Three years ago, thanks to a man whom I love oh-so-very much, I became a passionate wine lover. I tried red wines, white wines, dry wines, sweet wines, semi-dry wines, different versions of rosé, sparkling wines, wines aged over 30, 50 or even 120 years. Wines that are made and kept by the Orthodox monks, and a few bottles from the papal cellar. I’ve tried wines from Italy, wine from France, wine from Spain, Portugal, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, wines from all-across the Balkans, and even from New Zealand and Australia! Nevertheless, I insist, Serbia is a country of good brandy and even better wine! I will always give priority to small, local distilleries, because here, in the mountainous Balkans, there is a real treasure of unexplored aroma and taste, which are carefully produced by traditional recipes, the finest grain of local varieties. Also, our country is very rich in indigenous varieties. The word “indigenous” implies that something exists and lives in the same area since ancient times, and that it was not brought from another area. Today’s trend in the world of wine increasingly emphasizes the cultivation of indigenous varieties of grapes in a natural way, without using any synthetic means during the manifacture. There are wineries in Serbia who chose the direction of growing only the indigenous grape varieties. The cultivation of traditional varieties such as Тamjanika, Prokupac, Kadarka, Bermet, Franconia.
I would set aside two wineries Panić and Matalj, which are one of the few wineries that produce black Tamjanika! They do not use pesticides to protect the grapes, as well as synthetic agents – during the process of aromatization no tannins are added, and there is no filtering. The whole process of making wine is completely natural – and as such, can seriously compete with world-renowned wineries that work with international varieties. Autochthonous variety and the wine made from it are distinguished and separated from the rest of the wine, because of their uniqueness, which originates from the country that they are coming from, ways of growing and wine-making methods that are used during the manufacture.
We will present some of the main indigenous varieties of wine for our area, as well as their basic characteristics, based on which you will easily be able to recognize them, “at the first smell and sip”.
Liqueury wine, with sweet taste and a very large percentage of sugar in it, which is a specialty of Fruskogorska region;
Its use was primarily in old herbal medicine. It was used to improve digestion and as an natural aphrodisiac, but later it began to be produced for widespread use.
Tastes similar as Vermouth, although the exact recipe for producing bermet is a well-kept secret, by a handful of families who still produce it.
This old indigenous grape variety was almost forgotten few years ago.
Tamjanika is smooth and harmonious wine, with very pleasant taste and aroma, and a special sweetness.
This wine has opulent flavors, bright yellow color with greenish glow. It had characteristic Muscat taste and smell, and carries a combination of spicy notes of frankincense, cinnamon, basil and fruity notes of pineapple and strawberries.
Tamjanika is a matches nicely with fish and seafood, especially with cakes that contain walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds.
Kadarka excels with elegance, ease, smoothness, refinement and the moderate presence of a suitable acid.
Special aroma reminds me of a mild taste of refreshing fruits and cherries.
After a long time consuming Kadarka, its taste attracts and encourages men to try it again and drink it more and more and more.
Subotica-Horgos sands after World War II was a major exporter of Kadarka wines to Europe. It was brought here by Serbs, but the Hungarians preserved it through the centuries.
There are several varieties of kadarka, such as: red kadarka, kadarka sealer, kadarka white, pink and dessert kadarka.
Kevedinka is an interesting indigenous variety that originated on Fruska Gora, and in 17th century it settled in Horgos vineyards.
The wine is light yellow in color with a golden glow around the perimeter, the good clarity and reflection.
Flavors are rich and complex, fruity notes stand out with the dominance of peach, clover honey and then in the background you can taste European elder. On the palate it is full, delicious, creamy and fruity character that fits neatly with a honey note, hough it lacks acidity. In the aftertaste it also expresses relish, has a nice fruity honey character and is very stable.
It is best served with fish, shellfish, veal, chicken and low-fat cheeses.
Prokupac is our old indigenous variety which in the past had much more importance than today. According to some records, this variety was grown even in the time of Tsar Lazar, 700 years ago.
Prokupac is the variety that should be grown on dry ground, permeable, gravel-rocky places, especially in the warmer, southern regions of Serbia.
The sugar content is around 18-22%, but this wine is very smooth, sweet and refreshing, with a 10-12% alcohol.
Prokupac has a ruby color. It chambers fresh scent of ripe red fruit with moderate and well-balanced structure. Wines can be used for blending with other varieties, but also for the production of strong alcohol – grape brandy known as “loza” and brandy called “vinjak”.
Last night I gave a chance to a small distillery from Jagodina – oh boy, as I was surprised! It is called “Mala noćna muzika” and it is a high quality wine at an affordable price.
My MOST FAVORITE WINE of all time and geographical origin, is a wine from Serbia – wine named “AURELIUS KOVAČEVIĆ”. It is better than any foreign wine that I’ve ever tasted, and it is measured by the fullness of taste, the smell and feel of absolute bliss which the body produces after just one sip. Wines made by the family Kovacevic, come from grapes from family vineyards in Irig, as well as from other parts of Fruska Gora vineyards and wine from the wider region of Srem. Four generations of family Kovačević has been working hard in this winery since the beginning of the last century. Also, their tradition of making premium wines carefully nurture and develop grapes, has been slowly developing in the past hundred years. With the latest technology and machines for the manufacture, and a long family tradition, wineries Kovacevic is a blend of modern and traditional, and nowadays is one of the most recognizable brands in Serbian new age wine market. But that’s not all! If you start exploring the Fruska Gora, do not forget to visit their restaurant in addition to a standard of best wines and rich cuisine offers, and also comfortable accommodation. All the more reason to fully enjoy the charms of wine and sail to your unforgettable adventure.
Whether the bottle is made of glass, crystal, gold or plastic, whose name is on the label, the year when it was produced, and geographical origin it was always more important to me what is the quality and essence of some product, and is what amount of happiness it can provide.
Local wines can provide you with unforgettable experiences and momentsof true enjoyment. However, people are mostly shallow creatures – they are always looking for wines with a foreign label, with some euphonious name, with an attractive design or packaging that is looking costly. Mostly in the end those people get a blank name, a nice bottle or label and quite shitty product in it. There is no difference when searching for other people in order to socialize or maybe start a romance – they usually look for the “label”, how “expensive” is to get to them, the cost of robes, shoes and accessories they have on themselves, what is the “design of bottle” and if someone is and “imported product” (because here goes prejudice which lives very strongly in people from Serbia – they believe that everything foreign is better than domestic, people from abroad areway better people, and living in some other contry is believed to be a fairytale life!) …
I love my people like I love my wine – to be cultivated variety with high quality, to be true to them-selves, to be what they truely are (not to hide behind their “label” and “fancy packaging”), to have an ability to enrich the soul, to be the ones you can share your sadness with but also real friends who know how to celebrate and rejoice with you…
Therefore, when choosing your wine and your friends – choose wisely!