Medana is one of those small country villages you instantly fall in love with. It is a nice place, of course, very small and in the top of a hill, as many villages in this area of Goriska Brda in Slovenia. But what drives your attention to this area is that it has almost as many great quality wineries as houses. And that’s really something.
Simona and Aleks Klinec are the owners of one of these wineries that also include a bed and breakfast and a restaurant. It all makes a great experience, as besides the magnificent views from the terrace where you can appreciate the Italian Collio all the way to the Adriatic Sea, you can comfortably sleep in location before or after doing a very special wine tasting with them.
Medana is located right in front of San Floriano di Collio (Italy), barely separated by a few kilometers. In the front, the Adriatic Sea is not far away from here, barely 22 kilometers in a straight line, and in the back, we see the Pre-Julian Alps. The soil in the vineyards is the typical limestone marl originated in the Pleistocene and rich in marine sediment known as Opoka (Ponca in Italian).
Medana is also one of the premier areas in Slovenia for producing quality wine. Back in 1787, during the reign of Maria Theresa, archduchess of Austria and queen of Hungary and Bohemia, wife and empress of the Holy Roman emperor Francis I, a new Cru classification was created ranking the best winemaking places. In a range from I to VIIII, Medana was classified as I, the equivalent of a Grand Cru. The label of their wines show in the background the document of this classification.
Aleks’ philosophy in the vineyard and in the winery is completely organic. All he does is respecting Nature and the true character of his wines. He barely uses sulphites, and only so before bottling to make the wine ready for the long distance trip to its final destiny, as a big part of his production is sold overseas.
Aleks produces five white wines and two red wines. Before you ask me, yes, they are simply wonderful. All of them. The whites are all macerated on the skins. Four of them are single varietals and one is a blend. Did I say wonderful wines? Ok, they are amazing. The two reds are blends based on Merlot.
My visit started very seriously. Aleks asked me to sit at a table in the restaurant and he brought some homemade prosciutto and cheese. Then he brought two bottles, went away, brought two more. In the meantime I was appreciating the sunset, which was very nice as it was the first day we could see the sky and not only clouds and rain and snow. It was cold anyway, but it was a beautiful peaceful sunset.
We started with the Rebula 2014. In Goriška Brda/Collio I still haven’t found a wine producer doing anything other than a masterpiece with this variety and Aleks is another example of this. Great wine indeed. It was followed by Jakot 2014, the local Friulano variety that since 2007 cannot be called Tokaj Friulano because of the legal dispute with the Hungarians for the use of the term Tokaj. Therefore, many producers use the work Tokaj written the other way around. Another great wine followed, this time the Malvazija 2014. A variety that expresses its best character in the Istria region, including parts of Slovenia, Italy and Croatia. The fourth white single varietal wine was an amazing Pinot Grigio. As I go tasting this variety I am enjoying more and more the wines produced with it. Aleks’ wine is simply amazing. It was the Gardelin 2013, as he did not produce thsi wine in 2014.
Now Aleks opened his most special wine. We might say it is a wine he does not produce every year, or only when the grapes are the right ones. Rather than that, in the last 12 years he has only produced this wine twice. Ortodox 2006 is a blend of Verduzzo, Rebula, Malvazija and Friulano. Aleks only has a small quantity of Verduzzo vines, which is the base of this wine. When the vintage is not that good, he keeps the wine for the next and so on until he blends it with the other grapes. The following vintage he produced the Ortodox was 2013. Nothing ever since.
After sampling the white wines in the restaurant, we went down to the cellar. Aleks has big botti for ageing the wines and more importantly, the wood is Acacia and not oak. The white wines stay there for three years before being bottled. We sampled the white wines still in the wood from the 2015 and 2016 vintages, and even a few samples of the 2017. Then in a nearby room, we enjoyed, and enjoyed is a word that barely describes what happened, his red wines. Both red wines are Merlot 60%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30% and Cabernet Franc 10%. We enjoyed first Quela 2011, which was really a great wine, with three years of ageing in Acacia barrels. But the true expression of the Merlot in this area is Mora 2009. Outstanding wine with two more years of ageing in wood.
Aleks is an amazing host. He was very kind, very instructive and he told so many tales that made my visit a great experience. He even managed to get that beautiful sunset as welcome while I was waiting for him. Absolutely amazing.
Soon we will talk to Aleks Klinec about his wines and his winemaking philosophy.