If you find yourself in Northeastern Italy or northwestern Slovenia on the border stop and visit Boris Kristančič at Brandulin Winery.
The Brandulin winery is a boutique winery that was founded in a 500 year old Jesuit Monastery. The first proprietors of this land were the Jordanos; the Jordan family. The last of the Jordans was Giovani Angelo Jordan, who was born around 1571. After his death, the property passed to the Jesuits. In the Jesuit chronicles in Gorizia recorded that the Jordan Mountain had a viniculture college by the name of Jordanum. In 1773, the Jesuit order was abolished due to political changes in the region and soon after that the Kristančič family began to work the land and make wine. World War one unfolded on their land. It was a brutal time for the Kristančič family and others in the region. Boris Kristančič and his father became the proprietors after the death of his uncle, who had operated the business by himself.
Today Boris and his father work 5 hectares of vines. The majority of the vines are in Slovenia, with about 10% in Italy. The ages of the vines varies from 15 to 55 years. The prevailing whites are Pinot Bianco, Ribolla Gialla, Malvaszijia, Tokai Fruilano (aka Sauvignonasse pronounced Sav-i-n-ownay-sah), Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc; of the reds Merlot predominates, with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. For the most part they work manually in the vineyard (pruning and harvesting). They do not use chemical fertilizers and use only natural processes that are environmentally friendly.
In the cellar, they vinify with traditional methods without the aid of modern enology. They macerate with the skins for 3 days to extract the anti-viral properties (tannins) from the skins then ferment in steel. They have a small production of about 8,000 bottles per year. Boris produces amazingly aromatic wines and their flagship Jordano (the Friulano varietal) is doesn’t disappoint. It is clear with a pale lemon-green hint with med+ intensity. On the nose; citrus fruit and citrus blossoms and a hint of grass. On the palate it has a soft Meyers lemon, pink grapefruit and minerality of clay and dry dirt. We also tasted their Beli Pinot 2007, clear, pale lemon-green, med+ intensity. On the nose it has citrus (lemon and grapefruit), green fruit (apple), and over the top floral (white flowers and tropical blossoms). The palate is clean, dry, green apple, Meyers lemon, lychee, a soft minerality (dry dust and slate). The alcohol was surprisingly high at 14.5% but very well balanced. His white wines were over the top! We tasted the Rebula 2005 (6 days maceration with skins & 2 yrs Oak Barrel), Belo Cuvee 2007 (Pinot Grigio, Rebula, Sauvignonnase (Tocai Friulano) & Pinot Blanc) (3 weeks maceration with skins, 1 year Oak Barrel) ** Incredible! Sauvignon 2006 and Rdece cuvee 2005 (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon). All were unbelievable and so much complexity!
Their cellar is within the original monastery and it gives you a glimpse of making wine in the 1700’s. Although parts of the building look like they could have been part of the mortar shelling from WWI the inhabited sections are nicely preserved. Character and charm like this is rarely seen this days which makes this part of the world so special. .... and they have a really cool Lamborghini tractor in the barn!
Their production is so small it makes it difficult to import any of their wines to the United States, but they are worth the visit. To visit: stop at the Vinoteca in Dobrovo Slovenia and they’ll call Boris and arrange a time for you to visit their vineyard and cellar within the 500 year old monastery. As I said before ... it is sooooo worth it!
Katy Bendel, Founder of CarpathianWines.com, is located in San Diego, CA.
They import, distribute and sell online extraordinary boutique wines that they have personally hand selected.