Ravan And Kekfrankos

Last week, Pete alluded to a recently arrived container that has brought back into stock Puy Servain’s 2009 Montravel VV Rouge (only 20 cases left!) and the 2009 Couronneau Bordeaux Superior (this is our 3rd and final shipment) along with a slew of 2011 Roses from France. My perennial favorite is from St. Antoine. The ’11 has matched the quality and pleasure of last’s years version, but this time it’s made entirely from Syrah which is probably why I detect an even spicier fruit quality. You can’t imagine what a visual delight it is to gaze upon the floor stacks of pale pink wines; you’ll have to make a pilgrimage to the store to see for yourself! This brings up a point and that is this: if you only read our emails and have never visited our store, you might not know that TWH carries wines from places other than France, Italy and the US, which you might not expect like Greece and Spain. Of late, our vinous curiosity has taken us to Eastern Europe, increasing our selection fourfold! I’m jazzed to introduce a duo of not to miss wines; one white from Slovenia and one red from Hungary.Anya Balistreri


This exotic white from Slovenia has been my ‘go-to’ wine for anyone who might otherwise fancy whites from Northern Italy or Northwest Spain. Ravan is the local name for a grape that is also known as Green Sauvignon (formerly Tocai Fruilano) or Sauvignonasse. Don’t get confused by the names–I’ll just keep to the name Ravan because that’s what it says on the label! Kabaj is an estate located only 15 miles from the Adriatic, borders Northeastern Italy and lies at Goriska Brda at the foothills of the Alps. The winemaker, Jean-Michel Morel, is a French vigneron who met and married Katja Kabaj in the late ’80s. They returned to live in Katja’s family village of Šlovrenc where generations of Kabajs have tended vines. The Ravan is fermented with native yeast, spends time on the skins and is aged in large cask barrels. It’s the kind of white that captivates the senses with a complex mélange of fruit and herb aromas ranging from citrus to spearmint. There is richness at the mid-palate with flavors that continue on to a long tangy fresh finish. I’ve had customers tell me that it reminds them of white Bordeaux with an exotic edge. Last time I popped open a bottle was with mixte grille of shrimp, pineapple and bananas. It was a crazy-good combo. The 2009 Ravan from Kabaj gives access to a unique flavor experience from a little known wine region crafted by a skilled winemaker.


Kekfrankos is the Hungarian name for Blaufrankish. Or is Blaufrankish the Austrian name for Kekfrankos? Oh never mind! The things to know here is that sisters Birgit and Katrin Pfneisl make wine from ancestral vineyards located in the region of Sopron in Hungary just at the border with Austria. Sopron is a peninsula of territory that literally juts into Austria’s Burgenland wine region. The sisters farm their vineyards organically and with the 2009 vintage are officially certified organic. Winemaker Birgit had studied winemaking all over the world before settling down on this project with her sister. A young winery with great promise! I love the fresh blue fruit flavors of this Kekfrankos. It has soft tannins and the bright spicy fruit has just a hint of herb. This is an exuberant, juicy red, perfect for those who want complexity but without any heavy tannins from skin or oak. I’m planning to get better acquainted with this one tonight alongside a sandwich consisting of Ribeye on focaccia from Liguria Bakery. Now, doesn’t that sound yummy?

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Hungary, Slovenia

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