Spirited and dynamic, with spectacular aromatic complexity, with touches of honey, ripe pear, quince, acacia, peach, quinine, green olive and a lovely, bitter bite. The palate is comparable in its interest and class, with a healthy dose of honeyed, toasty fruit and a crunchy, cooking apple slant (10.4%).
Not available in the UK or USA

SOME OF US are old enough to remember when the name Laški Rizling was a byword for cheap white wine of dubious quality from the former Yugoslavia. But if you belong to that generation, hold the thought and take a look at the list of wines that Ptujska Klet beat to win this year’s International Trophy.

It’s a who’s who of dessert wine: Sauternes, German eiswein, Austrian Ruster Ausbruch, Vin de Constance, Tokaj, vin santo… And, in a final taste-off with Inniskillin’s Riesling Icewine, this Slovenian sweet wine won over the judges with its fine fruit character, precision, excellent balance and length.

Winemaker Bojan Kobal puts this down to a winemaking style typical of the photogenic Podravje region. That means combining dried grapes with straw wine and producing something that ‘reflects the fingerprint of nature’. His goal, he adds, is ‘to make wines to suit every moment of people’s lives, but not lose the originality of the terroir and the signature of the winery’.

There were signs of this last year, when two of Kobal’s dry Sauvignon Blancs won Regional Trophies, but in truth the Ptujska Klet winery has been honing its craft for longer than that. It claims to be the oldest winery in Slovenia, dating back to 1239 and boasting the greatest cellar in central Europe, including wines from 1917.

Pullus 5

Ptujska Klet’s manicured vineyards in Podravje – it claims to be Slovenia’s oldest winery

Tasted against

Bürgerspital Würzburger Abstleite Riesling Eiswein, Franken, Germany 2011 • Castello Sonnino, Vin Santo del Chianti, Tuscany, Italy 2008 • Château Laville, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France 2011 • Feiler-Artinger Ruster Ausbruch, Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, Burgenland, Austria 2012 • Holdvögly Culture, Tokaj, Hungary 2011 • Inniskillin, Okanagan Estate Riesling Icewine, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada 2012 • Klein Constantia, Vin de Constance, Constantia, South Africa 2009 • Ktima Gerolemo, Commandaria, Cyprus 2007 • Kutvejo, Traminac Ice Wine, Slavonia, Croatia 2011 • La Reserva de Caliboro, Erasmo Late Harvest Torontel, Maule, Chile 2010.