Today it feels as if life just began.
My heart bubbles and billows,
my soul’s light as a pillow,
as if it were drinking a cup of Teran.
The home of Teran wine bearing the mark of Recognized Traditional Denomination, known as Teran PTP in Slovenia and Terrano in Italy, is the Kras Plateau (Kras), which stretches across parts of Slovenia as well as Italy between the Bay of Trieste, the Vipava Valley, the Soča River basin and the Brkini Hills.
Lying between 200 and 400 meters above sea level, the Kras Plateau is characterized by a somewhat harsher climate, carbonate rock and red clay soil (terra rossa) rich in silicates and iron, which together create highly distinctive natural conditions. Throughout the Kras region, these shape a singular winegrowing terroir found nowhere else in the world.
Today, there are 590 ha of vineyards registered within the area of the Slovenian Kras, and 400 ha within the area of the Italian Kras. Also present is the traditional vine training system, the Kras trellis, although it is slowly losing ground due to its demanding execution.
The recommended grape varieties in Slovenia for the Kras Plateau are Malvasia and Refosco. The latter is also highly predominant, being cultivated on some 80% of winegrowing surfaces. Due to the unique geoclimatic conditions, the variety Refosco is in the Kras used to produce Teran PTP wine, or Terrano in Italy, both known as global wine specialties.
In Slovenia, Teran is protected by the mark PTP (meaning Recognized Traditional Denomination), regulated by the Rules on Wine (hereinafter: “Rules”) for recognized traditional denomination – Teran (OG RS nr. 16, 15. 2.2008). Teran PTP wine is made exclusively from grapes of the variety Refosco grown on absolute winegrowing sites, within the frame of the winegrowing sub-district of Kras or the Trieste-Komen Plateau, which stretches between the left bank of the Vipava River in the north and the Bay of Trieste in the south, the Soča Ravine in the west and the town of Ilirska Bistrica in the east. The soil, which accumulates through the decomposition or dissolution of various limestones, contains considerable amounts of carbonate skeleton which gives it the moniker kremenčica (“carbonate soil”). Extensive amounts of carbonate skeleton contribute to the greater acidity of Brz-horizons in the soil and consequently create specific conditions for the cultivation of Teran vines. Due to its characteristic intensive red colour, the soil is also known as red soil, terra rossa or jerina. Absolute winegrowing sites are airy and do not lie within the deep depressions of Kras funnels.
Refosco variety grapes for Teran PTP wine are produced according to integrated production guidelines, using the vine training systems Kras trellis or cane-training.
The Rules define Teran PTP as a red, dry, still wine with moderate alcohol content and the flavour and nose of forest fruit. The colour of Teran PTP wine is an intensive ruby red, sometimes with shades of violet. Teran PTP has a characteristically higher content of lactic acid and other organic acids and polyphenolic compounds, in particular the red pigments anthocyanins. The intensive red colour and freshness of Teran PTP is further pronounced by higher acidity compared to other red wines. On the palate, Teran PTP is dry and full-bodied with plenty of freshness and minerality.
Owing to its intensive red colour and lower alcohol content, Teran PTP is known as a healthy wine. Its colour is the result of a high concentration of biologically active red pigments called anthocyanins. These have been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, as they impede the advancement of arteriosclerosis and reduce the blood level of harmful low density cholesterol (LDL). Anthocyanins also traverse into brain cells. Available studies offer reasonable grounds to believe that they help improve brain functions and impede the occurrence of neurodegenerative conditions. In addition, anthocyanins exhibit anticarcinogenic properties. They also have a positive impact on the prevention of metabolic syndrome and diabetes occurrence, as well as on ocular health as they are proven to strengthen the walls of eye capillaries and increase their flexibility.
One of the fundamental purposes of the Agrotur project is the assessment of current winegrowing technologies with the aim of selecting the most appropriate approach to be used in vineyards to improve the quality of Teran PTP and Terrano wine. We wish to standardize the optimal winegrowing technology across the region in order to ensure the highest possible quality of the common brand. In addition to winegrowing technologies, top results also require the optimization of winemaking technologies. Special care must be placed on the timing of the harvest, overall grape health, properly monitored maceration and microbiology. Since Rules state that Teran PTP is a wine that must undergo malolactic fermentation, we will also focus on creating the perfect conditions for malolactic fermentation (addition of pure yeast culture, hygiene in the cellar).
Another purpose of the project is to examine the amount and profile of polyphenolic compounds in Refosco grapes, and Teran PTP and Terrano wine. Tannins and anthocyanins influence the aroma and colour of wine, but these compounds also exhibit notable health benefits. We will examine the potential of Refosco variety grapes throughout the Kras region with the intention of gathering clear information on the method of vinification best suited to this grape variety. In addition, data on the above-average amount of anthocyanins in Teran PTP and Terrano wine is relevant to the factual recording of its health benefits and will serve as the foundation of a legitimate and effective promotional strategy.