In past articles we have been talking and interviewing producers of our beloved Orange wines from Oslavia, a town located in the heart of Gorizia, the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. We talked to Boris Primosic from Primosic, Josko Gravner and Stefano Bensa from La Castellada. Today we are moving a little further down to the Southeast, where the Carso-Kras DOC is located. Here we will find Sandi Skerk, owner and winemaker of Azienda Agricola Skerk.

Sandi is a winegrower, the soul behind a wine as he likes to say. It is a way of life where he puts all his passion about making wine. From the moment he decides the grape variety he wants to grow until he sees the final product in a bottle. In the vineyard he likes low yielding and a high-density cultivation. Sandi selects the most suitable pruning techniques and canopy management so this way he leaves the plant exposed to the sun. The treatment of the vines is reduced to a minimum, no use of chemical fertilizers at all.

When the time for harvest comes, grapes are picked up by hand and the must macerates in contact with their skins. No added yeasts and enzymes and no fining down and filtering. The goal is to produce a wine true to the character of the grapes and the terroir.

The area is known as the Karst. The soil is red and stony and it is located close to the Adriatic Sea and the Pre-Julian Alps, creating a microclimate with marked temperature fluctuations, marine breezes and the effect of the strong Bora winds that favor so much the growth of the local grape varieties.

Azienda Agricola Skerk is a small winery, owning 7 hectares of vineyards and producing around 20,000 bottles per year of four wines, two single varietal whites, one white blend and one red.

Here we find the Malvasia, the Vitovska and the Sauvignon, wonderful white varieties, and the Terrano, an intense red full-bodied wine rich in iron and minerals.

The two single varietal white wines are:

The Vitovska (2014) comes from a vineyard with a density of 8000 plants/ha and a yielding of 35-40 ql/ha. After destemming, the maceration with the skins takes 10 days in oak casks. After this, the wine stays over its lees for 12 months, then it ages 12 more months in big oak vats and in bottle for six months.

The Malvasia (2014) comes from a vineyard with a density of 8000 plants/ha and a yielding of 35-40 ql/ha. The cellar work is the same as for the Vitovska; maceration with the skins for 10 days in oak casks, 12 months over its lees, 12 more months in big oak vats and six months of aging in bottle.

Ograde (2014) is the white blend, their top tier wine. The name comes for the word used to designate a small plot enclosed by a stone wall for keeping outside animals such sheep or goats. It is also the name of the land where the cellar is located.

Ograde is a blend of Vitovska, Malvasia, Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio. 10 days of maceration in oak vats, 12 months over its lees, 12 more months in big oak vats and six months of aging in bottle. Truly a champion in the region.

The red wine is the Terrano (2014), produced using the local Refosco variety. The vineyard has a density of 8000 plants/ha and a yielding of 35-40 ql/ha. The must macerates for 10 days with the skins in oak vats, then 12 months in oak barrels. The same amount of time stays in 2,500-liter botti and then 4-6 months in the bottle before being released.

All wines are Carso-Kras DOC

Soon we will talk to Sandi about his winemaking philosophy and his wines.

Photos © Azienda Agricola Skerk

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