The short answer: a white local, or autochthonous wine grape, grown almost exclusively in Slovenia’s Vipava Valley, and probably the sparsest of the local varieties. Long considered as an inferior grape, it was rarely seen bottled as a varietal until a couple decades ago when a small group of winemakers began reconsidering its possibilities.
I was actually introduced to Klarnica as an orange wine produced by Mansus, a delicious glass of concentrated honey and pear notes wrapped in a light amber package. It was luscious. Here’s to forward thinkers.
More generally, Klarnica wine is dry, greenish-yellow in colour with strong floral notes, especially acacia, on the bouquet. It can be nutty and honeyed on the palate, light to medium-bodied with higher levels of acidity.
It’s matured in both stainless steel and oak; some of the latter I’ve seen are even made with aging of up to a decade in mind.
Besides the orange-style bottlings, the occasional late harvest version can also be found. It’s also commonly used for blending, for both still and sparking wines.
The name? As local lore goes, it’s named for Klara, a young woman of extraordinary beauty who lived in the village of Dornberk in a home surrounded by a thick wall of Klarnca grapevines that kept her countless suitors and stalkers at bay. I’d like to think that wines the keepers of those vines produced were more orange than white.
Locals might also refer to it as klarnca, mejina, or klarna meja.