Móra, Klinec, Medana 1. Classe, 2009, red wine from Slovenia
Here is a review about another wine from one of my favorite wine regions in Europe: Goriška Brda. In this rather small area, some of the most ambitious winemakers produce unique organic wines — recently I read someone calling this area the epicenter of organic wine-making. This description rings true. In addition to organic wine-making, many of the wineries also produce so-called orange wine.
The Klinec family has been producing wine since 1918. Today, Aleks Klinec is the head of the family and a very passionate winemaker. He has his own personal philosophy and I know some of his colleagues call him (behind closed doors) a little bit crazy. Perhaps radicalism and dogmatism, in the positive sense of these words, also require some measure of craziness. Certainly one needs a deep passion, a personal vision, and stubbornness.
Located in the wine village Medana, he produces several wines — more white than red. Their wines are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Friulano, Malvazija, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Ribolla Gialla, Tokay and Verduzzo. Ribolla or Malvazija are very common types from this region, Pinot Gris, in contrast, is not.
Móra 2009 is a red blend made from Merlot (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). According to Aleks, this wine is only produced when there is a good harvest. This said, this red is one of his top wines. When I visited him the last time, we had the pleasure of trying almost all of his wines — and Móra is indeed an outstanding “finish” for a long journey through a variety of tastes. Perhaps it isn’t his most radical or unique wine, and it is not “strange” like some other wines I have tried from the area. This is obviously also due to the sorts of vines. For a biodynamic and organic wine, this is a very tender, yes even lovely wine. Very nicely balanced between the fruitiness of a Merlot, the coolness of Cabernet Franc and the dryness of mineral-rich soils. There is a flavor of Alpine freshness in the wine, combined with some refreshing sourness caused by the wine-making method. Even though this wine ages for a remarkable five (!) years in cherry and oak casks, there is no barrique or any other wooden note. Taking this into consideration, it means that the wine must still be very sour after fermentation. Since they don’t add any chemicals — but also no sulfites, this wine requires substantial looking after. Although Aleks says that the craftsman’s work out in the vineyards is very important, I believe the focus of his work, and especially the bulk of his patience, take place in the cellar.
More or less the entire fruit becomes wine — since it also isn’t filtered.
The fruitiness of the wine is dominated by red currant, maybe even some gooseberry (I know this sounds strange for a red), there is a little cassis, but also tobacco and even black tea. As sour as it seems in the first moment is almost as sweet as it finishes, with a tight structure. This is a very, very special wine! It is a great wine, although it is really not a wine for the broad sample of normal wine drinkers. It is smart, it is rather light- to medium-bodied and can age probably without any problem for twenty or even more years. Because I haven’t tried any other vintage so far, I cannot write about the constancy of Aleks wine-making, but their success comes not without reason. We can be sure that he devotes his life to the quality of each wine he makes, but his power over the weather, for example, is quite limited. Moreover, I believe the way he makes wine is very risky since he works without any chemical intervention. A bad year means a very limited harvest.
Aside from his wine-making – and I will write about other wines of his, too – he and his family are wonderful hosts. Beside the winery they run a little pensione (only a few very simple but functional rooms) and a local restaurant that we would call a Gasthaus. My friend Marco Müller (Weinbar Rutz, Restaurant, Berlin (3rd review) liked my photo “N pizza” very much. Aleks’ wife cooks and the dishes are very good.
Since I write about restaurants as well, I should have made some notes about the food, but I admit that I was tired and very hungry when I was there — having come straight from a wine tour visiting several winemakers all day long. To end the day with the Klinec family was an honor but also simply a lot of fun.
Aleks is not only a great winemaker and a generous host, he’s also a great wine drinker. He is very confident about himself, and to be honest, drinking his wine on his terrace, you swallow down the thought that he would be a poser. He is one, but with substance.
If you wish more information about Klinec please visit their webpage: http://www.klinec.si/http://www.klinec.si/. Maybe three years ago I drank a Klinec at a restaurant in Venice I loved: Venissa, Restaurant and Vineyard, Marzzorbo.