This is Brda, a land of plump cherries (Briške Cešnje), rustic hotpots (Kúhnje), veal stew (Žvarcet) and cake stuffed with walnuts and raisins (Hubánca). And also an important centre of Natural Wine production.
Now natural wine raises some controversy. It seems you either like the styles – a result of minimalist, ‘natural’, organic, wine production processes – or you find them too extreme and away from ‘proper wine’. Extended skin contact gives an orange colour to white wines for example. They can also be cloudy (less filtration) and should offer a more intense rendition of the grapes used than ‘normal’ wine. But many of the wines can degenerate into something akin to cider both in taste and aroma; it is these wines that cause the ‘issues’ and I have to say are really not for me either. A wine really shouldn’t taste or look like a cider!
During the visit to Slovenia several of these cider-esque examples were offered. And they stood out against other examples that were wonderfully coloured and intensely fragrant.
A small range of wines are produced – all biodynamic – the Klinec Malvasia (Malvazija) 2009 [Adegga / Snooth was a crisp delight, with an intenseness that worked beautifully with a few slices of the estates own dried meat. Deeper and more intense on the palate than a ‘usual’ Malvasia due to the extended skin contact enabled during the winemaking process. A showcase example for natural wines, one of the orange variety.
It was the Klinec Móra 2006 [Adegga / Snooth] that totally impressed however. This dark, chocolate tinged, ripe beauty is made only from the very best harvests. A mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (10%) sees a long period in cherry barrels and a further year in bottle before release. I’m sure it doesn’t come cheap and I note with sadness that it isn’t being shown at the RAW Fair. Shame.
The few days in Slovenia was enlivened and impassioned by having Isabelle Legeron MW as host and guide.
The Raw Fair – an excellent place to sample Natural Wines – aka The Artisan Wine Fair takes place in London 19-20th May 2013. The Fair is open to general consumers and not just the wine trade. The Klinec Estate will be at stand 150 showing 5 wines from their range.
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