Strongly believing in respecting local grape varieties, Burja Estate winemaker Primož Lavrencic bought a 60-year-old Malvasia vineyard in the Vipava Valley along the northern Adriatic coast some years ago. Today he produces Zelen, Pokalca (Schioppettino), Refošk (Refosco), Rebula (Ribolla Gialla), Malvazija (Malvasia d`Istria), Laški rizling (Italian Riesling, Welschriesling), Modra frankinja (Blaufränkisch) wines, ensuring that the principals of organic and biodynamic production are followed. Lavrencic works with nature to encourage character and authenticity is his wines, always looking for spontaneous fermentation and diversity.
The soil in Primoz’s vineyards has developed slowly on over fifty million years old flysch marlstone and sandstone. These rocks, rich with calcium carbonate, formed in the sea in the Eocene Epoch, more specifically during the Cuisian Stage. Fine-grained marlstone, containing more or less cemented rock fragments, sized only a few hundredths of a millimetre, makes heavy soil which retains moisture longer and more easily.
According to location and natural geographic features, the Vipava Valley is transitional, squeezed between the Trnovo Plateau on the North and Karst on the South. Its openness to the west brings the influence of the Mediterranean climate. The climate of the Vipava Valley is sub-Mediterranean, with hot dry summers and mild winters. It is a mixture of Alpine, Mediterranean and Continental climates. The Vipava Valley is also the windiest part of Slovenia, the gusts of its famous wind – bora (burja) can reach up to 240 kph. Microflora are an important part of each vineyard’s identity. The work in the vineyards, which are treated according to the principles of biological and biodynamic production, is always in the spotlight. Primoz is getting to know the details of soil and climate diversity for individual locations and uses this information to adjust different varieties and vineyard cultivation. Primoz controls the temperature and oxidation in the wine cellar, encouraging the rest.and tries work in synergy with the vine, wine and nature, including stimulating spontaneous fermentation, which ensures the contact between grape skin and must also with the white wines. The diversity of yeast strains contributes to the complexity of the wine and provides original expression of each vineyard.
The Zelen comes from a young vineyard called Golavna on flysch soils (a sandwich of sandstone, marl, breccia and conglomerate). Whole berries are macerated for eigtht days in tulip-shaped concrete eggs. Fermentation is spontaneous and malolactic takes place naturally. The wine is straightforward and has a Muscadet-like saline quality.
The Reddo is playing with the idea of former red wine varieties in the Vipava Valley, which were once in minority, for home consumption only. Pokalca (Schioppettino) 50%, Modra frankinja (Blaufränkisch) 30%, Refošk (Refosco) 20% blend here to brilliant effect. Young vineyards, from 4 to 6 years old. Aged for two years in large barrels (10 to 15 hl) and 225 l barrique barrels. Super-elegant with aromatic notes of red and dark currants encased in delicate oak, and a fine seam of acidity running through it.
Bela is a field blend of Laski Rizling, Rebula, Malvazija and other oddments from an old vineyard, naturally fermented and aged in foudres. Fantastic wine with dense leesy texture and mouthfilling dried fruit and somemoderate tannins from seven days of skin contact