Boris Lisjak Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Kras, Primorska, Slovenia
Mention Slovenia’s Kras/karst region, and the first red to pop into mind is Refošk or Refosco, the dark red that’s dominated the sparse, rocky landscape for more than 100 years. Indeed, none of Slovenia’s districts are so dominated by one varietal, perhaps to a fault, since many others do very well in the district’s unique Terra Rossa, or red soil – ‘jerina’ to the locals. Like this Cabernet Sauvignon by Boris Lisjak, a local pioneer who’s been bottling his own wines since the 1970s, one of Slovenia’s –at the time part of Yugoslavia– first private producers.
The Lisjak wine-producing tradition goes back to 1836; today’s is the seventh generation working the Karst’s notoriously difficult terrain. While Refošk is their bread and butter varietal, the Lisjak family has consistently done well with other reds, especially their Cabernet Sauvignon.
Lisjak macerates his Cabernet Sauvignon from three weeks to a month, then ages it for upwards of six years prior to release –two years in new oak barrels, two years in once-used barrels and at least one more in bottle. The 2010 is the current release; given that much age it’s surprisingly fresh and youthful, with lively cherry-berry on the nose and palate, held together nicely with ripe but firm tannins. At €14-15 (locally), it’s a solid value and a low-risk investment if you’re looking for a bottle (or two) to lay down. It will continue to evolve for at least a couple more years. Given its age, it’ll appreciate a bit of air.
It’s easy to spot, too. Since 1991, Lisjak has used unique fish-shaped bottles designed by noted Slovenian designer Oskar Kogoj which are engraved with the inscription, ‘Osti jarej’, ‘Stay young’ in a local dialect. They don’t stack well, but they do look good.
I appreciate and applaud the patience with the release; it’s a route more wineries should take whenever they can. I say that knowing that not every winemaker has the financial luxury of sitting on a wine for six years before shipping it to market.
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon by Boris Lisjak from #Slovenia‘s #Karst, his current release. Intense ruby, great lively cherry-berry fruit on the palate, ripe but firm tannins. Delicious now, but has solid aging potential. A good bargain at €14 (locally). pic.twitter.com/bzlEVDSoGT