February 27, 2013

Appel on Wine: Slovenian winemaker keeps it real

By Joe Appel

(Continued from page 1)

The aromatics speak intensely of peaches, green grapes and underripe strawberries. There's a tone of vanilla and slight caramel that every over-oaked Chardonnay tries but fails to achieve. Seventy percent of the wine hits in the last 20 percent of the tasting arc, splintering into smoky shards of fractured color.

The Rebula 2010 ($25) is extraordinary. Made from the grape called Ribolla Gialla in Italy, it is austere, briny and marmalade-y, and it suffers no fools: pinpoint acidity, with the spice, dried-herb and dark-cherry elements of a red wine. I've drunk it with almonds, green olives and Tarentaise cheese; with roasted vegetables; with chicken; with mussels; with meatloaf (!), and it's stunning every time. A wine for those who are uncompromisingly devoted to uncompromising wine.

Finally, Amfora 2006 ($90). This is the reason Morel makes wine, and though the price tag will dissuade most from pursuing it, those who take the leap will be transformed. Morel vinifies Rebula, Tocai Friulano and Malvasia separately in the clay amphorae, then blends, works and waits – tasting, thinking, making alterations.

It speaks from centuries ago, with grandeur and authority. Its flavors include compote, black tea, meat, cologne, grape, worn wood, wet and dry clay. Texturally, it is seamless and vast. Unlike the other non-red Kabaj wines, light tannins show.

If you taste this and still need to ask, "What is 'real' wine?" you'll never know.


Joe Appel works at Rosemont Market. His blog, soulofwine.com, continues the conversation, and he can be reached at: soulofwine.appel@gmail.com


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