Kabaj Goriska Brda Rebula 2012 is an orange wine made from ribolla gialla, a grape most often found in Northwestern Italy and, the home of this wine, Slovenia.
This orange wine is not the kind you get when cross the Florida-Georgia border; the kind you buy for your Aunt Millie who puts it away in a cabinet never to be looked at again. It is a white wine that is has extensive skin contact. Usually white wines have their skins whisked away. This one stays in contact for six months.
Giving white wines extended skin contact is something you see more of these days. It is a tough wine. It gives you the bird the whole time you are drinking it. Out of the bottle Rebula is tight even on the nose. It has an almost candied citrus peel nose with a bit of honey, but a honey with flowery characteristics (orange blossom). It smells like it is going to be sweet but instead it is harsh, woody, tannic (on a level you might associate with big red wines). You may get some citrus, or citrus skin, here but most fruit is buried initially.
This isn't a wine to drink right after opening. I hesitate to tell people to decant for a long time? But this wine needs at least a day open before you drink it.
After significant time open (several hours) it still has an acidity that can be described as blazing, is herbal and has something like an almond nuttiness to it. That nuttiness is initially underneath something woody, almost like chewing on the stems of a table grape.
This is a white (or is it copper?) wine that can be served a little warmer. As it opens slightly I got something like nutmeg on the finish. It seems there is an almost limitless number of flavors that can be revealed here. The color made me think the wine would be oxidized (like you get with Sherry) but it isn't. There is more and more citrus and citrus peel, as it opens.
This isn't a wine to sit down and drink by itself but it really works with garlicky spicy foods as well as dolmas and olives and similar snacks. It is a strong willed wine. Even on day five this wine is still going strong. The spice comes out more as does something of candied sorts of citrus fruit.
Orange wines thrill their aficionados because of this long life and this incredible complexity. Watching people taste this is often a funny experience. Half the people are baffled and the other half intrigued. They may not appeal to everyone but try one to find where you stand. This is a good Orang wine to start. It goes for around $20 and compares to some versions that cost three times as much. BUT, plan to decant at least 24 hours.