As I reflected upon events of the past year on New Years Eve, I couldn’t help but linger fondly on one evening – Thanksgiving – when I threw a very non-traditional dinner party. A handful of friends and I had decided that we wanted one night of relaxed, stress free joy, before the onslaught of holiday season obligations. The fairly traditional Thanksgiving menu (catered by the wonderful folks at Whole Foods) was tempered by a pajamas only dress code and an all Slovenian wine selection. Neither of these decisions were random. The pajamas made perfect sense as there is nothing more comfortable than lounging around the house in one ‘s PJ’s. It also makes sense to don some snoozing attire before the tryptophan kicks in. The Slovenian wine was because…well I just felt like it (not the same as ‘random’!) I had been to a tasting of Slovenian wines a few days earlier and without really giving much thought to the appropriate-ness of the selections, I decided to let my sub-conscious do the heavy lifting. Check out this post if you’re intrigued and/or confused.
It was a magical evening, which actually started around 10 in the morning – we had to catch the parade. To be perfectly honest, I don’t like parades (or circuses, since you asked), but the Slovenian sparkling red I was pouring made it tolerable.
The Rex sparkling red wine is a refosco (85%) and Merlot (15%) blend. The effervescence is surprisingly refined (producing a creamy effect), and it’s quite persistent once opened, which is always a favorable quality in sparkling wines that may not be consumed immediately after opening (which was not an issue at this celebration). Rich ripe red fruit is center stage. The wine finishes dry and elegant.
By dinner time, we had segued to a delicious Slovenian pinot gris. The Tilia pinot gris had both bright acidity and a rich stone fruit ripeness…and it was killer with the turkey.
Once the last drops of PG were drained, we couldn’t help but move on to the still Slovenian red (it was all that was left). The Refosk (the slovenian name for refosco) was a revelation. The first pleasant surprise is that it comes in a 1 litre bottle, and that extra 33% can really come in handy! The wine is dark ruby red with lots of fruit – both black and red. There are hints of violet, red licorice (twizzler) and white pepper. It’s a perfect wine for the latter hours of a get together. It’s fun with enough complexity to justify being invited to the party.
The evening came to a jolly conclusion the following morning with some inaugural Ho Ho Ho’s. The holiday season was officially upon us!
Vinakoper ‘Rex’ Sparkling Red
Region: Istria – Prade, Baredi
Varietal: 85% refosco, 15% merlot
Sugg. Retail: $13.99
Tilia – Sunshine Sivi Pinot (pinot gris)
Region: Vipava Valley (SW Slovenia)
Producer: Vina Tilia
Varietal: 100% pinot gris
Sugg. Retail: $16.99
Santomas ‘LNG’ Refosk
Region: Istria – Primorje
Varietal: 100% refosco
Sugg. Retail: $13.99