Friday, July 3, 2009

2005 Vodopivec Vitovska Classica

In my earlier post about the The Spirited Gourmet/Bistro 5 wine dinner, I mentioned the 2005 Vodopivec Vitovska Classica, which I felt was unique enough to deserve it own post. I had never had the rare grape Vitovska before so was intrigued to taste the wine.

Some of the major grape encyclopedias and guides fail to even mention Vitovska. It exists in Italy and Slovenia. But in Italy, it is only found in the Friuli region and primarily in the Carso region. Its name is likely of Slovenian origin and it is sometimes known as Vitovska Garganija. This hardy vine has small, greenish-gold berries. The grape may be a cross between Prosecco Tondo and Malvasia Bianca Lunga.

The Vodopivec winery is located in the Carso mountain range and is owned and operated by two brothers, Paolo and Valter Vodopivec. "Vodopivec" is a Slovenian word that means "water drinker." The brothers began making wine in 1997 and they practice biodynamic agriculture. They have about ten acres and only grow Vitovska on that land, with very low yields. They produce only two wines, the Classica and the Solo MM4, grapes taken from a single parcel.

The 2005 Vodopivec Vitovska Classica ($64.99) was aged for about 20 months in an amphora made of Georgian clay, like the famous wines of Gravner. It does not look like your typical white wine, having a deep amber, almost orange, color. This is a wine that would benefit from letting it sit and breathe for a time. Its aroma and taste both open up much more over time. On the nose, there was apricot and a touch of honey, and you actually felt like the wine would end up being sweet. Yet this is a bone dry wine. On your palate, you will get some apricot, orange, honey, vanilla, a little spice and even floral notes. Lots of complexity, good acidity and a lengthy, pleasing finish.

This was a fascinating wine, so unlike many other white wines. This is an excellent example of minimal manipulation, of the wine being made in the vineyard not the winery. I bought a couple bottles of this wine and expect I will find even more within it when I really have time to savor it, and can refill my glass a few times. This is a real wine-lover's wine and I highly recommend it.