Vitovska is the queen of the Carso, reigning over vineyards, rocky terrain and plots of red soil respectfully cultivated by people who love nature. On every single hectare of land situated at 260 metres above sea level, there are 10,500 native vine varieties cultivated as saplings so as to protect them from ‘Bora’ the wind, which often lashes the landscape. Each plant yields 500 grams of grapes, handpicked and collected in crates during the harvest. De-stemmed and crushed daily, the grapes ferment and macerate naturally, before being placed into a traditional winepress. Natural winemaking: no physicochemical stabilizers are used, no preservatives or enzymes are added. The wine is bottled without any filtration.
Once upon a time, there were old trellises of grapes and a man who remembered the taste of its grapes when, as a child, his grandfather and father handed him a cluster. An ancient flavour, and yet so familiar. A taste to be retrieved, expressed in all its richness and to be rediscovered in a bottle. This dream comes from afar, a dream come true.
Having respect for nature means listening to it and gathering what it has to offer. The year is complex. At first, ideal weather conditions reign until two weeks before the grape harvest: the ruggedness of the Carso melts into the blue of the sea that can be glimpsed on the horizon. Then, intense rainfall and grey skies recall the colours of the Carso, whose rock is custodian of ancient history.
Lots of brilliant sunshine, hot weather, occasional rain. 1999 is a perfect year. Bunches of grapes brimming with satisfaction. Nature’s work is done. The ancient vineyards are at their height, the old trellises offering their very best in a season to be remembered and framed.
Humankind, who does understand Nature, knows when to follow their instinct, especially when it comes to opening up to innovation. Now is the time to have confidence and satisfy this inspiration. It is time to start cultivating saplings, protected from the Bora’s lashings which clear the sky, leaving a kind of magic in the air all around the Carso. It’s a cool summer, gently encouraging the grapes on the young trees, geometrically laid out, to mature.
The vision of a precise idea – the dream – that had appeared at the very beginning is becoming a reality. It is found in a perfectly balanced year, which slips away with no excess or shortage and is free from unexpected events. A year which naturally expresses itself through moderation. A temperate climate, gained experience, intuition which achieves results season after season, all make 2001 the year in which the dream comes true.
Beneficial rain, a companion for growing plants, influences production especially if it continues for days. Nature gives and takes, replenishes and empties, in constant motion. This vintage yields a smaller quantity due to rainy weather from the end of July to the beginning of August. The Carso is harsh and hostile, but ‘Queen Vitovska’ makes its hardships easier to bear.
The choice of being natural means not irrigating the soil where the plants take root. The summer is scorching hot, the land arid, the air dry. Deer approach the grapevines and bite off bunches of grapes to quench their thirst. During the drought, the plants slow down, grinding to a halt so as to wait for better times. Man learns to do likewise, respecting the break taken in the flourishing growth.
This is the year that marks the turning point in terms of growth and development. It’s a good season, with rain at the right moment, the sun accompanying maturation at the right time. For man, it’s a fundamental stage of awareness. Over the months, whatever the plant has received from the Carso to be distilled in the fruit can now be expressed to the full. This is how great wine is made.
Heavy rainfall characterizes this difficult year, during which man’s attitude towards water changes since it is now taken for what it is: an element that should simply be welcomed when it comes. Dedicating oneself to small scale production means aiming for wines that will gratify. Wine has a soul. Man, who wants to be its upright custodian, now chooses to place his trust in the amphora and be at its service.
On the rough high ground of the Triestine Carso, the summer heat reverberates with the surrounding rocks as the year goes by. Abundant rainfalls greet the month of August. These two elements determine the choice of enhancing the production of two wines: one anchored in the oak tradition, the other with the terracotta amphora.
Bizarre weather conditions characterize the year. No harsh winter temperatures, and plants coming into bloom sooner in such a mild season. The hot summer is ripped apart by a wild hailstorm in early July, and in late August the hail returns to bombard the vines with fury. The quantity harvested and produced leaves only one option: a single label.
The month of June is very wet and complicates an already difficult season, jeopardizing the whole production. Amphorae and barrels remain empty. The silence that follows is filled with disillusionment and anger, and man, broken, seeks the strength to continue. Whoever believes in their work, respects their principles and understands the signs of the times, this is the moment to learn from such an intimate and valuable lesson and to mature as an individual. Nature is our mentor in life. There are no labels in 2008. And for this reason, it is triumphant.
Excellent: this is only the word that describes the year, probably even better than 1999. The vine leaves, both a brilliant and soft green, shimmer in the sunlight. The plants are in good health and will yield their fruit in generous quantities as soon as they ripen to perfection. A new beginning. As seen in the simplicity of its label. As shown in the rekindled excitement about the future cellar.
Indoors, people are busily working away at the cellar, digging into the Carso’s rock to create a sacred space, a protected environment ... a temple. Outdoors, Nature is contemplating them in silence. The year is fragile, production limited. This will be the first vintage produced in the cellar that is coming to life, selflessly sculpted and shaped.
The new winery opens its doors to the public for the very first time on May 21st. It is greeted by the weather’s excessive behaviour, which seems to be Nature’s way of making her presence felt inside this sheltered place. The sound of silence, with its aura of sacredness, fills the two circular communicating rooms hollowed out of the Carso mountainside, where the fertile elements of nature come together. The terracotta amphorae are quiet, buried in the ground, and absorb the energy that fills the space. The towering oak vats are displayed in a circle. The year – beautiful, alive, and, in late August, very hot – transforms itself into an abundance of opportunities.
Winter mockingly scolds the Karst, with endless weeks of the Bora’s lashings, harsh on man and disrespectful to nature. The vineyards suffer, their tender buds are blinded by the freezing fury of the wind. The wind accompanies the entire year. Spring, pleasantly breezy and dry, is followed by summer months, both windy and arid. The harvest will lead to a rediscovered equilibrium.