Cuvée Morel, Kabaj, 2008 (Goriska Brda, Slovenia) $46
Kabaj released its first wine 20 years ago but the family has a long history of viticulture. This begs the question, why did they need a Frenchman to put their family name on the map? It all began with love and then the marriage of Katja Kabaj to Jean-Michel Morel. Parisian born, Morel worked in the Languedoc, Roussillon, Bordeaux and Collio before crossing the Italian border into Slovenia. He was introduced to ‘orange winemaking’ at Gravner and furthered his study in Georgia (as in the Republic of, not the state). Today, he is a member of the Xeloba Kartuli association (www.kvevri.org), an international group of wine and cider makers who use the ancient method of fermenting in amphora, clay jugs.
Who needs Bordeaux when you can find wines like this from Eastern Europe? For this quality, you would easily pay double the amount from St. Emilion. Named after the winemaker and Katja Kabaj’s husband, Jean-Michel Morel, this is one of the estate’s ‘flagships.’
Macerated in concrete tank for two to three weeks and aged in French oak for 36 months, Morel is proud to give this wine his name and this vintage is the best one I’ve tried.
Made from four vineyards composed of sandstone and slate, it has rich layers of black fruits laced with minerals, cinnamon, cardamom and shavings of bittersweet chocolate. A tremendous effort that will easily age for twenty years. 60% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18%Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, 13.5% alcohol
What makes Cuvée Morel worth its salt is that it should age very well. Not only will it hold up for a couple of decades, but should improve and do a Doctor Who like regeneration over time.