En Premier Slavonia 2023.

Advent in Croatia

After the three-year corona break, on February 1 this year, the Slavonian-Baranja-Srijem En Primeur was held again, the premier tasting of young wines from last year's vintage. Unlike of the last En Primeur which was held at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb and which, in addition to winemakers from the wine-growing regions of Slavonia and Croatian Podunavlje, also gathered winemakers from Međimurje and Dalmatia, this year's En Primeur was held at the Esplanade Hotel and gathered only winemakers from eastern Croatia, members of the Graševina Croatica association.

The goal of this event is to gather winemakers and wine professionals (distributors, restaurant and wine shop owners, journalists, bloggers, etc.) in one place so that the winemakers can present to the professionals their recent wine creations that have just matured in the wine cellars. One of the charms of the wine world lies in the fact that the same type of wine from different vintage years is almost never the same, because what kind of wine it will be depends on what the wine year was like; what was the amount of precipitation, how many hours of sunshine there were, etc. That's why it's nice and useful to have the opportunity to taste the young wines of several dozen winemakers in one place.

The festival started at 12:16, and the novelty of this edition of En Primeur is that after 10:XNUMX it opened its doors to the general public, so anyone who paid a €XNUMX ticket could taste everything offered.

I started the trip to Zagreb with the organizer and the director of the Novigrad wine festival (which this year takes place on May 5 and 6) in Slavko Sremce, and before we took the highway from Nova Gradiška to the Croatian metropolis, I traveled more than a hundred kilometers along the "old road" from the Drava to the Sava, diagonally crossing half of Slavonia with the intention to pass through the Kutjevac vineyard, from which a good number of exhibitors at the Slavonic En Primeur came.

The first wine-growing place I passed through was Bektež, where the Josipović family lives, which produces sparkling wine Jazz and Tango which could be tasted at this year's En Primeur. The sun was shining over the Zlatni Dolina and that panoramic ride, in which the views of the fields in the valley and the vineyards on the slopes of Krndija alternate, was fascinating. An excellent visual introduction to the fantastic tasting that awaits me.

Students of the Polytechnic in Požega and students of the Vocational High School from Đakovo presented their "school" wines, and the Baranja Culinary Association presented their "Kulen snack". At the exhibition site Markota Winery from Pleternica, their white blend under the working name "Cuvée premium" which combines Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Graševina caught my attention. The label and name under which this wine will be marketed will be devised in the near future. There is always a great selection of Mass wines, but Graševina and Chardonnay are not far behind.

Winery Soldo from Vetovo is the only winery that presented wine from the Manzoni variety. Erdut Winery presented two iterations of Graševina, one with 12 and the other with 12,2% alcohol. There was also a great young graševina Jarčevo brdo from the Svijetli dvori winery in Karanač, as well as a personal collection graševina from the Kolar winery from Suza, and a selective harvest of graševina from the Kalazić winery from the wine capital of Baranja - Zmajevac. Red sweet wine, coupage Black forest of the Buhač winery from Ilok was a special treat, and the black coupage is also interesting Jokes of the Perić winery from Velika. And so one could list endlessly...

In addition to new wines, there were also new producers, so the winery was presented for the first time Consul from Vetovo owned by Marijan Kavran. Until now, he was known to the general public as the director of the Croatian Wood Cluster, and he entered the wine business and bought vineyards in the Kutjevac vineyard after a long-term friendship with Vlad Krauthaker. They grow mainly graševina, and some Rhine Riesling and Sauvignon, and they are also preparing for export to the Chinese market.

Photos: Mario Jukić


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