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News / 09/25/2019 / 206

GRAŠAC FROM FRUŠKA GORA AT THE CROSSROADS

Grašac seems to have won the day on Fruška Gora. The number of wine labels with this traditional name of Serbia's most common variety in local vineyards has been constantly on the rise and consumers have already accepted the new old name.

The name has changed, but it's much harder to change the general perception of this variety. Italian Riesling has been perceived in Serbia for decades as an ideal wine for a spritzer. The goal was to make fresh, light, unpretentious wine, often with elevated acidity, yet with a simple aromatic profile.

Nowadays, state-of-the-art technology in the wine cellar and careful work in the vineyards have resulted in an array of fresh characterful Grašac wines from Fruška Gora, which excel in delivering quality (Kiš, Vinum, Šijački, Trivanović, Fruškogorski vinogradi). However, Grašac has reached a turning point on the Serbian wine scene. The moment has come to shine bright as a variety that gives us great wines, much like Croatian Graševina. This is especially important considering that in Serbia we have 3,500 hectares planted with Grašac and that it is the most common grape variety in Serbian vineyards.

To make that step forward, winemakers need to break their fears themselves and approach Grašac with more confidence and courage. We can already witness some Grašac wines that attained maturity, patina and features of a great wine by means of long ageing. They were created more by circumstance than by deliberate intention, but they certainly give us directions where to go. The more such wines, the better for everyone. Winemakers who have such wines will be able to place a higher price tag, winemakers who make fresh wines will also benefit from the improved reputation of Grašac as a local variety that produces premium wines, and the wine consumers will have top quality local Grašac wines on offer, something that until now was available only if we search for Graševina wine labels from Croatia or other countries in Central Europe.

Vista Hill Winery from Molovin was the first to present on the market its Vista Hill White Reserve 2012, Grašac wine from old vineyards which stirred a lot of attention among wine professionals. To put it simply, wine crowd responded admirably to complexity and aromatics of Grašac wine which they were not familiar with: honey hints, pollen, hay, basil, chamomile, all rounded, full-bodied, multi-layered ... A wine to remember.

During a visit to Fruška Gora wineries with a group of wine journalists as part of Vojvodina Wine Show 2019, we had an opportunity to discover another wine pearl at a wine tasting in Fruškogorski Vinogradi. Having tasted 2017 Grašac currently on the market which stylistically belongs to the category of fresh characterful Grašac wines, we peeked into the wine archive and tasted Italian Riesling 2015 and 2012 (starting from 2016, Fruškogorski Vinogradi changed the name of the variety to Grašac).

Although there are currently less than 20 bottles in the wine archive, and indeed only the privileged have an opportunity to taste it, the wine Italian Riesling 2012 Fruškogorski Vinogradi would undoubtedly fascinate the judges at any international wine contest. Certainly a wine which I would award 92 points without much hesitation. It's a wine originally made for early consumption, while young and fresh, a total of 50,000 bottles, vinification in stainless steel tanks. So, no big ambitions, but the result we have now in the glasses is impressive. And I am pleased that Fruškogorski Vinogradi Winery has an ambition to devote itself more seriously in the coming years to discovering the potential of Grašac from Fruška Gora when it comes to ageing.

More such wines are just what Grašac from Fruška Gora can offer... The famous SK-54 clone, a climate that suits it perfectly, the age of vineyards ranging between 30 and 50.. And to quote Ivo Kozarčanin, a wine journalist from Croatia: "It's time to stop oeno-pedophilia and give wines enough time to mature and reach their peak, and only then drink them."




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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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