The Slovenia Times

Beyond mere promotion - a story about falling in love


A few months ago, the "wine-bible" Decanter, the world's most respected wine magazine read in 92 countries, announced their selection of the best Pinot Gris in the world. Slovenian Pinot Gris from TILIA ESTATE in the Vipava Valley. The wine, described as "wine with real depth and drive", made it to the very top. Who is the mastermind behind? The founder, Matjaž Lemut, the co-owner and the oenologist, is the mastermind and main driving force of the family-owned TILIA ESTATE.

When the famous wine correspondent from the Financial Times, Jancis Robinson, visited TILIA ESTATE in Potoče, Vipava Valley, she described its founder, Matjaž Lemut, as "the most cosmopolitan Slovenian producer". No wonder - he gained his wealth of experience in Switzerland and California, and his knowledge and passion for winemaking are highly appreciated around the globe. As an internationally acclaimed expert in viticulture and winemaking, he is a sought-after oenologist. He consults to the Croatian wineries, Feravino in Slavonija and Ipša in Istria, Rebula Svetlik etc. His wines are featured at acclaimed restaurants and stores in Belgium, France, Germany, Croatia, Poland, the Czech Republic and US. Under the slogan "House of Pinots", Matjaž and his team strive to compete with the world's greatest masters.

But, stopping at Lemut's impressive recognitions would be a cardinal error. What really makes a difference and is noticed by every single guest of his cellar - "placed only four hours from Liverpool Street", as he likes to say, is his awareness that a great customer experience doesn't just happen. It is planned, designed and mindfully delivered. A special mash-up consisting of superior quality wine being poured in a deeply simpatico way and Lemut, sharing his knowledge in his humble way whilst paying attention to the smallest detail - seems to be his way of achieving customer delight. Well, perhaps a bit of charm from the founder's intense, deep-set eyes, the perfect expression of his unique self and his unique wine. He is certainly making the most of his love for wine and consequently, he has put Slovenia on the world map for producing this divine drink of the gods.

What are your key principles in winemaking?

Wine creation combines the potential of the vineyard, wine cellar and the oenologist. It is the equilibrium of the grape quality, the consistency of technological procedures and the creativity and character of the winemaker. It is delightful when wine is a reflection from whom it was created (from the winemaker's perspective), while from the wine lover's perspective the question should be with whom would you like to enjoy it?

You produce several wines: Pinot Gris, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Muscat, Merlot, however Pinot Noir seems to have a special meaning. It is one of the most sensuously fragrant red grapes and the wine is one the most highly prized in the world. Why did you choose to master it? 

The majority of the winemakers claim that Pinot Noir is demanding, problematic, even moody and predictable, while for me it simply beautifully challenging. We all aspire to be creative. We seek opportunities to test our capabilities, our limits in achieving something provocative, something beyond the usual expectations. I guess it gives us a sense of fulfilment and purpose. In my case, this is Pinot Noir.

You are organising the first Pinot Noir Festival and Master Class in Slovenia, which will take place on 20-21 October at the Kendov Dvorec Relais & Châteaux. What is the key message?

Firstly, production of Pinot Noir in Slovenia has been developing remarkably, creativity is high. We have most certainly reached the turning point. Secondly, Pinot Noir is a wine that demands communication between the wine maker and the wine lover. So, the timing for the first festival devoted to the celebration of Pinot Noir is perfect - and who else is called to organise it if not us, the House of Pinots.


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