Traveling in Prekmurje, Slovenia is an unforgettable experience. Half-an-hour drive from our hotel, with beautiful storks on the chimney, and we were looking at lush vineyards. It didn’t take us much longer to reach the Marof winery. We were headed to the degustation and the tour of the cellar. The representative was expecting us and we met at the entrance. Just like all the people we met here in Prekmurje, he was incredibly friendly. He told us that there are some hills that receive the most sunlight in the country and that the soil is rich in minerals and other nutrients that were left behind by the Pannonian Sea.
When we entered the modern-inspired building the glass wall stole my attention. However, the reason we came was resting one floor below us. A wonderful panoramic view of the surrounding vineyards provides a connection to the source of the wine you taste. The cellar is very neatly organized and technologically equipped. It’s clear that they are serious about their work. After the cellar tour and a quick photo session, we were ready for the degustation. The tasting room has a shape of the ship which is turned upside down. In that creative way, they paid tribute to the Pannonian Sea.
We tried a fresh Chardonnay whose grapes were hand-picked and selected from their older vines, then vinified and aged for eighteen months in oak barrels. The mineral taste is the last proof for those who are skeptical that the spirit of the long-forgotten sea, which used to rule this part of the world, is still alive. After a mineral taste, you can taste a fresh citrus fruit, quince, and spices. Popper feels even in the aftertaste and I dare to say that I tasted a tiny bit of cinnamon. It’s a pity that we don’t have any cheese from Velika Planina left; it would coincide with this fresh golden drop.
The next one to taste was Blue Franc. That grapevine thrives in this area. You can note the seriousness of that wine just by looking at the drops which slowly move toward the bottom of the glass. I must confess that I was rather disappointed when I made my first sip. However, that changed when I washed my mouth and made the second one. I experienced the flavor explosion with a hint of pleasant freshness, which will grow in years and continue to evolve in this wine. As expected for this sort of wine, the bouquet is full of mature red fruit (blueberries are stronger in Sturm’s Blue franc), tobacco and chocolate. Its taste is bold. Tannins are nicely developed and it makes you want to feel more of its flavors. Slovenia is a surprisingly good destination for wines and Wild’n’Free diary will surely return to new tasting.