Primoz Lavrenčič – winemaking amidst the Burja winds

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Slovenia’s Primoz Lavrenčič has been praised for his dedication to nurturing traditional winemaking in Vipava through an insistence on indigenous yeasts, autochthonous varieties, soil preservation, (non-certified) organic farming and minimal use of sulfur dioxide at bottling.

Primoz Lavrenčič – a young university lecturer and researcher – runs the Burja estate at the western end of the narrow Vipava Valley (Vipavska dolina), that links the Friulian lowland and central Slovenia, which his family have inhabited since 1499. Burja – “bora” – is the name of the northeasterly wind that sweeps through the valley. Several generations of Lavrenčič’s have made wine in Vipava, whose rich winemaking traditions are detailed in the first Slovenian book on viticulture, Matija Vertovec’s ‘Winemaking for Slovenes’ (‘Vinoreja za Slovence’), published in 1844.

Lavrenčič has been praised for his dedication to nurturing traditional winemaking in Vipava through an insistence on indigenous yeasts, autochthonous varieties, soil preservation, (non-certified) organic farming and minimal use of sulfur dioxide at bottling. Lavrenčič, however, continues to modestly describe himself as just “a farmer with much technical education.”

Burja_Primoz_Lavrencic

Photograph from burjaestate.com

Lavrenčič key winemaking principles include a respect for “local varieties” and an awareness of the “diversity and richness” of his vineyards (including micro flora). For Lavrenčič, “a good wine grows in the vineyard; the cellar can only preserve it. Therefore, I work with sense, without unnecessary additives. I want my wines to be honest, sincere and joyful.”

The Burja Estate, with its five acres of vineyards, is defined by varieties that dominate the northern Adriatic coast – Zelen, Pokalca (Schioppettino), Refošk (Refosco), Rebula (Ribolla Gialla), Malvazija (Malvasia d`Istria), Laški rizling (Italian Riesling, Welschriesling), Modra frankinja (Blaufränkisch). Lavrenčič’s Modri pinot (Pinot Noir, Blauburgunder), meanwhile, is described as his own personal tribute to Burgundy.

Burja_Vinograd

Photograph from burjaestate.com

One of the highlights of Burja Estate is the Burja Zelen, made from 100% Zelen (which means ‘green’ in Slovene); a rare autochthonous sort, grown only in the Primorje region of Slovenia, which gives wines of a deep yellow to emerald green. Burja Zelen has a perfumed and floral nose, flavours of apple and lime zest, and lively acidity. Other highlights included Burja Malvazija and Burja Bela, which is a traditional blend of Istrian Malvasia, Ribolla and Laski Riesling that is aged for two years.

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