has a golden colour with bright green flashes. Intense aromas of tropical fruit and ground almonds give way to floral notes of acacia. The palate is fruity and pleasantly soft, with distinct almond flavours that continue on the finish. This unique variety is known for being taut and zesty, but also slightly honeyed in character.
The 2017 vintage was awarded a Gold Medal and 96 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
Gasper is located in Goriška Brda, which makes up the two thirds of Collio stretching into Slovenia from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in north-eastern Italy. Goriška Brda has a climate ideally suited to viticulture, with its proximity to both the Adriatic Sea and the Alps providing dry, warm summers with cooling breezes during the crucial ripening period. The Gasper wine estate is a joint venture between a local cooperative and the Carman family, who have been in the wine and hospitality business for over 50 years. At the helm of the cellar is Darinko Ribolica, a respected oenologist from Goriška Brda. He uses Slovenia’s local varieties to create wines in a modern, fresh style.
The grapes for this wine are grown at altitudes ranging between 80-200 metres above sea level. The vineyards are terraced and face south-west, east and south. The climate here is sub-Mediterranean and experiences a mixture of warm sea air and the influence of cold winds from the Alps.
2018 was a wonderful vintage with no hail or frost experienced, resulting in a very successful harvest. A rainy spring led to an early summer and temperatures were warm and not excessively hot. Conditions at harvest time were ideal with warm, dry days and cool nights.
Fruit was pressed in a pneumatic press and then fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place to preserve the freshness and fruit character of the grapes.
The wine is straw yellow in colour with a subtle shade of pink. The nose is reminiscent of pear, grapefruit, pineapple and cinnamon. Well balanced, this medium-bodied Pinot Grigio has a lovely richness, with a silky finish and citrus aromas.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and won a silver medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017.
Grace Winery was established in 1923, in the Katsunuma province, the birthplace of the Japanese wine industry. Committed to the belief that great wine is made in the vineyard, they were the first to research and introduce European training and pruning methods introducing such as using long cordon training and Vertical Shoot Positioning in 1990. The wines are made in a modern way to retain the delicate characteristics of this individual and exciting grape variety.
Made from Japan's most important indigenous grape variety. The grapes for this wine are grown in distinctively volcanic soils with good drainage, providing excellent growing conditions for the Koshu grape. This vineyard has a cooler aspect, allowing the slow maturation of the grapes over a long growing season. Traditional trellis pruning has been cast aside in favour of a modern long cordon training system which helps to control yields; concentrating flavours and sugars to balance the high acidity that occurs naturally in this variety. The grapes were hand harvested at optimum maturity.
Fermentation took place in stainless steel to preserve the naturally occurring acidity and pure fruit flavours of the Koshu variety. The wine was matured in stainless steel tanks, where it spent three months on its fine lees adding richness and complexity.
Light and floral in style, the freshness and elegance of this wine is quite remarkable. Delicate flavours of Japanese pear, green apple and herbaceous notes of fennel and lemongrass are backed by a thirst-quenching acidity, delicious peppered spice nuances and a tangy finish. This is the perfect pairing for Japanese cuisine, but also pairs with Asian and Western cuisine which is inspired by fresh seafood, light meats and fresh vegetables. This wine has a linear Zen-like quality, which is all about balance.
Considered one of the top wineries in China, Kanaan is located at the foot of the Helan Mountains in Ningxia, which is about 1,000 km west of Beijing. Kanaan means ‘the land of milk and honey’, signifying the hope for Ningxia to be one of China’s leading regions for the production of fine wine. The winery was established in 2011 by Fang Wang, daughter of Wang Feng Yu, a pioneer of viticulture in Ningxia. Fang is nicknamed ‘Crazy Fang’ for her boldness to start a winery with no prior experience, and for embarking on the near impossible mission of growing Riesling in Ningxia.
Ningxia is known for having harsh winters that require individual vines to be buried manually in November before being dug up the following April.Temperatures can fall to -20°C and the annual rainfall is 200mm.
Kanaan has 16.8 hectares of vineyard, of which 1.3 hecatres are planted with Riesling. Due to the sandy soils, vines are planted on their own roots as there is no need for protection against phylloxera. The vines are trained in the upturned ‘L’ training system, where the cordon is kept close to the ground to facilitate vine burial. All vineyard work is done by hand as this training system is not suitable for mechanisation.
Winemaker Fang spent 12 years abroad, some of which were in Germany, where she acquired her love for Riesling. All of the grapes were hand picked. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks. To ensure maximum freshness, the wine was bottled approximately three months following fermentation.
This is a dry style Riesling with a surprisingly full body. The nose boasts aromas of juicy lemon flavors, grapefruit, green apple, lime blossom and white flowers. The flavours are consistent and concentrated on the palate, well-balanced with bright and zesty acidity and that classic, characteristic Riesling hint of petrol.
The 2015 vintage was Awarded 95 points and an Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their 2016 World Wine Awards Asian section(see blue link below).
Ethereal and elegant, similar to the Kayagatake but like the bigger brother – more depth on the nose, this has melon but also peach, minerality in there in spades from the complex granite soils found in the Hishiyama district. Again the remarkable freshness and elegance of the Koshu is present but with a linear, crisp, length with gorgeous mouth watering acidity and wonderful minerals and peaches on the finish - this leans towards a classy Albariño or Cru Chablis.
The 2015 vintage (not yet UK-available) was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2019 edition article The Joy of Clay on amphora-produced wines (see blue link below).
The Zorjan family continues the tradition of farming in this area. Their ancestors farmed without the use of modern methods and thus preserved the long-term vitality of the soil. They inherited 7 hectares from their parents in 1980. Initially, they continued the traditional farming methods, but weren’t convinced. To move forward, they started farming organically, and in 1995, decided to start making wine in amphorae. In 2014, they decided to adhere to biodynamic principles - "years of trial and error brought us to biodynamic farming, which is now our way of life.”
The Dolium is 100% (whole-cluster) Muscat Ottonel with the whole fruit going into the amphora (juice, skins and stems) for six months. The wine is then decanted off the grape marc/pomace and then remains in amphorae for another six months, until the next harvest, when it is transferred into wooden barrels for yet another 12 months. This is a sensational amber/orange wine, at once hedonistic yet with a powerful deep-rooted sense of place: a living wine that changes by the minute.
The aromatics of this quirky bottle are subtle and elderflower-like. Muscat’s thick skins provide substantial structure with an impression of ripeness and nuttiness. Lovely freshness and a bone-dry finish.