Well, it was an opportunity too good to miss. The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Danilo Turk, was among the attendees at the Salon Jeruzalem 2012. He was doing a walkabout and chatting/tasting with each of the Producers presenting their wines. Miro cheekily decided that it would be a good opportunity to give our "marbles" Modra Frankinja (Blaufrankish) its very first public outing.
Notwithstanding that it was mildly oxidative, a little weird and definitely unusual in a room full of white wines......
But he seemed to like it.... and most importantly, came to no harm...!
Slovenia….. back in Slovenia and so much to catch up on….
I have a love/hate relationship with this Blog: I really enjoy the writing (and thinking) when I get a chance, but when it gets abandoned for a few weeks as you run around doing other things, it starts to climb inside your head and slowly destroy you… “it’s been 2 weeks since your last Blog, it’s been 4 weeks since your last Blog…” I envy the people who are able to manage their writing like their bodily functions – I have yet to master that discipline.
That doesn’t mean though that all the news, information and opinion just dissipates into the ether – it just gets clogged up inside the brain and will no doubt come tumbling out over the next few weeks in a cacophony of Blogs - can writing make a noise? If a keystroke is made and no one hears it, does it exist…!
Anyway, first up – and some 6 weeks ago - was the 10th Salon Jeruzalem. This is an annual tasting in the picturesque village of Jeruzalem high up in the hills in Eastern Slovenia (now referred to as Stajerska Slovenia for winemaking purposes). This one ticks all the boxes – amazing location, good wines, well organised – and a great concert on a balmy evening to get the whole thing going….
The main tasting takes place on the Saturday when the local winemakers show off their wines. I have been at the last five (I think) and it has been interesting to note the changes. First off, there seemed to be many more “international” visitors this year – lots of spoken English overheard – (incl. NZ and Australia!) and also a good smattering of German and Austrians from just across the border.
The other gradual change has been the change in winemaking styles. It’s clear there has been a major move away from white wines with some residual sugar (although there are still some) to wines that trade on their “freshness” and pure, crisp fruit – and there were some outstanding examples of these. But in my opinion, the styles on offer also need to evolve to include some wines that are a little more “interesting” – that’s not a disingenuous comment about the "fresh" wines at all (they are essential for the region), but there is room for a slightly more gastronomic style – wines with layers of flavour, quirky personality, complexity – and memorable. They are definitely emerging. Winemaker Miro Munda (Miro Vino), for example, took the unusual choice of not showing any examples of his current vintage “fresh” wines, choosing instead to showcase older vintages of his “XL” range – a single wine (normally a blend) produced each year that he believes encapsulates this more “gastronomic” style.
Verus (Verus) were also there, and their wines were another highlight. They are closer to the “fresh” style, but each wine emphasises fruit quality, variety and complexity without being sacrificed to the “cool, crisp, wet” style that some of other wines exhibited. Samo and Lela Kolaric also had a great set of wines – I think their 2011’s are their best to date, with the Sauvignon Blanc in particular outstanding.
All in all, a great event – and one that is well worth a visit to see what is on offer here.