Unusual Grape Varieties – Elsie Pells CWM

Ribolla Gialla or Rebula as it is called in Slovenia has a structural presence, texture and depth that allows one to dream that there is something beyond Chardonnay! It has made wine in Collio in Italy and Brda in Slovenia since the 13th Century. I first came across it in Slovenia where it makes several styles of wine successfully. Juicy and bright light-medium bodied wines with a touch of citrus and spicy floral flavours. Deep golden with a succulent, invigorating grip and finishing with a stony austerity. It also makes the best orange wines I have tasted, savoury and structured with an earthy saline finish. Last but not least, it is regularly blended with Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir into base wines producing fine, classic method sparkling wines.  A real discovery!

Teran mainly grown in the Karst is a Slovenian red grape variety sometimes called refošk and not to be confused with Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. It makes the best classic method sparkling wine I have ever tasted made by the couple, Jasbec, and aged for 10+ years on the lees. Memorable!

It also makes intensely dark ruby-coloured reds with a deeply fruited, rich aroma. Its fresh acidity lifts the flavours and the high lactic acid content creates a plush, velvety finish despite the high extract.

I quote –

“Back in 1910, Maksimilijan Ripper described this wine in his booklet the Karst Teran:

Teran is neither heavy nor thick,
Neither acrid nor fat,
Neither soft nor limp,
Neither blunt nor dead,
Neither stuffy nor stale,
Nor is it gentle or sweet.

Rather it is full and strong,
It is fragrant, flowery and sharp,
It is robust and steely,
It is vigorous and fresh,
Full of life, sprinkling and tickling,
It is dark and shining like ruby.”