Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tasting the Slovenian wines of Ivan Batič

Last month, I was invited by Frank Dietrich of the Blue Danube Wine Company to a special tasting of Ivan Batič's wines at the newly opened restaurant Hibiscus in Oakland. Ivan Batič and his son Miha were present to talk about their wines and winemaking philosophy while we were sampling the restaurant's delicious Caribbean specialties.

The Batič winery is a 18 hectare estate located in the Vipava Valley, a narrow valley in the western part of Slovenia connecting the Friuli lowlands to central Slovenia. The valley is renowned for its quality wines, mostly white, as it enjoys a submediterranean to continental climate with dry and warm winds coming from the Adriatic sea. The valley grows a mix of indigenous, Italian, and international grapes.

For Ivan and Miha Batič, the best wines are made in the vineyard, not in the cellar. They pay the greatest attention to vineyard management and employ the same viticulture methods that were used hundred years ago. The vineyard is farmed organically, although it is not certified as such. Grapes are harvested manually and selectively, fermentation occurs with native yeasts, and wine is aged in Slovenian oak barrels, some of them older than one hundred years old.

White wine accounts for nearly three-quarters of the production. White grape varieties include the native Pinela, Zelen, Vitovska, and Rebula (known as Ribolla Gialla in the nearby Friuli) as well as Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Red grape varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.

Opening the Batič wines

Ivan Batič

Miha Batič (left)

Here are my notes:

• 2004 Batic Pinela: golden color, flowery nose with notes of pineapple, luscious and thick on the palate, rich aftertaste.

• 2005 Batic Sauvignon Blanc Reserve: deep color, mineral nose, notes of citrus, some fullness on the palate and crisp acidity on the finish.

• 2007 Batic Zaria: an amazing field blend of Pinela, Rebula, and Zelen. Orange color, mineral and herbal notes on the nose, dry, nutty on the palate, slightly oxidized character that reminded me of some of the white wines from the Jura.

• 2005 Batic Rosso: a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc made only in the best years. Deep red color, forward nose with red berry aromas, full-bodied on the palate, tasty and well-balanced with some good acidity on the finish.

“You can open a bottle of Rosso Batič at any time, all you need is good company and time, as the wine keeps developing and growing in the glass,” recommends the winery website, “Should you choose to open a Rosso in the time of the old moon, a most special taste will evolve – the Rosso Batič taste.”

Related posts:
•  The wines of Slovenia
•  Wines of Germany and Eastern Europe class: Croatia, Slovenia and Romania

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1 comment:

Hampers said...

I have never tasted Slovenian wines. Would love to try it. I like the wine from France,their varieties, history and regions; Bordeaux, Champagne, Alsace and more.