The Karst, A Troublesome Terrain with Tremendous Wines

Check out what makes the Karst terrain so challenging and so rewarding. We’ll find out about one wine-maker who knows just what it takes for wine success.

By Andrea Grignaffini
Dec 03, 2020
tagAlt.Edi Kante Karst Vineyards Countryside cover

The Karst, on the slopes of the Julian Alps, is a rugged area, and an extremely difficult patch of land to govern. The Karst, being a physical border line, also represents the ultimate limit between Italy and Slovenia, an area historically marked by the pretensions of both nations.

It is a land where the arid, stony soil is particularly impervious, demanding sweat and tears of those who want to reveal its richness. The few persevere, who make the required sacrifices, however, find a treasure in their hands. Edi Kante is one of those, a tireless and vigorous wine producer who has devoted his body and soul entirely to the vine and its land, but with the order of preference still uncertain.

Kante's long journey has led him to live together in symbiosis with his chosen land, to exalt the peculiarities of this habitat as its brilliant spokesman and champion.  Kante daily undertakes the challenges of identifying the most suitable vines, those able to resist the powerful lashes of the Trieste wind, and to feed on the meagre contribution provided by the arid limestone and red earth-rich soil.  It's no accident that native vines are the flagship vines of the territory.  

With these considerations in mind, Kante's cellar was constructed in 1980, a cellar completely at one with and within the Karst.  Kante's cellar was built directly into an existing cave, and arranged on several levels. Here the living stone rooms host the grapes during the vinification and maturation phases, organically guaranteeing stable humidity levels and temperatures, and playing a decisive role in the success of the wines produced here.

A wine that Edi skillfully guides within their natural inclinations, and a wine faithfully reflecting the territory in which it is born through an evident imprint of salinity, possibly via minerality and acidity. We find this most markedly in the Chardonnay 'La Bora.'  La Bora, after 12 months of fermentation and aging in worn barriques, is transferred directly into bottles, without filtering.  La Bora is then left to age in bottles for at least another three years before being revealed to the palate of the fortunate wine adventurer. The result is a charismatic wine, whose fresh, delicate, herbaceous notes happily merge with the typical buttery component of Chardonnay.  The wine's structure is reminiscent of the watermark, savory and golden, which rekindles the sip and overwhelms the senses.

The 2018 line of sulphite-free wines are of tremendous interest.  These wines were exactly 20 years old before they began demonstrating the clean-tasting concepts that are absolute dogma for Edi Kante, concepts obtained only through a maniacal selection of grapes, berry by berry.  Kante's wines are distinguished by an eloquent label that, through stalagmites and stalactites, recalls the karstic cave in which they take shape. Not only Chardonnay, but also Malvasia and Sauvignon, varieties that change year to year, depending on the climate.

The 2018 vintage is fascinatingly sealed with crown corks so that oxygen does not in any way condition the aging process, but that in 2019 leaves room in part also for cork, in a continuous search for perfection. Particularly intriguing is the KM Malvasia 2018, vinified in short six months inside steel, and bottled without added sulfites. This wine and these grapes have absorbed the primeval fragrance of their native vines in absolute, total purity.

Love reading about amazing Italian wine regions?  Be sure to check out the Mamablip Blog index for loads more tips and info on some regions you might already know, and loads more you don't.  

If tastings are right up your alley of interest, check out Filippo Bartolotta's Brunello di Montalcino tasting series with Mamablip here - so many wines to check out, so much time to do it in too!  

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