General vintage description
At the time of the 2016 harvest, the grapes were extremely healthy, fully matured and of excellent quality, all elements that are indicative of a premium vintage. Oenologists expect the wines of 2016 to be intensely aromatic and perfectly harmonious, with alcohol levels slightly higher than the average. The outstanding aromas, which will be particularly pronounced in the fresh white Ribolla Gialla and Sauvignonasse varieties, are the result of the ideal combination of cool nights and high daily temperatures before and during the harvest. However, although the Brda region was spared from hail and frost this year, the hot weather and drought during the harvest season reduced yields by a quarter.
“As to the quantity of grapes, we had been expecting a normal year but it turned out that the produce will be down by a quarter, primarily due to the hot and dry weather. Luckily, we couldn’t have wished for better or healthier grapes,” said Silvan Peršolja, the director of Klet Brda.
The Klet Brda cooperative brings together the talents of 400 winegrowing families who cultivate 1,000 hectares of vineyard, mostly by hand. Together they produced just over 5,500 tonnes of grapes this year. In 2015, the average price per kilo of grapes was €0.56. This year it will be slightly higher: prices will range from €0.38 to €1.20 per kilo of grapes.
Klet Brda began harvesting the early grape varieties for its sparkling wines on 26 August, 2016. It then continued with the white varieties in the first half of September, followed by the red varieties when their seeds turned brown in the second half of the month, indicating phenolic maturity. Oenologists, agronomists and winegrowers used technical and organoleptic ripeness parameters for single varieties and carefully monitored the grape ripening process in each and every vineyard in order to determine the optimum time to harvest. Harvesting activities were brought to a close with the traditional Press Harvest held on 29 September 2016.
A reportage of the Press Harvest on this link:
Brda is home to the original Ribolla Gialla
Not long ago, Ribolla Gialla was still considered a little-known local variety, but it has gained considerable popularity in recent years because it serves as an ideal base for sparkling wines. In fact, among the grape varieties grown in the Primorska region, Ribolla Gialla boasts the most appropriate level of acidity for this purpose. Sparkling wines of this kind have been produced in Brda for over 50 years.
With 360 million bottles of Prosecco sold each year, Italian wine producers from Friuli and Veneto are a worldwide phenomenon and have also now recognised the potential of Ribolla Gialla. They see a new story to write about Ribolla-based sparkling wines, maybe even a new marketing success.
However, the home of the original Ribolla Gialla is the marly soil on the steep terraces, where the production of even 10 tonnes of grapes per hectare represents a difficult challenge. “Growing Ribolla Gialla on the plains, where irrigation means that the yield can be nearly doubled to 18 tonnes per hectare, as regulations already allow, completely changes the character of the wine. We are concerned about our original Ribolla Gialla losing its value due to this industrial-scale production and that aggressive marketing strategies would leave it completely overshadowed,” explained Silvan Peršolja.
“Together with Italian wine producers from Friuli who also grow Ribolla Gialla on marly hillsides, we are making arrangements to enforce some kind of protection in order to prevent Ribolla Gialla from being taken away to the plains,” Peršolja continued. They are already searching for a legal basis to allow Ribolla Gialla to be entered in grape vine registries in regions where it has not yet been grown.
“It’s highly regrettable that Primorska’s winegrowers have not yet properly protected Ribolla Gialla. We are not connected enough: every winegrower takes care of their own brand, but we do not pull together when it comes to promoting the territory we share. However, in the international marketing of wines, territory is the key word,” said Peršolja. Klet Brda produces, refines and bottles wines from half of all the vineyards in Brda. The other half is produced and sold by 140 private winemakers. “We should be promoting the terroir together, but only Klet Brda and a few other successful producers are currently working on this. We need to work as a team on the international markets; Slovenia can only establish itself on the world wine map through a professional and strategic approach, perseverance and cooperation between all winegrowers,” Peršolja concluded.
Published on 5. 10. 2016 categorised in: Events, News, Press