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Tasting Notes: Štoka Vitovska Grganja 2015

For those of you who need a refresher (or are just eager to learn!), in Slovenian č, š and ž are pronounced “ch”, “sh”, and “zh”. ‘J’ is soft, as in the ‘y’ in you. So Štoka is pronounced SHtoh-Kah. (As for the tongue-twisting ‘lj’: 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.)
Štoka Vitovska Grganja 2015
Kras district, Primorska, Slovenia

Kras wine district
Kras wine district

Nestled in the village of Krajna Vas in the Kras (Karst) district, Štoka’s wine-growing tradition dates back nearly 200 years. The family-run winery has about 25 hectares of vineyards located near the western edge of the Kras plateau; of those 32,000 vines, about 70 percent is the Kras staple Refošk (Refosco) which is turned into the district’s fabled Teran. Another 15 percent is Cabernet Sauvignon, five percent Merlot and about five percent Chardonnay. The remaining five percent is divided between Malvazija (Malvasia), Sauvignonasse and Vitovska Grganja. It’s the latter, a relatively rare grape indigenous to Slovenia’s Vipava and Kras districts, that we’re focusing on here.

How rare? In Kras, only about 32 hectares (80 acres) of Vitovska Grganja are grown –that number’s been on the rise in recent years– with Štoka one of the largest family estate producers of the grape in the district.

In the right hands, Vitovska Grganja can reach formidable levels of sublime elegance. But it requires a little extra work in the vineyards; the vines produce large clusters which need to be cut back to keep yield low and grape quality high.

Štoka Vitovska Grganja 2015
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Winemaker Tadej Štoka doesn’t mind that extra effort; the grape is after all an important part of the Kras viticulture tradition, he says, one he, in concert with a local association, is attempting to introduce to wider audiences.

There’s plenty of that elegance in this bottle. Light honey in color, it exudes distinct buttery vanilla aromas, along with ample citrus notes. It’s light to medium in body, with a slightly creamy texture and a pleasant mineral earthiness. If you cross paths with it, don’t pass it up. You’ll instantly gain entry into an exclusive club.

Macerated for five to six days, it was then aged for one year in old oak prior to bottling. About 8,000 bottles of the 2015 Štoka Vitovska Grganja were produced.

€12 retail; you’ll find it at €3.25/glass in Ljubljana.
Tasted November 2017

Vina Štoka
Krajna vas 1d, 6221 Dutovlje
www.stoka.si

 

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