Address: Nemška vas 1, 8273 Leskovec pri KrškemPhone: +386 (0)31 652 343Website: https://albiana.siContact: 031/652-343, email@example.comOwner/s: Jernej ŽARENWinemaker: Mija ZarenRegional or single vineyard: Dolenjska,Hectares: 17 owned, plus 3 brought inGrapes grown: Žametna Črnina, Laski Rizling, Ranfol, Modra Frankinja, Zeleni Silvanec, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay Tasting room sales: yes
This family run winery is named after the present owner’s grandfather Albin Zaren, grandmother Ana, conflating this to Albiana. The original farm dates from 1936 when the family worked cows, apples, grapes and made a bit of wine for their own consumption. During the Tito era they focused more on grape production and sold to the local coop. Post-Tito they struck out on their own and are now one of larger local producers with 17 hectares in vines, all planted on slopes ranging between 380-420 metres.
Their region, Dolenjska, located east of Krsko and south of the Sava River is the coldest in Slovenia. Weather patterns change rapidly in this region: one moment sunny, then suddenly, violent hail. Indeed, they lost 40% of their grapes to hail in 2017. Rainy winds come from the Med to the south, with cold, continental patterns sweeping in from Russia. The same tension in summer shapes wine styles with warm, sunny days and cool nights.
Worryingly, what was once a cooler climate is generally changing towards milder winters. There has been no snow in the last three years, whereas owner, Jernej, can ‘remember winter snow consistently up to a meter high’ when he was a child 50 years ago.
Soil plays an important role in their vineyards. There is not so much limestone in the region as in elevated Steerski nearer to Austria. Their vineyards are primarily clay, which holds water in summer maintaining freshness in grapes and delays ripening. But clay content is varied and sometimes carries a mixture of marle and volcanic soil and to a much lesser degree, small amounts of limestone.
Albiana use mainly Slavonian oak barrels which differs from French or American oak by its beautiful pink-tinged color and delicate grain. Part of a growing trend toward returning to Slovenian roots, they are steadily adding large 2,500 litre oval barrels more common to previous generations. All of which amplify fruit and de-emphasize intrusive smaller oak barrel derived flavors, aromas and tannins.
Production is just shy of 50,000 bottles per year and isn’t available beyond Slovenia yet. Most goes to wine bars and some of Slovenia’s top restaurants.
One of their main wines is Cviček, a traditional wine for everyday use, previously meant to replace poor quality water. Freshness is key here, with wines ready to drink in October and usually drunk up by April. Generally sold in one litre bottles at inexpensive prices, alcohol is kept low around 10% and acidity kept high (legislated by law) to balance against food (especially pork). Locals often add sparkling water to create a cheerful, quaffing wine. Each winery has its own ‘house style’ blending local grapes like Zametna Crnina, Laski Rizling, Ranfol, Modra Frankinja or Zeleni Silvanec with an emphasis on fruitiness without being overtly sweet. Jernej says they sell a lot of Cvicek.
Traditional oval barrels made from oak grown on the estate