2017 Marjan Simcic, Sauvignon Blanc, Opoka, Jordana Cru, ZGP Brda, Slovenia.
This beautiful and deeply flavored Sauvignon Blanc from Marjan Simcic, who’s vineyards straddle the border between Italy and Slovenia in the Collio and Brda regions, is one of the best examples of pure Sauvignon Blanc outside of the Loire Valley. Simcic’s wines are a stunning collection of exceptional quality that deserve your attention and I again was highly impressed by them at the last Slow Wine tasting, where the wines were big hits. These outstanding wines are the result of the estate’s hillside vineyards and many microclimates that are set on calcareous soils, known as Opoka, with this wine coming from the marl based soil in Brda, Slovenia. Bright and sunny in nature on the nose with citrus blossoms the Simcic Cru Sauvignon Blanc turns on the intensity and depth on the palate with sharp gooseberry, lemon/lime, peach and quince notes. The mouth feel is more dense than you’d expect and it adds a steely mineral tone as it opens along with grapefruit zest and racy herbs. The extended lees aging delivers texture and complexity that raises the eye brows and makes for an incredible wine that reaches almost Dagueneau levels of thrills! The subtle wood accents come through, but remain more background elements with a touch of brioche, which is nicely off set by its chalk stony character and this very structured Sauvignon Blanc looks like it will age 10 to 15 years easy. Marjan’s estate in the Collio and Goriška Brda both in what are called the Gorizia Hills area not far from Italy’s northeastern Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is in a remote area and produces wines that boldly showcase a sense of place.
The Simcic Sauvignon Blanc saw a short 4 day skin contact maceration in 5,000 Litre stainless steel tanks and was pressed using soft pressure with a gentle pneumatic press with fermentation coming spontaneously with natural yeasts, allowing its terroir to shine through and limit green phenolics. Once this golden hued wine finished getting dry it was racked off to Smicic’s large wood vats, with 15 months in 4,000 Litre conical oak barrels known locally as tino, and then a final 5 months in 500 Litre oak barrels or tono, before bottling, though in some vintages the lees aging can last up to three years with usually two or so o the years in the large format oak and then a year in stainless tank. This Marjan Simcic Opoka Jordana Cru Sauvignon Blanc is very serious stuff and it joins his fabulous Pinot Noir and Ribolla (Gialla) in his set of latest releases, which are world class offerings. This region, which was devastated during bloody WWI battles and then split up after WWII, has long and storied wine history and wines like Simcic’s bring light and joy to this area, helping lift the darkness and banish the ghosts of the 21st century. Still not easily available in the States, Marjan’s wine are well worth searching for. These wines are impeccably crafted and unique, I have raved about them many times here on the grapelive.com website and in my reviews, each time I try them I get the desire to visit this part of Italy and Slovenia and discover its mysteries. I can’t wait to travel again and seeing new wine regions like this one not far from the historic Adriatic city of Trieste. I believe that Simcic’s wine, when tasted blind, would stand up to some of the world’s best, in particular his Pinot Noir and this Sauvignon Blanc.
($42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive