I’m not the biggest Sauvignon Blanc fan but I’ve had a lot of fun recently researching old and new world wines for an upcoming wine tasting. This is the chosen one representing the old world and is made by three friends who set up their winery – Verus, which means true/genuine – in 2007. Their vineyards are located in eastern Slovenia, close to the Hungarian Tokaj region.
So why – out of all the Sauvignon Blancs in France and also the excellent, but more unusual examples from north Italy – does this Slovenian wine ace the grade? Well, it’s excellent quality, beautifully balanced and more important, multi-faceted, yet still true to the variety. There’s so much more going on than just the usual gooseberry and nettle SB that has gained popularity over the last decade or so (in the UK, at least) and is often the white wine offering in the dingiest of pubs. This is fresh and funky and put the two (more expensive) Pouilly Fumes we tasted alongside in the shade.
Don’t be put off by the lack of smell, apart from a faint whiff of burnt match (that’s the only way I can describe it but remember wine tasting is largely subjective) – this probably comes from the way it is made as there’s no fining and only gentle filtration prior to bottling. On the palate though, it’s a different story: it’s lively and concentrated but those gooseberry aromas feel a lot riper, and then there’s some tropical fruit (passion fruit, maybe) undertones, reminiscent of a good quality Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.
Although the wine is still fresh and fruity on the palate – and unmistakably a SB – it’s more savoury than most. This is because it has spent a bit of time on lees which is quite unusual for an aromatic wine like Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling – for example – where the focus is usually on fresh (primary) fruit flavours. It sounds a bit gross but basically after fermenting, the wine is left in contact with the yeast for a few weeks to gain more complexity and a slight creaminess. It’s still fermented in stainless steel, as opposed to barrel fermented, like some of the new world examples.
I think this SB works as both a summer drink (obvs) but also when you want a crisp, vibrant wine in the winter amongst all those fuller bodied Chardonnays (which tend to team well with richer dishes). On the food front, it’s pretty versatile; deserving something more substantial than a salad – you can go for a richer dish than you would with a straightforward SB. We had it with Flageolet Beans with Thyme & Mushrooms, which worked well given the creaminess of this dish. Alternatively, like most SBs, it works very well with spicy, aromatic food.
At a glance
- Style? Dry white wine
- Where is it from? Styria, Slovenia
- What’s the grape? Sauvignon Blanc
- Tastes of? Ripe gooseberries, crisp apples, elderflower and a savoury finish
- What food would complement it? Light creamy/cheesy dishes such as Cauliflower Cheese Soup or Pumpkin with Coconut Dressing & Vegetable Ceviche