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Wine of the Week

Slovakian wolves at Bellies

I could have written a long introduction to the tasting. Here I will just mention that Nebbiolo Wines is one of the most important importers of natural wines in Norway, and Bellies, where Jan-Erik Hybertsen conducted this tasting (he is actually also a classical musical conductor) is probably the best 100% vegan restaurant in Norway. I came a bit late, so I chose to concentrate on the Czech and Slovakian producers of their portfolio.

Magula is the Slovakian producer that we shall focus on here. They make natural wines exclusively from their own, organically grown grapes of Slovak and regional varieties. They started out in 2007, and since 2016 the farming has been biodynamic. They are found in Suchá Nad Parnou, a traditional wine-making village in the Small Carpathian wine region, just northeast of Bratislava. Here we find deep loess soils with a high proportion of minerals, especially calcium, and there is scarce rainfall, coupled with a large proportion of sunny days.

At Bellies: Nestarec’s Czech wine Umami left

In 2001 they picked up the family tradition that been interrupted by the communist era. At that time they had an estate near what is in Slovak called the Wolf valley, from where this series of wines take its names.

Vlk is Slovak for wolf, and Oranžový Vlk becomes orange wolf. Among the other contributions the red, Cerveny Vlk, has a nice evolution while retaining its fine acidity; lots of red fruit and some leather and chocolate. The Frankovka (blaufränkisch in Austria) has a typical stony & herby aroma and fleshy taste. The pink wolf, Ružový, was a superb, fresh, lightly structured rosé.

The orange wolf is made from white grapes by open vat fermentation on skins and stems, followed by further maceration for two weeks. The blend is welschriesling 50% and grüner veltliner 30%, both from an old vineyard in Wolf’s valley, with the variety devín from a young vineyard on Rose mountain. It’s spontaneously fermented, unfiltered, unfined, and with no SO2 added. It’s aged in old barrels and amphorae. Half of it had two months of skin-contact with stems, most of the rest had ten days of skin-contact.

Orange wolf bottle next to the glass on the left

Oranžový Vlk 2019 (Magula)

Deep orange. Aroma of stone fruits, apricot, peel and a touch of smoke. Medium-bodied with light tannin, good concentration and fruit, and adequate acidity.

Price: Medium

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