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Kabaj, Amphora, 2007

Orange Wine from Slovenia, Slovenia
by Kabaj
Get 10% off purchases of 12+ bottles of wine. (Use code 10OFF at checkout.)

Made in a traditional Georgian fashion. Ribolla Gialla, Friulano and Malvasia are thrown, whole cluster for 12 months in Kvevri, then 2 years in used 225L French oak barrels, 6 more months in bottle. It's a scotch drinker's wine: hazelnut, walnut, iodine, cheese rind, orange peel, marzipan, honey, chocolate coffee, red pepper, tar, tobacco, mushroom, vanilla...tertiary, rich, super fine tannins and a finish that will never end.

All of these wines should be drunk at cellar temp and either decanted or allowed to open up for several hours. They are built for the long haul, released when ready but capable of aging another 5-10 years.


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When asked how he makes his wines, Jean Michel Morel of Kabaj responded: "Who cares? Do you like the wine?"

Not quite what you would expect from a Bordelais with an enology degree. Prodding only gets you answers like "Wine is art", "Wine is food", "Wine is history". Eventually you just start drinking; it's what he wanted in the first place.

You start to see his point. Why pull back the curtain and ruin the magic with talk of macerations, presses, racking and barrels?

And who needs it, the script is a great one: Jean Michel met and fell in love Katja Kabaj working a vineyard in Friuli. Her family owned vines over the border in Brda, Slovenia. After marrying they convinced Katja's father to stop selling grapes to the co-op and in 1993 they made their first vintage.

Jean Michel's second love are the orange wines of his neighbor Gravner. To master his magic tricks he went straight to the source: Shavnabada, a 12th century monastery in the Republic of Georgia, with a bit of experience making orange wine. All of his wines are now made with skin contact, combining ancient and modern techniques. Skins are utilized to highlight the varietal and terroir -- tannins are never the focus just another structural element of a very complete wine.

It honestly doesn't matter how he does it. The answer to to Jean Michels second question is a resounding: Yes. I do like the wine!


  • Grape Variety

    Malvasia , Ribolla Gialla , Savagnin

  • Vintage


  • Size


  • Farming Practice


  • Style

    Earthy , Spicy , Tannic

  • Sweetness


  • Body

    Full Bodied

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