No, this isn’t a review. It’s but a brief examination into the origins of Ritoznojčan, a Slovenian regional blend whose name quite unfortunately translates to Ass Sweat. (In both common US and UK English usage.)
True, the sweat that rolled off the hairy hind ends of over-worked peasant pickers does play a key role in the wine’s name, but it wasn’t just your average everyday ass sweat that led to this marketing nightmare for potential foreign importers. (“Hi honey, I’m home! I picked up a DVD and a bottle of Ass Sweat for tonight!” No, even the most open-minded of today’s wine consumers aren’t quite there yet.)
Back in the day, when pickers worked day and night for the counts who ruled these parts of Slovenia’s Štajerska, the landowners displayed their genial nature and kind-heartedness by allowing harvesters to keep an entire day’s worth of pickings for themselves. It was on that particular day, so the story goes, that the locals worked the hardest, thus the colorful descriptor.
Mainly produced around Slovenska Bistrica in the northeast Posavje region’s Maribor area, Ritoznojčan is a dry blend of Laški and Renski Rizlings and Šipon, is generally light in alcohol (usually less than 11%), quite crisp and moderately fruity. Fittingly, it’s probably best on a sweaty summer’s day.
Judging from the few I’ve tried, it’s not a blend that will knock your socks off, but it is a wine that in the end, quite thankfully, does not live up to its name.