Vinogradi Fon, Vitovska, 2006, Marco Fon, White-wine from Slovenia
As probably most of us we don’t know too much about wines from Slovenia. I already wrote some reports about Slovenian wines (https://avdwineandfood.wordpress.com/tag/slovenia/) as well as about the wonderful restaurant and pension Hisa Franko (https://avdwineandfood.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/hisa-franko-restaurant-hotel-staro-selo/).
Already at the first or second night at Hisa Franko generous host Valter Kramar invited me to taste something really special: a wine of the winemaker name is Fon – Vinogradi Fon to be correct – we actually drank a Vitovska from 2006. You are allowed to ask what Vitovska is: it is a sort of grape from a Slovenian area called Kras. It is a white wine and according to some resources in the internet the grape also appears in the neighboring Italian area Friuli and Venetia. Although I thought the 2006 one was a little bit too old, there was an amazing potential and experience. Soft and virtuous on one side, salty and a little bit like a dry sherry, certainly complex and even a bit complicated, but just an amazing experience. I asked Valter if he would be so friendly and get me in tough to the winemaker: Marco Fon.
He is an impressive, deeply friendly and indigenous personality. Marco is not committed to his land; he is a part of it. If you ever would consider a wine maker who likes to work in stony fields and yards, whose hear is dusty from stone and dry earth, than you imagine Marco, who’s pretty face shows tiny furrows filled with the dust of Kars’s stones. Valter told me it wouldn’t be too easy to meet Marco as he rather spends his time in the vineyard than talking to people but thanks to Valter I got one hour! I thought it might be better to be a little bit too early in his village so I called him 20 min too early. He insisted that I am too early and should come back to the little parking place at exactly 6 pm. “Have a walk” was his advice.
And I am thankful as I found a nice little path around the little village, through gardens, small stony walls breathing the fresh but not cold air which in my imagination had a salty smell. The trail I took wasn’t too short so I even came too late at the end. A strong craftsman’s hand gave my hand a shake when I met him. He brought me around the corner; behind some walls a really beautiful and even romantic typical Slovenian farmer’s house appeared.
Insisting that he hasn’t too much time as he needed to get back to the vineyard still before sunset he briefly introduced me to his wife, went into a dark room on the lower level of his building and came back with a paper box filled with different stone. No carafe or bottle of wine but stones! He selected two grew ones and asked me to rub them against each other; just for some seconds and then he conducted my arm with the stones in my hands to my nose! “Do you smell it?”. “Yes”. Impressive, I experience a smell of what I would call Jurassic Park. Petroleum, wet minerals and creamy stony sludge. After this, he asked me to imagine the taste of a Malavazija – internationally known as Malvasia. It is probably wrong to use the word “known” in this case as many people even never heard about this sort of grape as well. It is very probably a really very old sort from antic Greece. You can find it in many former Yugoslavian areas but also in northern Italy and perhaps even very limited in Austria. He asked me to take two other stones of another vineyard. I did as he told; he smiled and asked me to imagine Vitovska. I was on my limit of knowledge, I admit. Vitovska, this was the wine I had some nights before – its was an epiphany.
After smelling stones, his wife brought us some omelet while Marco disappeared in this cellar. He returned with two carafe of white wine, directly from the barrel: 2014, not yet finished in its development – only an idea of what it will be (and it will be the best!!!). One carafe was filled with Malavazija, the other one was Vitovska. We shared the very delicious omelet eating it with our hands. Marco began to tell me about his vinery, his philosophy to make wines and the Kars.
Some vineyards of Marco are older than 70 years. Routs are deep since summer times can be very hot and dry. On the other hand there is a weather phenomena called Bora which is an aggressive cold wind. His entire winemaking is organic and really down to earth. He spends more time at the vineyard as he believes, at least in this area, work must be done in field. Vitovska is an autochthonous sort, the wine is straw yellow, smells more than any other wine I know like floweriness of a wonderful landscape. There are herbs, light sweet but still considerable dry and a smell of hay, almond and dry lemon. All this is based on a fundamental kind of minerality. There is no doubt that Marco also spendsHisa some reasonable time in the cellar since his wines are wonderfully balanced and very well-developed.
Vintage 2006 is perfect for any after dinner food as cheese or some desert. As said at the very beginning it is a little bit too matured in my mind. Anyhow, something very, very special. And very good!
In very short time I will continue my report as Marco Fon, as mentioned does produce also a Malvaisa and – of special interest – an amazing Taran.
Please see the webpage of Marco Fon: http://www.vinogradifon.com/