– Karst, Slovenia
Sebastian Stemberger is definitely a bit of a cult hero. In the past, he worked together with French natural wine legend JF Ganevat, an icon in the industry. His wines come in two flavors: rich and classy ones and more wild wines. Make sure to explain what you are after when tasting his wines at the fair, or just be open to the ride.
Sebastian’s vineyards are located in two parts of Karst (around their home village, Šepulje, and on the edge near Štanjel) and lie at elevations of between 280 and 360 meters above sea level, receiving both the Mediterranean breezes and those blowing from the foothills of the Alps. The vineyards in Šepulje are on terra rossa, red soil rich in iron and limestone, while the soil in Štanjel is a mixture of flysch (sedimentary rock layers) and terra rossa. It’s one of the oldest wine regions in Europe, extending across the border of southwestern Slovenia and northeastern Italy.
Stembergers’ wines are made mostly from local grapes like Vitovska, Istrian Malvasia, and Zelén and he works according to biodynamic principles. Even the barrels and vats in the cellar reflect their environment. They are made from traditional local materials: oak, acacia wood, and Karst limestone.
Sebastijan bottles his wines when ready. Relatively low alcohol, precision, and maturity are his signature. Add to this some volatile acidity to support aging and drinkability, and you have a true ‘adventure in a bottle.’
A good wine of his to pair with an X-mass dinner is Robinia – a complex macerated white wine with enough acidity and boldness to pair it with a variety of dishes.
Cultivation: 8 ha
Production: 25,000-30,000 bottles/year
Varieties: Vitovska, Malvasia Istriana, Zelen, Teran, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Approach: Organic, Biodynamic, Low Intervention
Sulfites: < 20 mg total