Rouge, Piquentum, 2011 (Istria, Croatia) $25
It’s been a while since a Croatian producer has excited me this much but Piquentum is raising the bar for his neighbors with every vintage. It is a place with a sense of history, now in the hands of Dimitri Brecevic, who was born in the French Basque region to a French mother and Croatian father.
Brecevic studied enology in France, trained at the prestigious Domaine de Chevalier in St. Emilion and traipsed through the world, picking grapes from France to Australia before going to his family homeland in Buzet on the Istrian coast. Since 2004, he has been working in a water cistern when Mussolini ruled the land. The structure served as a war shelter during the Balkans war.
It has a natural cooling system, usually not the least of a problem except for the fact that it is too cold for fermentation to begin without inoculation. Brecevic’s answer for this is to circulate warmer air from outside using a fan to bring the temperature up to a balmy 57 degrees.
At first he purchased grapes but is slowly bringing 11 acres of his own fruit on line. He works organically using a minimal sulphur and copper in the vineyard. The fruit he buys is from organic or truly sustainable growers who pick by hand.
Made from Teran, a lighter, brighter version of Refosk, this is a delightful, youthful albeit somewhat rustic wine with spice, plums, red berries and a ferrous like note in the nose. 13.5%
Suggested Retail is $25 meaning that you won’t see it for more and I think that is the upward limit. Anything in the $20 – $25 is fair. A solid, tasty wine that beyond one dimensional but won’t cause you to wax and wane.