Tonight, I’m taking you to a heartwarming, open and always welcoming family in Vipava Valley. We’re at the Slavček house, where the Vodopivec family crafts some of the most pristine wines, marked by spontaneous fermentation, prolonged maceration and oak refinement. Wines, as the ancestors used to produce. And such is the case with their Barbera.
They have some of the steepest vineyards around Dornberk, and if you’re, you might even get the chance to experience them first-hand, possibly on the back of their pick-up truck, and then having a snack in the vineyard. Such was my experience, and it’s literally unforgettable.
Slavček means nightingale, and this is the name of the farm. Back in the day, houses used to have names, and locals referred to it as “pri Slavčevih (at Nightingales)”, even though the family living there was always Vodopivec. We find mentions of this dating back to 1769.
Back at the wine, Barbera is the Variety that grows only in the Vipava valley when speaking of Slovenian wine. It was introduced here in the sixties when winemakers were looking to introduce a variety that would refresh blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Results were so good it became a steady companion and is often added to red blends here.
Grapes were hand-harvested, destemmed and crushed. The pomace then fermented spontaneously with maceration for two days. Finally, after a gentle pressing, it was racked to mature in used oak barriques for approximately two years. Finally, it was bottled without filtration and with minimum addition of sulphites.
Slavček’s Barbera displays a ruby red colour, with a slight garnet tip and thick texture.
Its bouquet is intense, evoking ripe sour cherry, black currant, violet, cocoa, roasted nuts, a note of wood, and smoke.
The taste is intense, soft, with mature freshness and rounded tannins; it feels nicely balanced. A full-bodied, elegant wine of a lasting taste will quickly elevate the spirit at a table full of friends.
A bottle will cost you approximately 15 Eur, and you can find it abroad. At XtraWine, Triple A, and Indiewines. You can drink it now, but it will keep its shape for the next five years and more. It still hasn’t shown its full potential.