BURJA ESTATE IN VIPAVA, SLOVENIA
Burja is one of the iconic wine estate in Vipava Valley, owned and managed by Primož Lavrenčič.
Vipava Valley is located within the broader Primorska wine region in west Slovenia. The region has a warm Mediterranean climate, with many sunny days, and is strongly influenced both by the hot humid south-western wind and the strong cold north-eastern wind (burja, explained below). It is a very hilly area, providing a great diversity of soil types and aspects conducive to grape growing. The region is mostly famous for its dry white wines from indigenous varieties like zelen.
The 8-ha vineyard and winemaking activities are conducted following biodynamic practices and with lots of respect for local grape varieties: zelen, rebula (ribolla gialla), malvazija (malvoisie), welschriesling, pokalca (schioppettino) to name a few, with also some pinot noir.
Primož Lavrenčič highly values observation and trials, with the aim to reach synergy between all the aspects of his environment: from working the soils and growing the vines to winemaking, bottling and shipping of the wines.
What about the name of the estate? Burja comes from the name of the north-eastern wind, hot, powerful and gusty, experienced in the area. This wind has a drying and warming effect, which can be beneficial for grape ripening and to avoid diseases, but can destroy grapes and vines if too strong.
Cellar and winemaking.
The modern underground cellar was carved in the rock of the hillside, still visible from the tank rooms (see below). It shows the type of soil in the area: free-draining, sediments of marl and sandstone (flysch), with vertical breaches allowing vine roots to grow deeper into the soil.
Burja wines are made with minimal interventions during the winemaking process: gravity flow, low-sulfites, native yeast, no filtration... One foot rooted in tradition, and another in the future. I loved the funky wine labels, (and funky website, have a look).
Bela, Burja estate, 2018.
skin-contact wine (1 week skin-contact)
blend of white grape varieties malvazija, rebula, welschriesling
aged in concrete
medium intensity orange wine
aromatic (orchard fruit, white flowers, fresh herb), with a touch of bitterness
well structured and nicely-textured wine