22 February 2016

The local grapevines from Trieste’s Karst

Caught between land, sea and the Bora, here are the DOC wines

The Karst, also known as the Karsic plateau or Carsia, is a rocky limestone land that extends from the northeast of Italy to the extreme northwest of Croatia, all across western Slovenia and the north of Istria.

This plateau is home to the most important local grapevines of the territory: the Terrano, a grape with a red berry that descends from Refosco, with a ruby red colour and a dry and pleasant acidic taste; the Malvasia Istriana, a white grape, less aromatic and more mineral compared to the rest of the Malvasie; the Vitovska, a cross between Malvasia and Glera, that produces white wines that are acidic, long lasting and very refined.



The red earth, typical of the Karst land gives the wine a unique taste; the high percentage of argil, lime and oxide give the berries from the area a very characteristic flavour. But also the altitude and the microclimate have a fundamental role: the breeze from the sea brings flavour to the wine and the Bora wind dries the ground preventing mould to proliferate. The result is that cultivation undergoes very few treatments resulting in a very natural wine.


Today I decided to talk only about one of these nectars: the Karst’s Terrano (in Slovenian: teran), a DOC wine that is produced only in the province of Trieste and Gorizia (but only in the area of the Karst) and nearby in Slovenia, in the communes of Comeno and Sezana.

The Terrano is a local grapevine from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, from the family of the Refosco. The local wines obtained from the Terrano grapes were praised for their medical properties and were particularly well known for curing anaemia. The origin of the name is probably connected to the properties that the wine has (the word Terrano is similar to terra –earth), with a strong taste and an intense colour.

Terrano, Archivio STO, autore Mladenovic

In the lands of the Karst that nurture the Terrano vines, there’s a place where the rocks cliff over the sea, creating a magical atmosphere; it’s the natural reserve of the Falesie of Duino.


I’m sure you’re wondering what this change in subject has to do with wine: I’ll tell you straight away!

I’m sure that the enchanted bay that unites land and sea is familiar to you. Some of you will have seen it, others will have read my articles. Have you guessed what place I’m talking about yet? It’s the bay of “Porto Piccolo” in Sistiana (TS) where the upcoming annual edition of “Teranum e i Vini Rossi del Carso” (Terrano and the red wines of the Karst) will be held on the 18th of March. It’s a special occasion where you can meet twenty winemakers and taste their wines of the Carso Doc, like Terrano and other red wines from Italy and Slovenia.


As I’ve said, this wine is perfect with cheeses and hams and that’s why on the 18th of March you will also find some local farmers in this mash up of flavours.

And to make this evening even more special, there will also be a Slovenian chef, the acclaimed Tomaz Kavcic that will delight participants with two surprise dishes.

For the curious and impatient, here is the schedule of the event “Teranum e i Vini rossi del Carso”.



3.30 PM Conference “The history of Terrano, wines of the Karst without borders” – Bris Restaurant, Portopiccolo

(Free parking P1-P2, Portopiccolo)

5.30-10.30 PM Tasting of the culinary suggestions of the Chef and of local products from other 20 producers, red wines from the Karst and Terrano wine at Maxi’s Restaurant, Portopiccolo

(Free parking P3-P4, Portopiccolo)



PRESALE TICKET: €15,00 (presale tickets at: Bar X-via del Coroneo 11, Trieste: Caffè Vatta – via Nazionale 42, Opicina TS; Caffè Carducci – Via Duca d’Aosta 83, Monfalcone)

REDUCTION TICKET: 15,00€ (with a ONAV, SLOW FOOD or AIS membership card)

I’ve already started counting the days ‘till the event. I’ll see you on the 18th of March at Porto Piccolo to discover and explore the scents of the Karst, the sea and the Bora.



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