Ptujska Klet (Pullus)

Pullus sign
Ptujska kletRegion: ŠTAJERSKA HALOZE
Address: Vinarski trg 1, 2250 PtujPhone: 02 78 79 810Website:     Contact: Maks KADIVEC // 051/333-841,, Ptujska.klet@perutnina.euOwners: Perutnina Ptuj groupWinemaker: Maksimiljan KadivecBranded wines: Pullus, Haložan, Pinky ChickVineyards: none owned, 300ha grapes bought in from long-term  winegrowers, 80% from terraces, 5% single vineyardsGrapes grown: Welschriesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Yellow  Muscat, Müller Turgau, Furmint, Many others 

Ptujska Klet (meaning Ptuj’s Winery) is the oldest winery in Slovenija. A major source of pride is holding the oldest surviving Slovenian wine, called Zlata Trta (Golden Vine) which dates from 1917. This contained alongside 200,000 older wines in their archive cellar (established 1873). Wines there are represented in depth in all varieties.

Nationalized directly after 2nd world war winery was nationalized. Returning to private hands in 2003, in 2007 it established the new Pullus brand (meaning a young rooster) intent on encouraging wine with food, chicken production being Ptuj’s major industry. This rebirth also introduced a new focus on technology and reductive winemaking to bring styles into line for modern drinkers. The payoff has been that Pullus was the most awarded Slovenian brand between 2012 until 2018

The hills around Ptuj have grown grapes well before it became an important Roman capital city. And the town itself has been an important exporter of wine time over the last two millennia. Grapes are sourced primarily from small (1-3ha) parcels owned by former coop members, totaling 300ha. About 80% are grown on steep slopes (up to 400m) in surrounding Haloze and Srednjeslovenske Gorice subregions (plus a few in Maribor) where temperatures can drop 10-15 degrees overnight in August ensuring great natural acidity.

Located in the heart of Ptuj, the old 1945 winery, built around a central courtyard, is atmospheric to say the least. The tasting room, thankfully, hasn’t been renovated and has a real feel for a bygone era in Slovenian wine history, which is nice.

The winery itself has all the modern stainless steel technology and small oak barriques anyone would want, but also retains large quantities of traditional 1000+ wooden barrels for neutral wood maturation. There is continuity between modern Pullus and the people who built Ptuj’s wine cellar more than a century ago.

Ptujska Klet clearly has access to a wide variety of vineyards across three regions offering blending base material for large volumes of good quality wine at relatively sharp prices, as well as single vineyard material for higher quality reserve level bottlings.

Winemaker Maksimiljan Kadivec says that Sauvignon Blanc was ‘always the most consistent wine in their archives. It arrived in Slovenia 200 years ago with Pinot Gris and Chardonnay and found its place under the sun.’ He has fifty 1-3 hectare parcels of Sauvignon to play around with each vintage. Usually the same vineyards consistently deliver the best grapes each year. These become the core material around which other parcels are added to seek out optimum aroma, mouthfeel and aftertaste.

His G series Sauvignon is made only in best years and usually from same Haloze vineyard.  Stylistically it is always more herbacious, fuller bodied, with better integrated, juicer grapes and higher alcohol.

Pullus Winemaker Maksimiljan Kadivec speculates on differences between the modern styles of last decade and traditional wines of past. He thinks the old wines had low ph (much higher acidity). Basket presses were used, so no long skin contact and grapes were pressed directly into large barrels and left until bottling.  There were no selected yeasts and wild yeast strains may have boosted fruitiness. Previously there was no racking of hard lees to remove nutrients and fermentation was at higher temperatures. 

Few other wineries offer an opportunity to taste the differences between the modern styles of last decade and traditional Slovenian wines that came before. Maksimiljan Kadivec reckons the old wines had low ph (much higher acidity). Basket presses were used then, so no long skin contact and grapes were pressed directly into large barrels and left until bottling. There were no selected yeasts to alter aromas and flavors, so wild yeast strains and higher fermentation temperatures created different characters.

Generally speaking, older wines were lower in alcohol, more around 11.5% or below, and had more residual sugar, 8-12 grams vs 2-4 now. In some ways they resembled German Kabinett or Spatlese styles today. All in all, todays wines are more aromatic, more freshly fruited, consistent and dryer, on the other hand, older styles had more minerality, complex fruits and followed the ups and downs of seasonal weather more closely in more interesting ways.

Ptujska Klet have been making wine for decades that stand the test of time. Few other wineries in the world can pull out bottles that were made before your mother was born.

Which is kinda cool. 

View Pullus wine notes here

Ancient engraved Pullus barrels

Traditional large barrels with carvings that tell a story

Pullus wines

Winemaker Maksimiljan Kadivec

Winemaker Maks Kadivec