Our family wine estate is located near the small town of Metlika in Bela Krajina (White Carniola), South-Eastern Slovenia, in the smallest wine region of Slovenia, with 608 ha of vineyard among which 122 ha are planted with Blaufränkisch. Bela Krajina is nested on the foot of Dinaric Alps and along river Kolpa marking the border with Croatia. The region is like an amphitheatre opened to the south where vineyards are standing on the slopes of Gorjanci mountains contemplating further South to flatter land of fields, forests and rivers. The landscape is typical Karstic recognizable by white birches and fern fields on the flatland, whereas hill slopes are nested with vineyards and small cellars (zidanica) that are typical for this part of Slovenia. The spectacle never stops from dawn to dusk, changing as much as the light plays with the picturesque hilly landscape. Peaceful and witching at the same time, Bela Krajina is a real gift from mother nature.
If we would be assessing the quality of our terroir only based on esoteric criteria related to the beauty of the surrounding landscape, no doubt that our vineyards would fit into the category of world-class terroir. However, we also strongly believe in science and on that criteria too our terroir is remarkable. Bela Krajina climate can be classified as sub-Pannonian with sub-Mediterranean influences. While winters are generally cold and snowy, summers are characterized by warm days and cool nights. This important thermal amplitude (up to 20° C) is a characteristic common to numerous top terroirs around the world that allows grapes to reach optimal maturity while keeping freshness. The total yearly precipitation is around 1000-1100 mm. As our vineyards are vertically planted on steep marly slopes containing different proportion of clay and limestone, the water availability to the vine is naturally well regulated.
KING OF OUR GARDENS
We are taking care of our vineyards like we do of our gardens, prohibiting herbicide and chemical fertilizer and using a sensible approach from an environmental perspective to protect our vines against disease. Contrary to the general trend in Slovenia, our vineyards are mainly planted with red varieties (70%) out of which Blaufränkisch represents 90%. For the white varieties we are still pretty diverse with Sauvignon blanc, Welshriesling, Riesling and Kerner. Blaufränkisch is a variety from Central Europe (likely from Slovenia according to a recent German study) that shows all the characteristics of great varieties. It can be made as modern fresh and fruity varietal wine as well as great refine terroir wine with long ageing potential. It is surprisingly versatile, like a sponge of terroir, what brought some wine experts to name it Pinot Noir of Eastern Europe. This king of central Europe fits perfectly to Bela Krajina where it shows so much personality.