The wine of the month, 2020, part 1 of 4
December 2020: Steyer, Steyer Mark, Diseci Traminec, Exclusive, 2015 (50 EUR when purchasing in the winery) white dry wine, Radgona-Kapela, Stajerska, Podravje, Slovenia, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) (07-12-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
The Steyer winery does not cease to amaze. Of the year's 10 best wines, two come from it; Steyer Vaneja 2011 that placed in the third place and this wine that placed in the seventh place. With this wine, better to say with the new vintage of this wine (formerly called Steyer Diseci Traminec Exclusive), the Steyer winery proves that it produces one of the best dry Gewurztraminer (Diseci Traminec in Slovenian) in the world. Last but not least. Extremely few of the world's wine producers who make wine from Gewurztraminer-grape succeed produce so dry, but at the same time so flavourful and complex wine as the Steyer winery. Steyer Steyer Mark Diseci Traminec Exclusive 2015 is a big, complex and fresh wine that has a brilliant balance between its sweetness and acidity. The aroma is characterized by sweet spices such as vanilla and cardamom, white flowers, yellow pears, yellow apples and honeydew melon. The flavour is characterized by lime, yellow apples, yellow ripe quince, sweet spices and white pepper. The wine will go really well both as an aperitif- or company wine or with stir-fried curry chicken with bamboo shoots, red peppers, yellow onions, broccoli and coconut milk, and boiled jasmine rice or with oven-roasted corn chicken filled with smoked bacon with grilled red peppers and baked Hasselback potatoes or with grilled salmon fillets (if it is possible of non-farmed salmon) or Arctic char fillets with white wine sauce and boiled dill potatoes. If you want to drink the wine as an aperitif- or company wine, drink it at about 3°C from large Burgundy glasses from Orrefors, Riedel or Spiegelau. If you want to drink the wine with the food, drink it at about 8°C from the same type of glass as mentioned above. The wine's soil consists of clay, vines are between 20 and 25 years old and grapes come from two vineyards, both of which are located at an altitude of about 280 meters above sea level in the Radgona-Kapela appellation. The grapes are hand-harvested and carefully selected in both the vineyards and on arrival at the winery. After the destemming and crushing process, the grape must, which consists of pulp, skins and seeds, goes in one or several press machine/s where it is cold macerated for about 36 hours under a temperature around 10°C. When the pressing is complete, the must is poured in stainless steel tanks where it is fermented under a controlled temperature between 15 and 20 degrees. After the fermentation, the wine is aged in both acacia barrels 50% and oak barrels 50% for 24 months. After the aging, the wine is easily filtered, bottled and then aged for a few more weeks before being released on the market. Only about 600 bottles are made of this wonderful wine and only when the weather conditions are perfect. Steyer Steyer Mark Diseci Traminec Exclusive 2015 will develop for at least another 15 years i.e., until at least 2035.
November 2020: Edi Simcic, Kozana, Chardonnay, 2017 (35 EUR when purchasing in the winery) white dry wine, Goriska Brda, Primorje, Slovenia, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (85 points of 100 points) (07-11-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
This vintage of Kozana Chardonnay from the Simcic family (Alex and Edi), which comes 100% from the Kozana vineyard, is not as good as the 2015 vintage that got 4,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP, but regardless it the wine belongs to one of the best Chardonnay-wines from vintage 2017 that NJ Wines tasted in 2020. For the aroma itself, the wine gets 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP. What makes that the wine gets "only" 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP is that it lacks a little better concentration and fruitiness. Everything else is there. The aroma is big, complex, concentrated and aromatic. It is filled with sweet spices, where vanilla stands out clearly, sweet exotic fruits, citrus fruits, yellow pears, yellow apples and freshly baked brioche. The flavour is fresh, mineral and complex. It is filled with citrus fruits, minerals, green apples, green pears, sweet spices and exotic fruits. The wine has a really good acidity that in combination with a good concentration and fruitiness do that the wine will develop for up to 5 years until i.e. until to the year 2025. But it will be enjoyable for at least another 10 years i.e. until the year 2030. With some better concentration and fruitiness, the wine would have an aging potential of at least 10 years. Edi Simcic Kozana Chardonnay 2017 will go really well as an aperitif wine before the meal or with sliced cold smoked salmon with creamy potato salad (boiled potato, crème fraiche, mayonnaise and a little capers) or with hot smoked mackerel with fresh potato salad (boiled fresh potato, cherries tomatoes, chives, olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard) or with seafood salad (lobsters or shrimps or both, crème fraiche, mayonnaise, a little horseradish and cherry tomatoes) or with woked red curry chicken (a little olive oil, small pieces of chicken, yellow onion, bamboo shoots, red peppers, zucchini, red curry and coconut milk). The grapes for the wine are hand harvested. Vines are 23 years old. The soil on which the vines grow consists of various forms of weathered flysch (called local opoka), which consists of thin and cyclically repeated sedimentary layers of limestone, mudstone and sandstone, and marl (clayey soil that contains plenty of calcium carbonate). The soil such as this is mineral rich, and has very good drainage properties that means that the vines have to go very deep to find water. A combination of all of the above mentioned factors does that Edi Simcic Kozana 2015 has a clear mineral flavour. The wine is first macerated for about 2 hours in press and then fermented in 70% used and 30% new 225 litre oak barrels (barriques) from France under a temperature between 22 and 24 degrees for about 25 days. After the fermentation, the wine is aged in the same oak barrels as it had been fermented for about 10 months. After the aging, the wine is bottled and aged for about 12 more months. It should be drunk at about 8°C from large Burgundy glasses, if possible, from Orrefors, Spiegelau or Riedel.
October 2020: Steyer, Vaneja, 2011 (65 EUR ex-cellar price; 375 ml) white sweet wine, Radgona-Kapela, Podravje, Slovenia, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) (07-10-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)
The world's best Gewurztraminer-wines should come from their place of birth and their kingdom, i.e. from Alsace in France, but winery Steyer proves through this wine, and through their Gewurztraminer-ice wines and dry Gewurztraminer-wines, that this is not the case. In 2006, I, the first time, tasted a Gewurztraminer-wine made from dried grapes directly from a 30 litres big oak barrel together with the wine's winemaker Danilo Steyer. Before that, I thought it was impossible to produce a Gewurztraminer-wine made from dried grapes that have a good acidity better to say have a good balance between sweetness and acidity due to that Gewurztraminer-grape is not characterized by any good acidity. Better to say it is very difficult to get Gewurztraminer-grape ripe and at the same time keep its acidity. Not to mention that when the grapes are dried, the sugar content becomes even higher and a balance between sweetness and acidity becomes even more difficult to achieve. But it seems for Danilo there is absolutely no problem to do it. With all the facts I have right now, I claim that the Steyer winery produces the best sweet Gewurztraminer-wines in the whole of Ex-Yugoslavia (nowadays; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia) and probably in the whole world. I have tasted Steyer Vaneja 2011 three times and it does not cease to amaze me with its complexity, aroma and flavor richness and very long aftertaste. Very clear aroma of white flowers, honey, dried fruits, orange peel and sweet spices. Very sweet, concentrated and fresh flavour with clear taste of honey, citrus fruits, dried fruits, rose water and sweet spices. Brilliant balance between sweetness and acidity. Enormous development potential, at least 20 years i.e. until at least the year 2040. Note that it is already 9 years old. Steyer Vaneja 2011 should be enjoyed with grilled goose liver, which is the best combination with the wine, or with fruit salad consisting of orange, white grapes, mango, kiwi and a little of this wine or with tasty moldy cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton or without any food at all, just enjoy its enormous complexity and aroma and flavor richness. It should be drank at 8°C from Riedel Vinum Extreme Rose/Ice wine or Orrefors Difference Sweet or Orrefors Elixir. The soil of the wine consists of sandy clay, vines are 22 years old and grapes come from vineyards located at an altitude of about 280 meters above sea level in the appellation Radgona-Kapela. The harvest takes place at the end of September by cutting off parts of the vines that have the best wine clusters. The parts are then hung under the roof where they dry for a three-month long period. After drying, the grapes are hand-picked and carefully selected. Then they are pressed very slowly and very gently over a three-day long period. The highly concentrated must is then fermented in old oak barrels from France, which hold 200 to 300 litres, over a three-month long period and a controlled temperature of 12 and 15°C. The aging takes place in the same oak barrels as the fermentation has been done for a period of thirty-six-months and then for another twelve months in a bottle. Only 1,000 0,375 litres bottles were produced from this vintage.