Puklavec & Friends Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Slovenia
1 Apr 2011 by Jancis Robinson

£6.74 until Tuesday

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As I discovered on my only visit there in 2008, Slovenia produces a host of excellent wines that deserve to be better known by the outside world (see Slovenia - land of extreme winemaking). Wines made in the western regions can be very like some of Friuli's most characterful wines while those made in the east have much in common with some of those made in Styria, south-eastern Austria.

In general, Slovenian wines are less expensive than their counterparts across the border but this particular wine is especially well priced in the UK at the moment because it is on special offer - not the usual £8.99 but just £6.74 in most branches of Waitrose until next Tuesday 5 April. There may still be some stock available online here too.

This is a really excellent price for a vibrant, dry Sauvignon Blanc, hugely reminiscent of the fine Sauvignons of Styria, that tastes as though it is currently at its peak. Puklavec & Friends Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Štajerska Slovenija is much drier and more concentrated than the average Marlborough Sauvignon, but is more assertive than a typical Loire Sauvignon with lots of confident, 'green', fresh vegetation aromas and firm fruit on the palate. This is a Sauvignon to make your mouth water. While it could be drunk without food, it is certainly dry enough to serve with a wide variety of fish dishes. For some reason, I can't imagine it going with pasta - too aromatic perhaps?

Presumably the fact that Puklavec & Friends is Slovenia's largest private wine producer, with access to about 1,200 ha of vineyards, half of them their own, has helped to keep the price this low. On the label on the screwcapped bottle, much is made of the fact that the fruit was picked by hand. To judge from Puklavec's well designed but not awfully informative website, the vineyards here are pretty spectacular, steep green terraces around Jeruzalem-Ormoz in Podrave, inland Slovenia, that were once associated with the infamous brand of my youth, Port of London. Instead, this label even gives us the precise picking dates: 19 and 23 September 2009.

Sad to say, I can't find evidence of this wine's being on sale anywhere other than the UK, although the producer's website suggests that the wines are particularly well distributed in the Netherlands.

I know from my experience tasting a wide range of Slovenian wines both in the country itself in 2008 and at their last big generic tasting in London (see Slovenians woo the British) that the country produces scores of even better wines than this. (Purple pagers can see my tasting notes on a wide range of them.) Do click on the Slovenia tag below for more coverage, and wherever you are, try to taste some of these well-made marvels.

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