About Me

My photo
Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Slovenian rhapsody

On Tuesday 5th February a tasting of Slovenian wines was hosted in Dublin by Liam and Sinead Cabot, and a very good tasting it was too. This is not the first time that such a tasting has been held here but it is a brave step for a small importer to take and I commend Liam and Sinead for doing this, especially in these tough times. Most of the wines shown would retail around €15 so these are in the top 5% or less of all retail wine sales in Ireland! However, for those adventurous souls willing to experiment there are great rewards ahead.
Some 23 wineries presented wines, so about 100+ wines to try, and a number also had a representative present. Slovenia is not that well known and the emphasis is on white wines, with furmint (or sipon as it is known locally) being one of the big stars. However, pinot gris, aka sivi, and riesling were well represented, as well as rebula (local name for ribolla gialla) and the seemingly weed-like sauvignon blanc! It grows everywhere.
Reds were fewer and farther between but merlot, cabernet sauvignon and refosc (refosco) all appeared, as did a little pinot noir.
I didn't get to taste all the wines but tasted about 58 so a reasonable sample size for fair comment. All in all, the whites tend to a mineral style, with riesling being quite lean aromatically: I doubt I would easily identify it blind. Sivi was an eye-opener - I like pinot gris generally and the wines shown had class and elegance. The furmint wines lacked the screaming acidity you get in Hungary and were mineral in style, but overall good and well balanced. The few chardonnays were a bit oaky but that's fine by me, I like the style.
The reds were a bit more variable - merlots and cabernets tended to the lean, cool climate style but the pinots noir were not as good as I would have liked, especially disappointing as the pinots gris fared very well.
Only two wineries are currently represented in Ireland - Miro and Verus both on sale through Cabot & Co and On the Grapevine respectively. For me, these two wiberies were among the stars of the show, with Miro perhaps edging it due to the wonderful range of mature whites. Their XL is a blend, differing each vintage, and they had 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011 on show. The 2006 was yummy and a blend of pinot blanc and chardonnay and costs €19.99. The Verus pinot gris 2012 was also a stunner and well worth it's €19.99 price tag.
Among the wineries I have tasted before were Dveri pax who had some quite affordable wines. Their 2011 riesling was almost Franken in style - firm, earthy and minerally - and would retail somewhere in the €15 to €17 price range. Their "M" riesling, a single vineyard offering, probably a €28 bottle, had a marvellous flavour of over-ripe apples and was really good.
Another winery I knew before was Marjan Simcic, who makes some astonishingly good wines. His ribolla 2011 was the best ribolla I tasted on the day and his Teodor red (about 435?) was a superb red wine and easily one of the best reds I've tried in a long time. His namesake, Edi Simcic, also ghas some super wines, especially the Triton lex 2008 chardonnay/ribolla/sauvignon blend. Santomas had three lovely reds on show.
Overall, a few comments - skin contact is popular and works quite well. Some whites were a little oxidative but, again, were fine. The reds weere mixed and there needs to be some work on pinot noir as the wines just do not match the price point, especially in markets where there are good Burgundy merchants, or merchants who source the better pinots from the New World. Pinot gris is a definite winner as are the local sipon, ribolla and refosco grapes.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I agree it was nice afternoon and would like to thank again to hosts Liam and Sinead from Cabotandco (www.cabotandco.com) for organizing such an event. Slovenia is not that well known in Ireland, not only as a wine producing country, but as country itself. Most of people expecting cheap, low-quality wines even though only around 30% of them are table wines category and 70% category of quality or premium.
Reds were fewer as Slovenia only produces 25% of reds and most of them in Primorska region. Would agree with Pinot Noir – the only affordable option was Princic from Brda, but quality wasn’t so bad – cherries and strawberries, barnyard - a bit lighter version though.
There are more wineries represented in Ireland, as I have recently started importing and distributing wines from Slovenia and got information there are others as well. When it comes to Rieslings, there were at least ten different to try, my favourite was Kogl, but also Dveri-Pax and Joannes Protner were very good, the last one best value for quality. Loved refosco myself (My favourite at the event Santomas and Rojac), but apparently very hard grape to sell, according to the wine merchants.
Ales Jevtic www.slovine.eu