Ever tried a sparkling volcanic wine from Slovakia??
Brhlovce village, a UNESCO heritage site located in heart of Slovakia, and located on the slopes of stratovolcano Sitno, which erupted 5 million years ago, is a little gem of the Slovakian natural winemaking scene. Jan Zaborsky, a winegrower and winemaker that runs Pivnica Brhlovce. The cellars where Jan’s workmanship turns grape juice into wine takes place in a dugout cave, which – 50 something years ago still used as a kitchen and social room by his grandparents.
Jan started his career as a wine journalist, he knew about wine from home where he learned the craft naturally, brought from generation to generation. As a wine journalist, he has connected on a personal level with every winemaker in Slovakia and the regions surrounding. Seeing a sharp contrast of using chemistry in the vineyards and in cellars by a majority of winemakers producing conventional wines with not much of a character and shining examples of bold, true to terroir wines. Jan started to play with the idea to start the journey of a natural wine promoter and winemaker. He talked this idea through with his good friend Marek Uhnak – currently, the winemaker of Pivnica Cajkov and decided to jump right into it.
Wines of Pivnica Brhlovce are capturing the local terroir in a spectacular way and by drinking his wine you will delve into the exploration of different aspects of this terroir. Brhlovce is located on the northern border of a central European vine growing region on the slopes of mountains which are natural borders of the Pannonian Basin spreading from Slovenia through Hungary all the way to Slovakia. There are volcanic soils with a bedrock of tuffs and andesite covered by the only couple of dozens of centimetres of soil, make the vines struggle for water, growing very deep root systems and sucking very high levels of minerals with the water. The wines have bold mineral spine supported with lingering acidity and a great expression of local grape varieties, that are enabled through spontaneous fermentation using only naturally occurring yeasts and no other chemistry in the winemaking process. Minimal or no sulfites are used before bottling which makes these wines probably some of the purest in the world, although don’t be put off by the cloudiness!
Jan’s free spirit of a natural winemaker not shackled by conventions and appellations is vividly imprinted in his exquisite Pet-Nat Bonka. Grapes of Feteasca Regala, Grüner Veltliner, Blaufränkish and Chasselas Blanc from small 0,4 ha vineyard – the habitat of 40-year-old vines, are harvested, crushed and processed all together. They macerate for 24hrs on the skins in an open tub, where the spontaneous fermentation kicks in. Fermenting juice is then transported to a stainless steel tank where the juice is vinified. After the fermentation naturally stops, a fresh juice of Blaufränkish is added to young wine, the mixture is bottled under the crown stopper (usually seem on beer bottles) and let for secondary fermentation which develops delicious “naughty bubbles”. The nice touch is handmade painting on each bottle of this Pet-Nat which is done by the winemaker’s wife. Each bottle is actually a unique piece of art.
If some ancient naturally produced volcanic sounds like your cup of tea (or wine) you can grab the last few cases online now as they are running low quickly!! Click Here >>