Congratulations Jean-Michel Morel!
Kabaj wines have been praised by many wine critics and publications including Ed Behr’s “The Art of Eating”, Eric Asimov of the New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, Tasting Table National. Now we are thrilled that Wine & Spirits Magazine recently named KABAJ TOP 100 Winery of the Year.
Jean-Michel and his family farm small plots of vineyards, where the Alps meet the Adriatic, on the Slovenian/Italian border in Goriška Brda, Slovenia. The name of the winery, Kabaj, is his wife Katja’s maiden name; Brda is their terroir: a special intersection of climate, geology, and culture that Jean intertwines into wine. Reflective of the diversity of their origin, there is something primal about them. Kabaj makes no fresh wine. Everything is aged and made to age. Dense in character, but never heavy, tension is drawn from minerality and grape tannin more than acidity. Less fruity than savory, the whites often have a textural quality akin to fine tea. They hate to be cold and typically show their best just below the temperature of their environment and company. The reds, made primarily from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, are vinified in typical Bordeaux fashion and are intensely mineral and savory. Bordeaux varieties have been planted in Brda so long they are considered the local red sort.
The W&S TOP 100 wineries of the Year are the 100 from around the world that got the best overall results in W&S tastings throughout the year. They will be profiled in the Winter issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine and honored at the annual 10th annual Top 100 Tasting in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 15th.
Here are Kabaj’s W&S tasting notes:
2010 Kabaj Ravan: 91 points
“If you have no patience for oxidative whites, steer clear. But if you’re open to the charms of this wine, it delivers remarkable freshness. Look past the resinous, tree-sap aroma and you’ll find a rich, earthy wine with yellow spices and flavors that are more wheat berry than nutty. Its mineral character would meld with a mushroom pilaf with fresh thyme and sage.”
2010 Kabaj Rebula: 92 points
“A woman walked into a bar and said, “I’ll have an orange.” The bartender looked confused. “Orange wine?” he asked. “Yes, an orange,” she said. True story, and a strong case for a glass of this ribolla, which is neither red nor white. The color is spot-on orange, the aromas and pleasantly bitter flavors hover between white flowers, dried pear, orange pith, the pink of peach pit, and red notes of bosky cherries. The wine’s direction and freshness seems to come from its pithy tannins rather than acidity, confounding any categorization other than orange. ”
2008 Kabaj Merlot: 92 points
“Gamey and closed off when first poured, this is all about structure, a dark, savory red with scents of tree bark and fresh pomegranate, amaro spices and meaty black juice. Some acidity brightens the wine, shot through its black tannins, lending a clean, fresh appeal. Serve with a well-aged cheese, like Vella Jack.”
2007 Kabaj Cuvée Morel: 92 points
“From the compelling herbal aroma to the generously textured fruit, this melds the best elements of merlot (60 percent of the blend) with cabernets sauvignon and franc and a small addition of petit verdot (4 percent). It’s as dark and savory as a digestif of herbal bitters, balanced by dark fruit that lasts with freshness. Decant it for venison or other robust game.”