Matija Žerjav, known as Matic to his friends, is one Slovenia’s youngest winemaking talents. Having taken over his family vineyards in Stajerska at the age of 24, he quickly earned a reputation for his expressive, unique, natural wines. Matic wine range includes crisp whites, textured orange wines and playful Pet Nats.
Matic’ 9 hectares of vineyards are found in Stajerska region, close to the border with Austria, in north-eastern Slovenia. When compared to the renowned Primorska region with its acclaimed Vipava valley, this part of the country is flying somewhat under the radar.
Despite the fact that Stajerska produces just under a half of all Slovenian wine, this region has not been so well-known internationally. However, the new generation of bold and talented winemakers, like Matic, are rapidly changing the status quo.
‘We work only with what nature gives us,‘ says Matic, ‘so no chemicals in our wines.’
To him, winemaking is a very personal process. He cultivates his vines organically and biodynamically so that one day his children can safely play in the vineyard, and so that one day he can pass on the torch to them.
Matic makes wines the same way his grandfather did, without any additives, because he believes that this is the best way to express the land, but also the personality of the winemaker.
From Vines To Wines
Stajerska is located in the so-called ‘mountain wine zone‘, which naturally can get very cold. According to Matic, harsh winters are good for the vines as the cold ‘disinfects’ the soil.
The soil here is reach in marl and the vines’ roots run very deep in search of water. The vineyards are not irrigated and no chemical fertilisers or pesticides are used. According to the biodynamic principles, Matic treats the vines only with natural remedies. In addition, all the work in the vineyard and at the winery is done according to the moon calendar.
This part of Slovenia is historically known for white wines. In his vineyard, Matic grows local indigenous grapes, such as Sipon (Furmint) and Kerner, but also Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Matic Sipon wines are true superstars of Stajerska. Coming from nearly 50-year old vineyards, they show true characteristics of this grape, with beautiful stone fruits and a burst of freshness which leaves you craving for more.
The winemaking approach is as little intervention as possible. Matic wines are wildly fermented, with no additives and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moreover, Matic is tireless in his wine experiments. Skin-contact wines, clay amphora aging, Pet-Nats, concrete eggs used for fermentation – you name a natural wine trend and he has probably tried it (and quite successfully too!). One thing remains unchanged: all wines mature in a very old underground cellar built in 1852 which Matic inherited from his grandfather.