Milan Nestarec - Juicy Fruit - 2018 - Oplocenka & Achtele Field Blend
The taste is gonna move you!
Remember that chewing gum that tasted great for 3 seconds and then turned to bland plastic? Not the case here.
I do remember them–being born just before the Velvet Revolution, we only knew our good ol' Czech Pedro gum. But then, the fancy Juicy Fruit, Doublemint and Wrigley's Spearmint trotted in from the West. From the USA!! It blew our minds as Eastern kids and etched itself into our memory forever. It might sound like a cliché, but a flavour really has the power to transport us back to childhood.
The gum experience totally resurfaced when I tasted this juicy, zesty wine for the first time, and that's how the name was born. Our version is gonna move you waaay longer then the original one, promise.
Pinots. Well, mostly. (Deets below.) Our vineyards sport a lot of them, but always complanted with local varieties, because that's how fate and necessity wanted it back then. It's really fun to watch in the vineyard: the dainty, neat French bunches ooze elegance already at this stage, right next to the Moravian hulk Gruner that's four times as big. I love to make worlds collide, so we simply harvest & process everything together, et voilá, the bilateral treaty of the year is born.
Is it blasphemy? To me, it's just who we are. We have no intention of mimicking the Burgundy style. These grapes were just historically planted on our vineyards, and are in good shape, so we work with what we’ve got. I like the thrill of it, though - when you don't have any expectations of what it should taste like, a tradition to honour, there's always an element of surprise. Which I love. I know you can find these grapes from Australia to Dresden and a lot of people try to project some standardised international style on them, often including new barrels. Even I drink such wine, occasionally. When it's really good. But even then, it just feels so… made up, to my taste. Like wearing a suit. Trust me, I feel terrible in one. My vineyard-work clothes are who I am, my day-to-day dress code. And that's what Juicy Fruit is about.
From 2018 onwards, all the White Label wines are field blends from old vines grown on a single vineyard (or two neighboring plots). In this case, Oplocenka & Achtele sites complanted with Pinot Gris, Blanc, Noir, Veltliner and Welschriesling. 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. 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.
Juicy Fruit 2017 comes from our Slovenské plot, a loess-clay vineyard planted with the noble burgundy varieties Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. (Not sure about the proportion myself. Could try to but who cares - what matters is the result.) Partly very short skin contact (5 days max), part whole bunches, part direct press. Once fermented, we blended it all into a 500L barrel made of local oak. It felt a bit too uptight to me so we surprised those French with our local brat squad Gruner, Neuburger and Welschriesling for an extra Slavic touch.
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.