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An unusual Teran from Butoniga Lake terroir

by Gogo on December 7, 2011

in All wines,EatIstria Vino

I adore when I get pleasantly surprised by wines of little known winemakers. Like this unusual Sirotić’s Teran coming from the little known, yet very promissing Istrian terroir.

A view towards Vrh and Medveje2010 Sirotić Teran front

Volim kad me vina još nerazvikanih vinara ugodno iznenade. Kao ovaj neobičan Sirotićev teran koji dolazi iz malo poznatog istarskog terroira za koji će se tek čuti.

Hrvatska verzija

This summer I met Stetson Robbins from Blue Danube Wine Co., dynamic company from San Francisco that imports Central European wines, who joined us for lunch in our place in Ližnjan. He was visiting Istrian winemakers in search for still undiscovered wines that can offer value for money. Before he left, he gave me a bottle of one obscure Teran. Thanks Stetson! I was not vary eager to open it since both the label and rainy 2010 did not promise well. And I had never heard of Sirotić winery from a small village Medveje near Buzet. Until one day we had good Istrian sausages on our table, a dish that demands a glass of Teran to be enjoyed with.

The first sniff was unusual, it reminded me of rakija (grappa) but not in a sense that the alcohol was too pronounced. It had aromas of good homemade and not too strong rakija. Quite unusual but a pleasant feeling. What I didn’t like was the smell of old furniture and a lack of fruit both in the nose and in the mouth. It looked like a bland homemade wine you just have to drink and forget. ☺

Istrian sausages and Teran by EnogastromamaLuckily, I left the bottle open over the night thinking that its destiny is to finish in the kitchen sink. But! The next day the wine managed to take a deep breath and show me something completely different. The aroma of rakija was less strong while the smell of old furniture disappeared. Now, there was plenty of blueberries, dried roses and then forest floor, wet wood… In the mouth juicy berries appeared again, the wine is light in alcohol and with a nice acidic backbone. A bit of tannins and beautiful minerality are felt on the tongue for more than 30 seconds. This is a small, easy drinking and food friendly red wine perfect for hearty winter meals. Like Istrian sausages that are quickly sauteed with a bit of Teran.

Google finds that after all Mr. Dario Sirotić is not so unknown. In 2009 Dario won the gold medal on Vinistra, the most important wine fair in Croatia, for his young 2008 Teran.

Where does this unusual teran come from? Mighty Google Maps locates the village of Medveje 10 km south of Buzet, on the hills that bound Butoniga lake on the North. I zoom in and see a small village surrounded by vineyards ideally placed on steep southern exposition slopes. It is kingdom of white soil made of clay and limestone. Many Istrian winemakers know that these green hills around Butoniga lake are future Grand Crus, the best postions of the entire Istrian terroir.

This does not surprise me at all because this teran is not the only wine coming from this magical microregion that seduced me with its character. Like, for example:

I am looking forward to taste Sirotić’s Teran from this year, a vintage believed to be especially good for Teran. All these facts and myths are tempting me to go on a day trip around Butoniga Lake and try on the spot the fruits of this fascinating terroir that the World still has to discover.

MORAL OF THE STORY: It always a good idea to leave half full bottle of red wine for tomorrow.

Butoniga Lake from Zamask
Butoniga Lake from Zamask

The village of Vrh in Istria
The village of Vrh famous for its tradition of sparkling wine production.

Old vines
Old vines below Draguć

Ovo ljeta upoznao sam Stetsona Robbinsa iz Blue Danube Wine Co., dinamične tvrtke iz San Francisca koja uvozi hrvatska vina, koji je došao kod nas u Ližnjan na ručak. Par dana je proveo po istarskim podrumima tražeći još neotkrivena vina koja nude vrijednost za novac. Na odlasku ostavio mi je jedan opskurni teran. Hvala Stetson! Nisam se žurio sa otvaranjem jer ni etiketa kao ni kišna berba 2010. nisi obećavali a i za vinara Sirotića iz sela Medveje pokraj Buzeta prvi put sam čuo. Sve dok jednog dana istarske kobasice nisu zatražile da ih se zalije baš nekim teranom.

Prvi nos bio je vrlo neobičan, na rakiju, ali ne u smislu da se alkohol jako osjetio. Vino je mirisalo na dobru domaću i ne prejaku rakiju. Neobična ali ugodna aroma. Dojam su kvarili miris na stari namještaj te nedostatak voćnosti u nosu i u ustima. Ličilo je na domaće crno vino koje treba popit i zaboravit. ☺

Istrian sausages and Teran by EnogastromamaSrećom, slučajno sam ga ostavio otvorenog preko noći misleći da mu je sudbina da sutra završi u grotlu sudopera. Ali! Drugi dan uspjelo je uhvatiti svježeg zraka i pokazati mi jedno sasvim drugo lice. Miris rakije je bio puno prigušeniji a nestalo je mirisa na staro. Izašle su zato borovnice, crni papar, suhe ruže a potom humus, mokro drvo… U ustima prštalo je sočno bobičasto voće. Lagano je i izvrsne svježine. Malo tanina i lijepa mineralnost ostaju na jeziku i tridesetak sekundi nakon gutanja. Ovo je jedno malo, pitko i food friendly vino stvoreno za izdašnu zimsku hranu. Na primjer istarske kobasice frigane sa malo terana.

Google potom pronalazi da g. Sirotić uopće nije tako nepoznat. Naime, 2009. dobio zlatnu medalju na Vinistri za najbolji mladi teran.

Odakle li samo dolazi ovaj neobičan teran? Svemoćni Google Maps smješta Medveje 10 km južno od Buzeta, na brda koja sa sjeverne strane omeđuju jezero Butonigu. Zumiram i vidim malo selo okruženo vinogradima idealno smještenim na padinama južne ekspozicije. Carstvo je to bijele zemlje, glinasto-laporastog tla. Mnogi vinari u Istri kažu da su ti zeleni brežuljci oko Butonige budući Grand Cruevi, ono najbolje od cjelokupnog istarskog terroira.

To me ne iznenađuje jer ovaj teran nije jedino vino iz te magične mikroregije koje me uspjelo zavesti svojim karakterom. Tu su još:

  • refošk iz 2009 od samozatajnog Diega Nežića koji je rasprodan. Prije mjesec dana probao sam njegov mladi teran i, ljudi, bit će to zvijer!
  • opako dobri pjenušci Antona Grbca iz Vrha, vinificirani po klasičnoj metodi
  • elegantna 2008 Matoševićeva crna Grimalda koja je nedavno na slijepom kušanju u Trapan Wine Stationu prestigla i kultni Claijev Brombonero koji se radi samo u najboljim od refoška.
  •  
    Ne mogu dočekati da probam Sirotićev teran iz ove 2011. godine za koju kažu da će naročito za terane biti vrhunska. Sve te činjenice i slutnje mame me da odem jedan dan u turneju oko Butonige i kušam na licu mjesta plodove tog fascinantnog terroira za koji će svijet tek čuti.

    POUKA PRIČE: Uvijek je dobro pola boce crnog vina ostaviti za sutra.

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