Eight Goriška Brda Reds – October 2016

More from notes collected at two recent events: the TopVino International Wine Festival on October 17 and Vino Ljubljana on October 21.

Pronunciation guide: in Slovenian č, š and ž are pronounced “ch”, “sh”, and “zh”. ‘J’ is soft, as in the ‘y’ in you. So Goriška is pronounced GoReshKa. (We’ll skip discussion of the tongue-twisting ‘lj’ for now; whenever you see those two letters together in that order as in the capital city’s name Ljubljana, it’s easier to just pretend that the ‘j’ isn’t there.)

To recap, or if the area is new to you: in general terms, Goriška Brda, Slovenia’s westernmost area that borders Italy’s Collio, has been home to most of the country’s finest, international style reds. It’s also attracted the most international attention, which has meant an uptick in prices, sometimes deservedly, oftentimes not.

That said, in no particular order…

Dolfo Gredič Red 2009
Goriska Brda, Primorska

Dolfo is from the village of Ceglo, which nearly straddles the border with Italy. The property actually does; the family has vineyards on both sides of the political line.

A Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend that spent four years in oak barrels prior to bottling and release. Jammy notes, prunes. Tannins holding well could still lighten up a bit. I’d like to try in again in two years. €19

Klet Brda Merlot Bagueri 2012
Goriska Brda, Primorska

I’ve been tasting this wine regularly since the mid-1990s, and it’s stayed fairly consistent quality-wise at its price point. Klet Brda, a cooperative, is the largest wine producer in Slovenia; Bagueri is at the higher (but not the highest) end.

Velvety red, plum jam, chocolate notes. Ripe berries on the palate; a little light in body but will do well for another three or four years, but ok now. For €13, that’s pretty good (and tasty) performance. 24 months in oak.

Dobuje Merlot 2013
Goriska Brda, Primorska

Red berry on the nose, cherry and plum on the palate, along with some earthy notes. (Was that bay leaf?) Chocolaty on the finish, tannins on the lighter side. Drink now. 13%. €8.50.

Dobuje Črno (Red) 2011
Goriska Brda, Primorska

A Merlot (85%)-Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) blend that often work well in this area. So does this one. Plenty of ripe berries, some spice –pepper mostly. Softening tannins, drink now through 2020. €18. 13.5%.

Ščurek Stara Brajda Red 2012
Goriska Brda, Primorska

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Refošk in roughly equal parts. The 2012 vintage spent about 30 months in new and old oak. An attractive deepish violet, ripe berries, some spice. Leafy. Complex, elegant with plenty of backbone. This will drink well for another decade. €23

Peršolja Merlot Barrique 2006
Goriska Brda, Primorska

Oaky, prunes. Balance is starting fade, less fruity on the finish. Still has a bit of time but best to drink now. 3000 bottles. €15.

Peršolja Pinot Noir 2008
Goriska Brda, Primorska

Medium bodied, nice up front fruit. Made from vines that are 15-18 years old. Nice length, mild tannin. 1500 bottles. If you can find it, buy it for an affordable example of a local Pinot Noir with some age. But drink it soon. €15.

Peršolja Cabernet Franc 2006
Goriska Brda, Primorska

Still some solid tannins but well balanced. Cherry, plumy, light oak notes. Drinking nicely but still has time. My favorite of the three. I took a bottle home. 10,000 bottles €15.

Tasted in October 2016
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