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2019 Slobodné Vinárstvo Traja Boxeri Sauvignon Blanc

2019 Slobodné Vinárstvo Traja Boxeri Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Trnava < Malokarpatska < Slovakia
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic, practicing biodynamic; 5 days on the skins; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Agnes Lovecka

Skin-contact Slovakian Sauv Blanc?  From an old family estate that took a 50-year break because of WWII and 40 years of communism? Now run by two sisters, one of whom who is proudly gay, with a passion for skin-contact whites?  All sorts of strange bedfellows here, which make us love this gorgeous wine even more!

Because we couldn't say it any better (and have yet to visit them), we'll share the sisters' story as told to "It was thanks to an old box of paperwork, stashed away under a staircase, that Agnes Lovecka, along with her sister, Katarina Kuropkova, and her husband, Miso Kuropka, were able to reclaim their family’s land so that Slobodné Vinárstvo could ride the ever-cresting wave of natural wine in Central Europe. The sisters’ grandparents had farmed this land since the early 20th century, growing grapes as well as tobacco, until it was put under state control during communist rule with the formation of Yugoslavia.  “Growing up, we never even spoke about the property,” says Lovecka. “It was like forbidden history.” Now she is finally able to tell the story: During the Second World War, her grandparents Eduard and Peter Herzog grew up here. In 1944, they participated in the Slovak uprising against the encroaching Nazis and collaborationist government of Josef Tiso, and Peter died in that protest. Eduard, unwilling to live a farmer’s life, left for Prague, where he studied music, devoting himself to the theory of intervals. It was there that Eduard gave his daughter, Agnes and Katarina’s mother, a large box full of papers containing the certificate of ownership, which she hid behind a wall under a staircase, then basically forgot about for many years.  The sisters were born and raised in Bratislava—roughly an hour’s drive from these vineyards. “In 1989, my mother went back to Prague and dug out the box,” Lovecka recalls. But she and Kuropkova didn’t feel interested in taking up grueling farm work; they had nice careers in the city, and enjoyed the lifestyle—and knew nothing about farming.... but there was the pull of the land, its connection to their family heritage, drawing Lovecka and Kuropkova toward it—until they finally quit their jobs. “We decided it would be more of an adventure to come out here and start something rather than living this nice life in Bratislava,” says Lovecka. She took some courses in winemaking, and they were on their way. The first vintage of Slobodné Vinárstvo—which means “free winery” in Slovak—arrived in 2010. This region is known as the “Blaufrankisch slope” due to the grape’s ubiquity. As we walk through the vines, their 6-month-old baby Viliem in the arms of her partner, Andrea Jesenakova, Lovecka stoops to pick some wild-growing yarrow, which they use in tinctures to give nutrients to the soil.  She says, "Organic is a long process, we have to teach ourselves to work the soil”. 

Luckily, they are in a good place to learn the organic/bioD ropes with support from other like-minded producers, because Slobodné is in the middle of an exciting, flourishing natural wine scene in Central Europe (Milan Nestarec in Moravia, Czech Republic; Claus Preisinger, Christian Tschida, Gut Oggau, Meinklang, and others in Bergenland, Austria; and Strekov1075 within Slovakia).  Zsolt Sütó of Strekov1075 was an early influence at Slobodné, and he helped the sisters get started on their path to low-intervention winemaking. “Spontaneous fermentation was the first step—and avoiding all the oenological enzymes,” recalls Lovecka. The conversion to organic farming was fully in effect by 2016. Slobodné now belongs to a biodynamic group based in Austria, called Valtfiertel, where the producers offer support to each other in terms of making preparations and other techniques.  Lovecka explains that skin contact on white wine is a crucial part of winemaking at Slobodné. Skins, Lovecka says, are “precious” parts of the grapes and it hurts her to see them thrown away. And they play a crucial role, she says, in low-intervention winemaking: “When you don’t use the enological preparations,” it helps to use the entire grape, “since the skins are healthy and full of value.”

We are so on board with that -- why not take advantage of the skin's natural antioxidant properties, especially when it adds so much complexity to a white wine (when done right)?  And this one is done JUST RIGHT.  Vibrant, crisp and mineral-driven, with a salty and slightly tannic finish, this wine shows the ubiquitous SB in an alternative, and super interesting, light.  Yes, there's still some grapefruit and a zippy lemon zest, but we love the textural, savory edge of wild herbs here.  Get the herbs and veggies, this wine is a Spring salad's best friend!
Regular price $25.00
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