A few winemaking families in Slovenia built their reputation through constant striving for bringing the best one can, from what nature gives and most of all from the respect for it and the family’s legacy. And this is how I see the Mlečnik family, whose Merlot we’re going to have a look at today.
From speaking with Valter Mlečnik, you see the respect for nature and the legacy of the family he eradiates. A modest man of few but very thought words shining with such wisdom you cannot stop listening to. And it is something he has managed to give also to his son Klemen, bravely following his steps.
Modesty and respect are actual words that would describe best the family, but when looking at their wines, a whole new universe reveals. Wines are produced from organically farmed grapes, marked by extended macerations, created to be consumed slowly in long, enchanting conversations, drop by drop, sip by sip. And such is this Merlot.
I’ve chosen the 2011 vintage, which was very varied. A lovely spring brought a rainy July with some hail that damaged a completely dry august and sunny September. Conditions that contributed to the ripening and concentrations of sugars in berries.
Grapes were picked at the point of ripeness, where they believe the balance between acidity and sugars is suitable to give a balanced and long-living wine. Grapes were destemmed and put in large open vats to macerate for fourteen days without temperature control. Following gentle pressing, the wine was racked into big oak barrels where it matured for two years. It was then bottled without filtration, with minimum addition of sulfites, and left to age in the cellar for seven years before coming to the market.
All Mlečnik’s red wines undergo bottle ageing of six to seven years as they believe that time is the only factor that helps evolve wine naturally, giving its full expression when tasted outside of the cellar.
This Merlot displays a garnet red colour with a thick, dense texture, quickly stopping the glass’s vortex.
The bouquet is ripe, evoking dried red berries, chokeberry, blackberry, black cherries, plum jam, dried red flowers, cocoa, carob, roasted nuts, eucalyptus, menthol, cedar, hummus, tobacco, laurel and marl.
The taste is intense, soft, the freshness is ripe, with rounded tannins. A wine with a vigorous body and an elegant and lasting taste. It is a developing wine that will reach its peak in five to seven years and reign here for many years to come.
What we taste is not their traditional Merlot, but rather a spin-off of nature, or as Klemen says. An experiment to see how it will evolve and mature. And we have this alluring, rustic expression of a well crafted, rounded Merlot that enchants.
A bottle will cost you 26,30 Eur and is available at Koželj.