BIZELJSKO, Eastern Slovenia
Still getting your bearings with Slovenia? It’s cool, us too! Bizeljsko is Slovenia’s long-time haven for bubbly wines thanks to its climate and a local variety called Rumeni Plavac that does very nicely for sparklers. The Kelhar family are perhaps the region’s greatest innovators, working hand in hand with central Euro wine guru Kreso Petrekovic to translate their special hillside vineyards into some really transcendent stuff. They’re bread and butter have been pretty tame reflections of place aimed towards the local market but these days they get to really play, churning out some joyful, highly stylized natural wines meant for us natural wine explorers to get lost in. Super high integrity here with a commitment to long aging, skin macerations for whites and tingling, lively sparkling wines. In short, really really great wine with lots of heart.
The core wine in a way - Rumeni Plavac and Chardonnay pressed to steel tanks for fermentation and a year of aging. Fresh must from the next harvest is added just before bottling to induce refermentation. Disgorged after 3-4 months without dosage and no added sulfite.
A delightful, patchwork collaboration of Kreso and Miha. 70% skin fermented Muscat Ottonel enriched with some direct press Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rumeni Plavec and a little skin fermented Riesling. This wine is a total throwback to the more rustic, hearty style locals would have made for family consumption.