Milan Nestarec - Umami -2018 - Slovenské Field Blend
Uber Mega Aromatic Master of Indulgence. I just made that up.
Some things are born in perfect circumstances, some by accident, some out of necessity. UMAMI is the latter: I love food. Anything connected to food. Talking about food. I might actually talk more about food than I do about wine. But wine is actually food so all good I guess. Anyways, I adore Asian fare. Especially paired with a distinctly aromatic wine. One of those food-wine pairings that blow your mind and make you understand that sometimes 1+1 equals 3 and that wine and food go together like love and marriage (ugh.. whatever). So I had to create my own umami.
I did so in 2017, creating a tasty blend of grapes from our Babušák, Stará Hora and Sahary plots. Based on the fragrant Gewurztraminer and Pálava varietals. Electrified by Riesling and multiplied by Muller-Thurgau to serve all you thirsty people out there who share my view. Technique-wise blend as well: some skin contact, some carb mac, some direct press. A fair share. UMAMI loosely translates from Japanese as tasty, delicate. I can’t utter a word of that language, but after tasting this wine I feel like I’ve translated it pretty well.
In 2018, I started to make the White Label wines a bit differently, as field blends of old vines grown on a single vineyard (or two neighboring plots). We chose our top vineyards 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.
In this case, it's our Slovenské vineyard, thanks to my tipsy father who once mistakenly planted Riesling right next to older Traminer vines there, which is actually an old trick that simply works (the grape combination, not planting vines under influence). 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.
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. Nevertheless, I remember that period fondly – it's a part of my evolution. No regrets, like in that famous Edith Piaf song.