2021 Kobatl 'My Dirty Siva' (Souvignier Gris)
Region: Styria < Austria
Grapes: Souvignier Gris
Vineyard/cellar stats: organic farming, volcanic soils; macerated on the skins for 4 days with twice daily soft punchdowns then gently pressed & aged 13 months in neutral oak barrels; bottled unfined, unfiltered with no added sulfites, no temperature control; zero-zero; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Michael Kobatl
Kobatl is an organic garage winery, working with only fungus resilient grape varieties (PIWI) in the part of Austria with mineral-rich volcanic soils on a 3.3 hectare organic estate, cultivated by Michael, who fell in love with natural wines during his travels. He returned home and found out that his own area is one of the most unique wine regions of the world, with volcanic soil and an illyrian climate (transitional climate between mediterranean, alpine and pannonian climates) that are a magical combo for vines, and as it turns out, apples too. Their property has an old apple orchard alongide pristine grape vines of the PIWI variety, with lush grasses growing throughout that are happily grazed by the family sheep Hanni, Franni, Ganni, Sanni and Nanni. And what's PIWI, you ask? These are hybrid grapes crossed specifically for disease resistance - the new grape babies are so tough, no mold, insect or other ailment can infect them. They are SUPERGRAPES that need no treatment of any sort in the vineyard, making organic farming/natural winemaking easy peasy. People, this is the future!
'My Dirty Siva' is technically an orange wine, since the PIWI grape Sauvignac gets cozy on the skins for 4 days, but the color is pale, rosy gold. Michael explains the meaning of the naughty name: "Siva means grey in Slovenian. By being close to our Slovenian neighbors and the beautiful view we see, this wine was named. The grapes themselves are grey and, yeah, the wine is a bit ‘dirty’."
We didn't quite get the dirty part, maybe a tiny splash of youthful funk, but really the overall impression is pretty. Aromatic and spicy on the nose, as all the PIWI grapes tend to be, with a salty, mineral-driven palate and a powerful finish. More rocks than flowers on this one, but a softness that makes it endlessly drinkable.