Orange Wine: 2008 Kabaj Rebula

Discover the riches of Slovenian white wine

Orange wines are a strange breed.

Occupying a middle ground between white and red, their intense tannic nature and unfamiliar flavors can initially be off-putting.

So we'd like to introduce you to the ideal gateway bottle, the 2008 Kabaj Rebula ($25).

Newly imported to the United States, this superb wine is produced in the Goriška Brda hills of Slovenia. Using the region's distinctive Rebula grape, the vineyard's owners, Katja Kabaj and her French husband, winemaker Jean-Michel Morel, have created an easy-drinking bottling that straddles the line between Slovenian and French traditions.

After macerating on its skins for a month, the wine is fermented in neutral oak barrels. This duo of processes creates a mouthfeel akin to a more complex oaked Chardonnay, with a mild, fine-grained touch of astringent tannins.

Rebula's alluring body is backed by flavors of peaches, roasted almonds and spice, but with enough acidity to keep the wine from drifting one-dimensionally toward oaky butter.

The wine's compelling characteristics have thoroughly convinced us of this: If any smoky, crisp-skinned pork is in your future, this is the bottle to drink with it.