Uros Klabjan produces wine in Istria, Slovenia where his family has been doing so for many generations. He is located 20km south of Italy and 30km north of Croatia in a region that shares a cultural identity with both neighbors. His vineyards are located just 3km away from the Adriatic Sea near the gulf of Trieste and his vines are planted in a funnel shaped valley that narrows down towards the Karst Hill further away from the sea. He largely focuses on Refosk (Refosco), Malvazijia (Malvasia) and Muscat (Yellow Muscat Hrastovlje biotype) that's planted primarily on Karst limestone, clay and marl. His vines are 20 to 250 years old (yes you read that correctly) and many of his vines are ungrafted as they predate phylloxera.
Uros places the highest importance on farming; a member of VinNatur, Uros keeps horses not for tilling but for fertilizer, and plants indigenous grass species between his vines to aerate the soil and feeds the horses. Uros believes that great wine is made in the vineyard, not in the cellar using some biodynamic practices as well.
Uros is a champion of indigenous Slovenian varieties and organic farming. All of his vines are dry farmed without irrigation even in hot vintages and the wines go without any intervention, often going into bottle completely free of sulphites after fermentation on wild yeast. Everything is fermented on skins, a tradition that has been practiced in Slovenia for hundreds of years. Orange wines have been produced in this region as long as grapes have been grown! Uros uses skin maceration to help start fermentation as natural yeasts live on grape skins. The wines also gain added structure and colour from this technique, but this is just a side effect for him as he doesn’t like excessive skin contact on his orange wines, preferring fresher, leaner styles. White blends are always co-fermented together so they work as a team. Uros says he does this rather than assembling an all-star team at the last minute and expecting them to play well together.
His wines are aged primarily in Slovenian oak and stainless steel before being released for sale when he feels they are ready for drinking. Uros will often release old vintages before new as the wines show him they are ready. In keeping with his traditional mentality Uros never filters his wines and all the fruit is hand picked. All of Uros’ wines have a beautiful salinity and savoury quality to them with profound minerality and red wines with a pungent earthiness.
The white label wines are from his parcels of younger vines up to 35 years old or so and are raised primarily in stainless steel while the black label wines are from his oldest vines and are aged primarily in oak.
A co-fermented blend of Malvasia, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. This wine spent 3 days macerating on skins and 10 months on lees in stainless steel and oak barrels.
2015 Malvazija "white label"
24 hour maceration before spending 10 months on lees.
2013 Malvasija "black label"
7 day maceration on skins before spending 3 years on lees in old oak barrels and 2.5 years in bottle before release.
2013 Refosk "white label"
15 day maceration on skins before spending 1 year on lees and 2.5 years in bottle before release.
2011 Refosk "black label"
25 day maceration on skins before going into barrel on lees for 6 years.
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