"Šipon – C‘est bon!" The sentence could be loudly heard in the time of Napoleon, when he and his soldiers marched through our land. And truly, it is a wine like no other, our special Šipon. It is not the only wine. Numerous other wines keep it company, local as well as those from other parts of the world: Italian Riesling (laški rizling), Sauvignon, Rhine Riesling (renski rizling), Chardonnay, Traminer (traminec), Pinot gris (sivi pinot), Pinot noir (modri pinot), Blaufränkisch (modra frankinja) … The hands of our wine-makers imprint their personal character and signature into their wines. We grow vines and keep wines for all tastes of the world.
ŠIPON – WHO WOULD NOT LOVE YOU?
When we offer a good Šipon, the excellent one picked in late autumn, almost everyone – be it an experienced or inexperienced wine drinker, nods enthusiastically. Excellent wine! Why is this so even though people try the wine for the first time in their life and its name is difficult for them to pronounce?!
Šipon is distinguished by the pleasant fruity scent (of ripe pineapple), the whiff of green almonds, hazelnuts, even mowed grass and hay. The scent could even remind someone of olive oil and the fish floating in it! When the vine really does not bear much and the wine grower carefully weights up their steps, it has a full, rich body and a lively but moderate acidity.
What would we do without legends?! One says that Šipon was named by Napoleon's soldiers on their walk through the wine-growing region around here; they tasted the local wine and commented "C'est bon!" The residents of Prlekija heard this their own way and it got to be called Šipon. In Croatia it is called pušipel, in Tokaj it is furmint and it is the main variety of the famous Tokaji wines.
In his book Vinoreja (Wine growing) from 1844, one of the first technical books on viticulture, oenology as well as wine marketing in general, Matija Vrtovec wrote these words about Šipon: "Rare are places which satisfy it, and rare are the places warm enough. Happy is the place, which suits it! From its vine one can get the most generous Styrian drop ..."
Šipon belongs to varieties which ripen last. The grapes are fairly large, the berries are slightly oblong – more egg-shaped. The skin is not particularly thick and is prone to burst. Šipon is a child of long and beautiful autumns when winemakers produce truly exceptional Šipons.
As our ancestors wrote, Šipon loves sandy soil where water drains quickly and the yield on the vine must be modest if we want excellent quality. The old records say that Šipon should be picked after St. Teresa (October 15).
However, if the autumn is beautiful, long and dry and there are major differences between temperatures during the day and night, if the grapes are attacked by noble rot and if there is a wind that begins to dry out the berries, there is no variety that produces such a dry berry selection. The skin of Šipon is just right for slow drying; this way dry berries called cibebe can be formed. The juice in the berries is concentrated and we get truly exceptional qualities.
Because of these characteristics, Šipon is also ideal for the production of other special qualities – late harvesting, selection berries etc. and it is especially ideal for ice wine. Šipons of excellent vintages are also excellent in ageing and Šipon from the honourable year 1927 is among the oldest wines in Slovenia; it is kept by the Ptuj Wine Cellar. Among the refined but still very lively varieties are dry berry selections from the 1970s kept by the Ormož Archive Wine Cellar.
One advice for wine drinkers – a good Šipon must be at least a year old, an even better one two or three!