Sixth generation winemaker, Andrej Kristančič, combines his deep knowledge of the land with a low intervention winemaking approach. His family winery, Nando Wine, is famous for its excellent orange and skin-contact wines.
Nando vineyards are found in Goriska Brda, in Primorska region of Slovenia, right on the border with the Italian Friuli-Collio. In fact, out of 5.5 hectares, 60% are located on Italian territory, and another 40% – in Slovenia. Such ‘dual citizenship’ of the vineyards is not uncommon in this part of the world.
Andrej Kristančič now runs the winery named after his great-great-grandfather, Nando. The latter started making wine when Slovenia was still part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. During the Yugoslavian regime, private wineries were banned, so Kristančič family, along with the other farmers in the area, sold bulk to the local cooperative.
In 1991, after Slovenia gained independence, Andrej Kristančič took the opportunity to give a new life to the old family business.
The winemaking approach was chosen pretty much from the start. When Andrej tasted natural wines for the first time, he was so impressed by how different they are from everything he had before, that he decided that natural winemaking would be the course of Nando Wine. Today, Kristancic’ trademark is a low interventionist style, combined with a true farmer’s knowledge of the land and his personal understanding of wine.
From Vines To Wines
Primorska region of Slovenia is favoured by the Mediterranean micro-climate. Warm sea air, arriving from the Adriatic sea in the south, is mixed with cooler winds from the Julian Alps, located north of the Nando vineyards. This unique climate is perfectly suited for white grapes.
Scenic terraced vineyards are planted at altitudes of 100-200 metres. Nando works with both local and international grapes: Rebula, Furmint, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The vines’ age ranges from 9 to 40 years, with naturally low yields of 4000 to 6000 kg. per hectare. The vineyards are planted on poor soil of marl or “ponka” as it’s known in the local Slovenian dialect.
In the vineyard, Kristančič follows an organic approach. This means that no chemical pesticides or harmful fertilisers are used. The soil is planted with grass, and most of the work is done manually. When it comes to winemaking, Andrej is consistent, allowing nature to take its course. He does not use any artificial yeasts and the fermentation happens spontaneously. Minimal amounts of S02 are added only at bottling.
There are two distinct ranges under the Nando Brand: Blue Label and Black Label.
Blue Label releases are young fruit-forward wines, made with skin-contact from 12 hours up to 8 days and fermented in steel tanks.
As for Black Label wines, they are made following a more traditional Slovenian style of “orange” winemaking, with a longer skin-contact of up to 30 days, followed by fermentation in old wood barrels.