In the heart of the Goriška Brda: Bjana Winery
31st March 2021
“The rolling hills, the many remote, untouched villages and their communities, the blanket of vineyards over the lush green land… Goriška Brda.”
The Slovenian wine scene is a very exciting one for me. Most of this bubbling up energy for their wines I have is because so few others are familiar with them which enables me to pour out my passion each time I meet someone new wanting to find out more.
I have visited each of the main regions of Slovenia (Podravje, Primorska & Posavje) and spent memorable days travelling the many vineyards that occupy them. The Goriška Brda is one of the sub regions of Primorska and is known as being the Slovenian ‘Tuscany’ along with being reported as holding the most successful wineries in regards to medal and trophies for their wines in the country as a whole.
Goriška Brda sits on the border with Italy and almost bites its way into their neighbour’s lush and picturesque land. The exceptional standards of Italian wines flows across the divide and takes on a whole new identity, traditional method sparkling wines for me matching that of the Trento DOC and edging at times close to grand vintage Champagne.
The land here is quite vibrant and fertile. You know and feel it too that it is a dream winemaking location once you’ve taken that one hour drive to it from the country’s capital Ljubljana (supports the international airport with flights via Stansted). The terroir as a whole gives the vines grown such energy from hot summers to the Alpine fresh breeze as well as a long history in winemaking:
“Slovenia has such a rich winemaking history and in excess of 28,000 wineries, producing upward of 80 million litres of wine annually from its 22,300 hectares of vineyards” source thinkslovenia
The grape of Goriška Brda is Rebula (known as Ribolla Gialla in Italy) though other varieties are also common such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.
Of the many wineries that are there, on this occasion I wish to take a look at the winery Bjana that I visited back in 2018 during my invitation to judge at the Vino Ljubljana wine awards which if I remember correctly are claimed to be the world’s oldest. A drive with my good friend Prof. Marin Berovic along with Elsie Pells from South Africa, we drove to Goriška Brda with an appointment for lunch and wines with family Sirk, the owners of Bjana wines.
“Bjana wines are produced and matured on a family estate in the heart of the Goriška Brda winegrowing district, which lies on Alpine foothills with a strong Mediterranean influence. Our wines mature in the fully restored Chateau Dorišče, home to one of the oldest cellars far and wide.“
The vision is to the best and you get the feeling of this as you are invited to explore Bjana winery. We were impressed with the new cellars to showcase what are already multi award winning traditional method sparkling wines (the prestigious trophy for ‘Classic & Elegant‘ along with gold and silver medals at the 2020 Glass of Bubbly Awards).
The homes for the wines of Bjana is Chateau Dorišče which dates back to 1288 and offers both a traditional and luxury setting. The chateau offers wine tourism with overnight accommodation and tastings / cellar tour available.
As the wines were brought to the tasting room the labels on the bottles oozed quality with welcomed consistency. The relaxing atmosphere, with no more appointments at other wineries that day for us to be rushing off to, allowed us to sit back as bottles were opened and wines poured. As with any classic and elegant premium quality sparkling wine, it improves with time in your glass… we had time on our hands to indulge.
With these warm memories in my mind, I wanted to step back in time once more and remind myself of the wonderful aromas and flavours Bjana sparkling wines hold.
Bjana Cuvée Prestige 2014 – Trophy Winner ‘Classic & Elegant’ 2020 Glass of Bubbly Awards:
“Plenty of expression on the nose after a few moments in the glass, in fact by drinking this wine too quickly you are probably missing out on it’s best qualities. This takes me back to my tasting at their winery in Goriška Brda, it raises an eyebrow. Golden fruits, buttered lightly toasted bread, a touch of walnut, citrus, faint red berries in flavours in aromas. Flavours are complex with toasty yellow fruits, citrus wet stone, creamy hazelnut, honeysuckle.”
Bjana Brut Rosé 2015 – Silver Medal Winner ‘First Date’ 2020 Glass of Bubbly Awards:
“A very summer feel to this wine. Red peach, strawberry, raspberry Chewits on the nose. Flavours are rich and elegant with red berries refreshing the palate along with a touch of floral, pasty and hints of orange peel.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.