2016 Marjan Simčič, Pinot Noir “Opoka” Goriska Brda, Slovenia.
With vineyards that cross between the Collio region of Italy and the Brda zone of Slovenia, the Marjan Simčič winery has a slight identity crisis within the wine world, are they Italian or Slovenian and the answer doesn’t make it any easier, but the wines are beautiful and the quality and passion shine through in the glass, especially in this lovely and surprising Pinot Noir that shows incredible lightness, but with depth and length that rival some more prestigious regions. Marjan Simčič, mostly known for their skin contact whites that have a long tradition in the region of northeastern Italy, actually make some spectacular normal macerated wines, like this Pinot Noir and their Sauvignon Blanc, which was a huge hit at this years Slow Wine Tasting in San Francisco, plus a delicate and finessed version of Brda Ribolla. The Marjan Simčič Pinot Noir from their Opoka cru vineyard site shows warm ripe fruit, from a vintage that is credited with many fine offerings from all over Italy, floral perfume, light earthy and minerally tones, a dusting of spices, faint orange tea notes and cedary wood with layers of black cherry, tart plum, mulberry/currant and mini garden strawberry fruits that stand out on the medium bodied palate. There an exceptional textural quality here that belies the wines origins and reminds me of satiny Chambolle-Musigny wines, this stuff is pure ruby colored class and there’s a underpinning of fresh acidity that keeps everything in crisp form and allows the individual details to be excitingly revealed with each sip, this is a stunning effort and is not a wine that gets lost in a crowd.
I discovered the Marjan Simčič wines a few years ago at another Slow Wine tasting, and sadly they didn’t have an importer, so I wasn’t able to follow up on them, now imported, though limited in scope, I hope to keep a better track of these great wines, I certainly will be following his Pinot Noir a lot more closely, this is outstanding stuff. Marjan Simčič,’s favorite saying is that there is truth in wine. (meaning transparency and terroir that shows in his wines and his love of place.) He adds that his wine tells the story of the magical Brda region in Slovenia, where the family lives and is from, noting that he feels connected strongly to this land. He tries to tell that story (of year and place) in every glass of his wines, which this 2016 Pinot does well, it holds your attention and draws you in, my seduction was complete, I was vastly impressed as you might gather. This Pinot comes from an eastern facing plot at Opoka set on a special combination of soils including marl, slate and sandstone, which explains the intriguing flavors and Simčič fermented it with carefully select yeasts in large conical oak after a two week maceration before a gentle pressing to barrel where the wine rested 27 months, all French barrique with about 30% new oak used then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Now that Wine Warehouse imports Simčič, I plan to enjoy a lot more of these wines. This Pinot, from near the village of Ceglo, will be top of my repeat list and I can’t wait to match it with food, where I am sure it will turn out to be mind blowing!
($50-60 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive