Milan Nestarec - TRBLMKR - 2018 - Slovenské Field Blend
Always be yourself, unless you can be a troublemaker. Then always be a troublemaker.
This is basically me, bottled. A wine so important and characteristical of who I am that I use it instead of business cards. (No kidding: we have to make an extra vat of this wine so that I can share the bottles like others would share their resumé.)
Not love at first sight, but if you're on the same wavelength, you might become friends for life. Not a big talker, more of a thinker. But opens up and even cracks jokes when surrounded by like-minded people.
This wine is always based on Neuburger (Neuburské), the once-popular local variety that's IMHO perfectly adapted to our soil. During the communist era, it was a popular piquette ingredient (pejoratively called “seconds” in Czech), as its fleshy berries are difficult to press and hence are prone to leave a lot of raw material in the pomace for a second serve. Nowadays, the grape is sadly disappearing, mostly due to its lower yields and compact grape, which makes it prone to rot. Flavour-wise, it's rather neutral, but give it a bit of time to rest in the bottle and the reward and tertiary aromatics are just mind-blowing. As I said, if you want an instant crowd-pleaser, you’ll have to look elsewhere; if you like wines that encourage some exploration and reflection, this is probably right up your alley.
From 2018 onwards, all the White Label wines are field blends from old vines grown on a single vineyard (or two neighboring plots). We chose our top sites to endow the wines with maximum longevity & genius loci, and use minimum skin contact (10% max and even that very rarely), in order to showcase this unique, beautiful material without a heavy orange-styled veil. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeast in bigger old barrel from local oak or acacia wood, where it then lays undisturbed for ~2 years on its fine lees. No fining or filtration, no sulfur addition. The normal way, simply put.
2018 is again a fieldblend from our flagship Slovenské vineyard with the typical Bílovice loess. There's my beloved Neuburger, supported by improbable field blend including Malvasia, red and even some table grapes that we densified the vineyard with because I remember Chasselas (Chrupka in Czech) being always part of the local vineyards when I was a kid. It was quite a sunny, warm year here in Moravia - the earliest harvest that not just I, but also my father and grandfather remember. We started on August 15th and by mid-September, game over. Thank g-d we managed to take everything into the cellar this quickly, helped by up to 60 pickers sometimes, strategically deployed over different plots–the harvest often feels like waging a battle, lol. A victorious one, luckily: the wines are well rested after more than 2 years spent on lees in big oak vats, balanced between the vintage's generosity and the signature Nestarec energy and acidic grip.
The 2017 vintage was picked with a neighbouring row of Riesling in our Slovenské vineyard, which brought an extra layer of acidity and energy. Mostly fermented on skins, blended from 2 consecutive picks. Aged for just over 2 years in big neutral barrels, because wine needs time.
The story behind the White Label I'm 200% positive that the most important thing is the person who makes the wine. It’s not about a varietal, or a famous village in a famous region - because even those wines can get the bad karma of being massacred in the cellar. It's all about the name on the bottle. A name you can trust, because you know how the winemaker works and that it's a style you enjoy. Hence the Nestarec white label, with my signature on it. (A tad prettier than IRL because my usual scribble is unreadable.) Together with Tereza, my graphic designer, we started taking out elements that weren’t essential - until only “Nestarec” and the name of the wine remained. A purist approach to both what's in the bottle and on it. Because, as they say, perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
I don't wanna look like a natural born sage - it took me some time to get there. My journey, like many others, has been paved with gold engravings and curlicues, like on a fancy tombstone. “Nestarec, a wine for funerals”, as a friend of mine dubbed it back then. Oops. But I remember that period fondly - it's a part of my evolution. No regrets, like in that famous Edith Piaf song.