Carso, Friuli Venezia Giulia

Matej Skerlj farms just three hectares of vines across a collection of tiny parcels hidden amongst the Carso.

The rocky plateau of karst terrain sits just inland from the sparkling waters of the Adriatic, making for a remarkable terroir. The vines are planted over a thin surface of red earth rich in iron, with the limestone bedrock of the karst sitting right below. The land produces luminous wines, with a profound sense of minerality. The plateau is cooled by a breeze from the sea and the bora, a wind that comes from mountains to the east. This is a unique microclimate, that in the right hands can produce wonderful wines.

Matej is humble and hardworking. He is inspired by this special place he calls home and hopes to make wines that are true to it. His family has been growing grapes here for three generations and in 1965 opened up the doors of their home as an osmizza, selling their wine and the wonderful prosciutto they make from local pigs. The doors are still open today.

Matej farms organically, by hand and with real integrity. This is a harsh terrain. Vines vary in age and are planted at a density of up to ten thousand plants per hectare, promoting competition between the plants and resulting in fruit that is complex and intense.

In the cantina he takes a considered approach, with long, gentle macerations and an élevage of several years in old wooden casks before release. The resulting wines display a great deal of purity, harmony and finesse, along with a wonderful sense of place.