News from wineries

News from wineries / 07/29/2020 / 576

THE SEA IS FAR, BUT MALVAZIJA IS NOT

It is now certain that we will not spend this summer at seaside, in the shade of palm trees or Mediterranean pines. But, it does not mean that we will be deprived of Malvazija wine, a grape variety that is automatically associated with Istria, the coast, summer time.

The alternative is Malvazija from Fruška Gora (Srem wine region, North Serbia). Yes, you've heard it right... Malvazija Istriana has found its home on Fruška Gora, in the vineyards of Verkat Winery from Čerević.

Verkat family winery was founded by two sisters, Sonja and Nataša Vrkatić in the center of Čerević, in a renovated old Swabian house. The vineyards cover an area of 7 hectares, and they include 3 grape varieties: Malvazija, Grašac of Fruška Gora and Muscat Hamburg. Grašac and Muscat Hamburg were planted on the plot called Bikonj, whilst the vineyard of Malvazija (3 hectares, of which 2 hectares yield grapes for wine production) is located on Đinđevac.

Malvazija was planted on Fruška Gora in 1957. The first Malvazija wine was marketed with vintage 2018 label. You are probably wondering how come Malvazija vineyard found its spot on Fruška gora. The story dates back to the time of Banoštor vinegrowing cooperative. The son of a cooperative director was serving in the army in Istria. The father thought of saving money for the trip by combining business trip and travel for private reasons. So, he decided to set out to Istria to buy vines for a new cooperative vineyard and visit his son (but transfer all travel cost to cooperative budget).

Malvazija has adapted well to Fruška Gora climate. It is not demanding in the vineyard, it isn't susceptible to winter frost. Vigorous, productive, with large clusters, so significant crop reduction is needed. Also, it ripens quickly, it accumulates a lot of sugar, so one needs to assess well the moment of harvest in order to secure phenolic ripeness. For better results, there is a plan to start harvesting at 2 different intervals.

Fruška Gora Malvazija shows a different face from the Istrian one. It features sufficient typicity to identify it in the glass easily, but there's slightly more fruitiness, warmth, phenolic bitterness, and less minerality. On Fruška Gora, Malvazija easily accumulates high alcohols. The Vrkatić sisters also have great expectations from Malvazija 2019, which they experimentally left to age in a barrique.

Verkat Winery certainly drew attention to itself with Malvazija. But their Grašac wine should not be neglected. I had the opportunity to taste a more mature version of Grašac (vintage 2018), developed, with a medium body, a lot of ripe stone fruit. However, the vintage 2019 impressed me even more with its freshness, vibrant acidity, aromas dominated by tones of white flowers, unripe peaches, apple, mown grass. It is planned to include Grašac sparkling wine in their portfolio in the coming period and thus continue to explore versatility of this variety. In addition to Malvazija and Grašac, Verkat Winery also offers Muscat Hamburg rosé as a suggestion for long summer nights along the Danube or on the shores of numerous Fruška Gora lakes.




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Tomislav Ivanović

Awarded wine writer, wine critic and contributor to selected wine magazines. WSET3-certified author and editor-in-chief of www.vinopedia.rs. Member of Vojvodina Sommelier Association. Juror in national and international wine competitions. Lecturing about wines of Serbia and the Balkans. Local partner of Wine Mosaic organization. Co-founder of International Prokupac Day.

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