Goriška Brda district, Primorska, Slovenia
An annual blend of Merlot (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and Cabernet Franc (10%), Simčič Duet is a predictably solid wine with each release, for several years now the go-to wine I recommend to visitors whenever it’s on a by-the-glass list, one to help break the ice and introduce them to Goriška Brda reds. This one continues the trend.
Located in the village of Vipolže just 500m from the Italian border, Aleks Simčič –the winemaker; he named the winery after his father– manages 7.5 hectares (18.5 acres) and produces about 30,000 bottles annually. He’s made waves internationally for some of his high end (and quite rare) red barrel selection blends which are among the most expensive dry wines in the country. Duet is their entry level offering, accessible for most budgets.
This was served from a freshly uncorked bottle, but opened up quickly, unleashing a pleasant, if deliberate, parade of red cherry and blackberry aromas. There’s some spice on the palate but mainly more berries, strawberry in particular. I noted a slightly tart berry on the medium-long finish.
The balance is there and it’s drinking well now, but the tannins are still a little on the firm side, so you can lay it down for at least three or four years with a clear conscience.
The process: Macerated for 14 days with the skins then aged for 30 months in French oak barrels, 20 percent of those new. Then it’s three more months in larger 2,000-3,000-liter barrels before bottling.
Total production: 9,500 750ml bottles, 300 magnums
€21 retail (750ml); you’ll find it in Ljubljana at €5/glass.
And yes, those are vineyard gnomes.
Edi Simčič Estate
Vipolže 39a, 5212 Dobrovo
Tasted November 2017