2009 Batic Pinela Vipava Valley Slovenia
Wine & Spirits
Ivan Batic considers Pinela the top variety on his estate, relying on the windy conditions of his higher elevation vines to keep the fruit healthy and disease free (he has installed a “physics-based cropping system” to blast hot air at the lower vines, so he doesn’t need to spray with pesticides or herbicides). He ferments this without temperature control or added yeast in open, upright Slovenian oak vats, then ages it in barrel for two years, producing something that tastes like a nourishing food. What seems brash and astringent at first reveals itself as structure when the fruit begins to open in the glass. Luscious baked pear flavors come forward, gingery, creamy and delicious, racing through the finish with floral scents. The wine’s rustic intensity would match tea-smoked chicken or duck.
Pinela is an ancient, indigenous grape and without question quite noble. Without the unique climate of the Vipava Valley, it would not survive. Not surprisingly, Ivan Batic devoted his soul to this grape variety. Vines are planted only in the best terroirs and according to the old Vipava Valley tradition, macerated at an unregulated temperature for five days with its own yeast. It is then matured for twenty-four months in Slovenian oak barrels. Bottled in the time of the old moon, this is full bodied, textured, mineral driven, and shows a sophisticated spiciness. Truly unique! The signature methodology of the Batic estate is knowing when and how to do nothing. Highly selective hand harvesting, extended maceration (particularly native white grape varieties), fermenting in open topped Slovenian wooden vats without temperature control, and only using indigenous yeast are the major means to this end. While the rosé is made in stainless steal, all of the other wines see only Slovenian oak from primary through malolactic. All wines are bottled un-fined, often unfiltered, and in some cases bottled without additional sulfur (SO2). Lunar cycles and seasons are strictly observed and determine releases and bottling dates. If it’s too cloudy for example, wines will not be bottled because there is too much interference between the wine and the heavens.