Wine of the week: sauvignon 2013, Renčel

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Rocket fuel from the karst mine.

Sort of: 100 % sauvignon
Year: 2013
Sugar level: dry
Alcohol level: 14 % vol.

The country: Primorska
The environment: Karst
Location of the cellar: Dutovlje
The price: 25 euros


Foto: Toni Gomišček

Long years ago, well, certainly more than twenty years ago, a group of wine enthusiasts warmed to the idea of preparing a Slovenian wine guide. So we started collecting samples and with the support of a friend from Friuli Giulia Colombe, which introduced us to the method of evaluation, valid for the distinguished Italian guide, which at the time was still jointly signed by Gambero Rosso and Arcigola (later renamed Slow Food), choosing the best among the good. Which means that from each "flight" we selected a sample or two that progressed to the next round.

In the end, there were two wines that stood out from all the others in terms of quality. A head taller, you might say. Since the judging was blind all the time, we only realized at the very end that out of all the samples, we would receive the desired "3 glasses" of wines from one and the same producer, both white, both from the cellar Josko Rencel from Dutovelj na Karst. One was chardonnay and the other was sauvignon, white sauvignon.

As far as I know, today's chardonnay is "hiding" in the vincent variety, while sauvignon remains a varietal wine, still worth three glasses if a guide were to award them for Slovenia as well.

I will never get tired of repeating my belief that Kars should bet more decisively on white wines, especially Vito and Malvasia, and I have already drunk excellent sauvignonasse and, of course, sauvignon, wines with a more pronounced aromatic component. Renčl's sauvignon is rich in extract, clear golden in color with copper hues and with the first signs of color oxidation related to the fact that the must has been on the skins for three days, that the wine is entering its fifth year and that it has not been filtered.

His flower is, simply put, intoxicating. At the first moment, it resembles warm floral honey, which emits even more decisively than cold balsamic notes of meadow flowers, among which are mixed the perceptions of ripe fruit, dried apricots and slightly smoky plums. The smell reveals a long-term contact with lees, both coarse and fine, the presence of which further confirms the exceptionally full body.

It is warm in the mouth, fruity notes overcome the floral ones, herbs, vanilla and white pepper slowly emerge. The minerality is outstanding, the acidity balances the alcohol. The finish is long and leaves a pleasantly sweet aftertaste in the mouth, reminiscent of licorice root. This is a wine that takes me into an orbit of pleasant sensory experiences whenever I try it. Renčl's sauvignon calls for good company, but if I had to choose a wine to spend a week, a month or a year on a lonely island, it would be my choice.

The 2013 vintage was not bad in itself, but not exceptional either, rather something average, although it gave us many excellent wines. In the sales strategy of Joško Renčl, it will run out at any time, so that 2014 will soon be on the market, but for many it was the most difficult vintage so far. "Since that vintage, I've only been proud of Sauvignon," says a walker on the edge from Dutovelj.

Well, let's wait a little longer with the assessment, but until then it is good to know that the vineyard of his sauvignon is on old, heavy karst soil, that he has chosen a short cordon with plugs as the cultivation form, and that the yield per hectare is around 35 cents per hectare. In the cellar, he uses used wooden barrels, in which the wine still breathes, but does not get an aftertaste of roasted oak.

And since I already mentioned that I would choose him as company on a lonely island, let me also suggest some possible pairings in that spirit. I hope that I would be somewhere in the Mediterranean, that there would be herbs such as rosemary, thyme, thyme, and that I would find a wild goat and her goats on the island, because I just dream of it next to a baby flounder on a spit, as well as sardines and mackerel on the barbecue, octopus with capers and similar simple but extremely tasty dishes. Well, yes, even pasta with butter sauce with spring peas and plenty of fennel would probably be a good companion to a wine that so easily seduces us with its rich aroma, body and taste.

Gomišček, T., About wine: wine of the week: sauvignon 2013, Renčel, retrieved 06/14/2018 from