Joško Gravner and Stanko Radikon found fame in northern Italy in the 1990s with their genre-defining ‘skin-contact’ whites, but Branko Čotar‘s wines have become equally prized.
Initially making table wines to supply his family’s trattoria, Branko closed the restaurant in 1988 to devote his time to quality viticulture. The estate is now managed by Branko’s son Vasja, who continues his father’s commitment to organic farming and artisanal winemaking.
Vasja tends 8ha of local varieties Teran, Vitovska, and Malvazija on a plateau of limestone and terra rossa soils in the tiny Slovenian village of Gorjansko. After fermentation in large barrels underground, white grapes are macerated on their skins to produce amber-coloured ‘orange’ wines with spicy fruit flavours and fine, tea-like tannins.
Combining broad stone fruit notes with a rich mineral character, Čotar’s Vitovska retains its youthful energy and crisp acidity decades after bottling. With maturity, complex herbal nuances emerge alongside a supple texture.
Loved by sommeliers for their freshness and versatility, orange wines are enjoying a renaissance because of drinkers’ quest for authenticity. With the current release of Čotar’s Vitovska at £36 (and climbing every vintage), bottles at this price provide an unmissable opportunity to try a benchmark in its category with age.
Čotar Vitovska 2011 (£29) Sold out
Taut and energetic, showing notes of peach tea, dried apricots, wet stones, and wild herbs. Pure and textural, with mouth-watering acidity and a bone-dry finish. Drink to 2025+.
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