Milan Nestarec - Umami -2019 - Slovenské Field Blend
Uber Mega Aromatic Master of Indulgence. I just made that up.
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.
UMAMI 2019 is a 100% Traminer from Achtele, a historic Bilovice site that forms a natural loess amphitheatre. This geology naturally leads to less airflow and a tendency to botrytis in the lower part of the vineyard, while the upper part ripens more slowly. We try to preserve this contrast in the wine itself – the result is an unexpected harmony of aromatic opulence and laser-sharp acidity that calls for yet another explorative sip.
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.