In 2016, Kabaj was named the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of The Year for the third consecutive year. Kabaj is located near the village of Dobrovo, Slovenia. Jean Michel orchestrates the production of 100,000 bottles of wine per year from 15 hectares of vineyards.
The award-winning winery owes its fame to a literal and figurative marriage of French winemaking know-how and traditions with Slovenia’s unique terroir, climate and grape varieties. The literal marriage is between Paris-born Jean Michel Morel, who arrived in Goriška Brda after perfecting his craft at prestigious wine estates in Perpignan, Bordeaux and nearby Friuli in Italy, and Katja Kabaj, whose family has called the region home for generations.
The family cultivates 12 hectares of local vineyards, with white wine accounting for some two-thirds of production and all vintages aged in French oak barrels for at least one year. Known as “The White Queen of Brda”, the autochthonous Ribolla Gialla grape, or Rebula as it is known in Slovenia, takes pride of place amongst its fellow varieties and arrived in Slovenia after a journey not unlike Mr Morel’s: originating in Greece and making its way to Italy before finding an ideal home in the rolling hills of the Brda region.
Kabaj has only one line of wines: there is no premium or entry-level line. Jean Michel doesn’t make fresh wines, all of his whites are left on the skins for at least two days and aged in oak for a minimum of two years. The reds and his wine made in Georgian qvevri (amphora) are aged for a longer time. These wines are available around the world and offer great value and a fine introduction to orange wines.