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Wagging Your Tail – Raise Your Glasses and Discover “Pasji Rep” Winery

Wagging Your Tail – Raise Your Glasses and Discover “Pasji Rep” Winery

Pasji Rep, a valley first mentioned as a vineyard site in a land registry as far back as 1476. The name itself translates as “dog’s tail”, probably because of the valley’s peculiar shape and the stream that runs right through it.

It is not now as it hath been of yore… Once upon a time, every household in Orehovica, a small town in Vipava valley, had a vineyard to call its own. 18th Century maps, back when Maria Theresia still ruled the roost, clearly show over 200 hectares in Pasji Rep under vines. 

Zelen, Pinela, Klarnica: the Vipava’s indigenous varieties, once on the verge of extinction, have now been brought back to life. Yet, these days, no more than 5% of the land that once constituted Pasji Rep’s once-famous vineyards is still being farmed.Pasji-Rep-Valley

Seven of the remaining ten or so hectares now thrive thanks to the devotion and skill of Franc Premrn and his son Samo. They must be given credit for believing in old grape varieties, Zelen in particular, as well as for upholding the legacy of their ancestors.

Some thirty-five years ago, many were abandoning their vineyards, but Franc refused to give up. Instead, he decided to try and nurse some old vineyards back to life, while planting new ones at several different sites. So began the new age of Zelen from Pasji Rep Valley, now nurtured by Pasji Rep Winery.

Zelen, which translates as “green”, got its name from the pale green color of its shoots and leaves.Pasji-Rep-vineyards

Pasji Rep winery has now honed its handling of Zelen to perfection. Zelen carries freshness and elegance. Sporting overtones of grass and green fruit in less successful vintages, it is herbal flavors, stone fruit, sage, and chestnut flavors that tend to emerge in the better ones. Pasji Rep winery conducts three separate vinifications of Zelen: one batch undergoes the conventional treatment, another is macerated for three to five days, and a third, from the best plots, goes into a large wooden barrel. In the end, all three are blended together for another eight months of battonage.

Perhaps this is why each sip resonates and leaves a buzz on your palate. Almost surprising, after such a gentle intro… Scents of pollen, vegetables, tonic water, and stony flavors emerge, especially if the wine is not over-chilled and is allowed to gradually open up and properly unfold in a suitable wine glass. And indeed, there is definitely something “green” lurking amid all this golden maturity. 

True, Pasji Rep’s Zelen displays quite a degree of complexity, and its expression is sophisticated. Nonetheless, it remains an essentially easy-drinking wine: the balance is so captivating that the wine does not require a ton of extract to make an impression.

In other news, Pasji Rep Winery also makes some beautiful Malvasia, as well as clean and elegant amber/orange wines. Moreover, their Pinot Noir is definitely noteworthy, too, one of the subtlest PNs around, and not just in the Vipava, but across all of Slovenia.

And we’re not even done yet… Pasji Rep also makes a Merlot, a variety first planted in the Vipava back in the mid-60s, alongside Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon. Now, Merlots being a dime a dozen across the world these days, surely, it takes a supersexy effort to even make it interesting. But this… this is serious stuff. Impeccable balance in every sense. Old-vine Merlot planted on flysch, its precious fruit handled with great care: this is a rare find.

Powerful yet gentle at the same time, with a great presence and persistence on the palate. A dizzying kaleidoscope of aromas, depth, and complexity, all bearing witness to the unique character of this very special vineyard simply named “Breg”.Pasji-Rep-bottles

Jebatschin is yet another name associated with Pasji Rep Winery. The name carries rather titillating overtones in most Slavic languages, but the actual intrigue is hidden inside the bottle. While the exact blend of this red wine varies from vintage to vintage, essentially, this is a blend of hand-picked Merlot and Cabernet Franc, destemmed, crushed, fermented spontaneously, and then left to rest in 228L French oak barrels.

Finally… Just to make sure… Did I mention that Pasji Rep is certified organic? I don’t really have to, do I? Just chill it very slightly and taste it. It will lift your spirit and have you wagging your tail in no time at all :). Cheers!

Nenad Trifunovic
Professional Wine drinker ;)

Moderator of a series of wine workshops and educator of wine course (Wine Reading), promoter of table culture and wine writer, most famous as an author of the most influential Croatian wine blog (

2 responses to “Wagging Your Tail – Raise Your Glasses and Discover “Pasji Rep” Winery”

  1. Dario Drmac says:

    Excelent article

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