The Kabaj homestead in Šlovrenc near Dobrovo is home to Katja Kabaj Morel and Jean-Michel Morel, a French oenologist who, after working in numerous cellars in France (in Bordeaux and Languedoc) and Italy (in Collio) married into a family in Slovenia 22 years ago. Having had a long winegrowing tradition on their farm, they decided to bottle their own wine for the first time in 1993
The Kabaj homestead has 55000 vines in vineyards in two locations in the Brda Hills. The average grape yield is 1,5 kg per vine.
Jean-Michel Morel says he must first like his own wines in order for him to even present them to others. His wines are made of grapes that were cultivated on heavy, properly tilled soil.
The Kabaj homestead produces between 60000 and 70000 bottles annually. All of their wines age for at least one year in small French barrels, and then also in bottles for another few months.
Morel macerates white wines for at least a day, but Ribolla Gialla (Rebula), the white queen of the Brda Hills, is macerated for approximately 30 days. In this way, the wine acquires its fruitness (its characteristic bouquet and grape flavor), minerals and its typical golden colour. The Ribolla (Rebula) wine represents the best and most effective image of the Kabaj homestead, their view of wine and their serious attitude towards winemaking, which takes both historical and natural factors into account.
For production of his famous “Amfora” wine, Morel uses special clay vessels known as “qvevri” for wine maceration and fermentation. All the 3500-litre “qvevri” vessels are buried in the ground. During fermentation, which lasts for about one month and a half, all vessels are closed airtight. Then, the wine and the lees are poured into large oak barrels, where they age for one year. The wine continuous to age in bottles for another year.
When it comes to reds, Morel takes a more classical approach, with 21-day maceration in concrete vessels and 2-3 years fermentation in French oak barrels, followed by 4-months aging in bottles.
More than once the Kabaj winery has been awarded “Top 100 Wineries of the year” by the “Wine and Spirits Magazine”, with a lot of Kabaj wines scored 90+ points by experts.