Weekly Wine #6 – My uncle’s fantastic refošk

The Wine

As you might remember, I celebrated my 30th birthday a few weeks back and one of the presents my family brought me from my homeland were several of these wonderful bottles. 

This is a wine you can’t buy. It’s a wine, not listed on Vivino. And it’s not a wine you are likely to ever taste, unless you are on card-playing-wine-drinking-bantering-and-eating kind of friendly terms with my uncle or his associate. Or you are on wine drinking terms with me, until I still have some of the wine in my cellar. The reason for that is, this particular wine producing operation is rather small. They produce a few hundred liters of this dark colored liquid goodness they call Refošk z Baredov. It is pronounced refoshk and Baredi is the name of the area above a costal town of Izola in Slovenia. There my uncle and his associate Silvo own a small vineyard and an olive tree orchard. In the years since they own this operation, I was present twice for the harvest. But since I moved to Germany, that hasn’t been the case anymore. I do help in other ways though. This year I designed the label for the bottles (humble brag).

Wikipedia says

Refosco is a very old family of dark-skinned grapevarieties native to the Venetian zone and neighbouring areas of Friuli, Gavi, Trentino,[1]Istria, and Karst Plateau.[2] It is considered autochthonous in these regions. The name comes from the combination of the words rasp and fosco that in the venetian or Friuli languages mean respectively grape and dark.

The wines this grape yields can be quite powerful and tannic, with a deep violet color and a slight bitterness. On the palate, there are strong currant, wild berry and plum flavors. The wine can stand some aging (depending on variety), and after a period of four-to-ten years, it achieves a floral quality as well.

So as you can see, it only grows in the region around the Slovenian-Italian-Croatian coast. But don’t let that fool you. The wines produced from the same grape even just on the other side of a hill have a different name (teran) and taste different as well.

So, to stick to the theme of these Weekly Wine posts, I have made some notes regarding this wine. The thing that comes through when sniffing it has the undeniable smell of refošk. Hehe. I can’t really pinpoint what makes up this smell, but berries are quite prevalent after several sniffs. The smell itself brings back no specific memories, but the taste … The taste evokes flashbacks from family gatherings in the summer on the coast with my parents, aunt and uncle and their friends. Feasting on dried meat, fresh bread and chilled (!) refošk. I feel fortunate that I was able to share these moments with my wife as well, on our first and also latest trip to Slovenia. It tastes of happiness, of a summer breeze and salty sea air. I will probably never taste this wine and be able to objectively pick out the tastes.
And a weekend wouldn’t be complete without another kind of wine on another evening.

Verdict: 5/5

Poggio Capponi Chianti 2014

I don’t quite remember where I bought this Chianti, but it was definitely an impulse buy. I really like the label. 🙂 As we had home made burgers on Saturday for dinner it felt like a good pairing, right?

Upon sniffing it well and thorough, it still seemed slightly restrained. Like it didn’t quite open up yet. After a few minutes though it did smell a bit like dried plums. But only a bit. It was on the lighter side of medium bodied wines we had so far. Surprisingly light, actually. And with rather present tannins with a well rounded bitterness to it. And the fruit taste did linger for quite a while. All in all it fit perfectly with burgers.

Despite everything it was nothing special. A very drinkable wine, but nothing to write home about (pun intended).

Verdict: 3/5

P.S. If you like wine, or you are just starting to discover wine, you should check out Vivino. My source of inspiration when it comes to wine. Also, be sure to follow my profile there as well!

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