The tradition of Serbian wines …
Nicknamed “the healthy mountain” by the Serbian novels, Fruska Gora (close to Novi Sad) and its volcanic soil have made this place a privileged place of wine-growing since the Romans, until considering local production by the European sovereigns as THE best wine of the old continent in the thirteenth century. Welcome to the tradition of Serbian wines …
And it is not France that will assert the contrary, since phylloxera oblige, our Second Empire then turns to other horizons to consume the drink of Bacchus. Then a Great War, a collectivist Yugoslavia and a Balkan war will pass by there to put an end to this golden era. We must wait until the 2000s to see this divine nectar re-emerge from the land of … Djokovic (yes, each his references …).
And the choice is vast. For my part, this one turned towards the North and the region of Subotica. And more precisely Palic, small town of some 7000 inhabitants. What to say ? The welcome is warm, the lake is beautiful and nature is queen. A feeling of well-being … that I could not not ride a bicycle (I know but we do not do it again 🙂 ). Along the lake, the Vinski Dvor estate welcomes me. Honestly, I went more for tradition than for wines. This house of 1856 was the first to convert to Serbian oenotourism, twenty years back. So it’s beautiful, typical but frankly not good. So I do not want to go into a heavy vehicle in the area: Zvonko Bogdan. Does that name tell you anything? Yet he is one of Serbia’s most popular singers. I’m sure it’s up to you now 😉 .
Created in 2005, it renovates a house of the Middle Ages to make a sumptuous palace, ideally located between 2 lakes for reflections and preserve freshness and humidity. In all it is 64 hectares, mainly international grape varieties, 400 000 bottles per year and an oenologist who comes from Bordeaux. Well, you guessed, once I wrote that, we all owe it to industrial wine, good but without character. And it was. We start with a Pinot Grigio 2015, classic: lemon green reflection, a nose granny smith and a mouth stretched on nettle and freshness. Then a Chardonnay 2015 partly in French oak, slightly buttered and tropical. Finally, a Cuvée n ° 1 2014, blend Merlot / Cabernet Franc / Frankovka (Blaüfrankisch Austrian) on red fruits, vanilla but still young and closed. Everything between 8 and 13 €. And to complete the marketing touch, each wine range bears the name of one of its songs. The circle is complete. It’s nice, the place is cool but it really does not breathe the soil.
And then there was tasting at Oszkar Maürer. This kind of moment you are looking for, without actually knowing how to define it. A mixture of passion, conviction, vision and quality. All served by a character: Goran. From the visit of the vineyard, one understands the philosophy of Oszkar: respect for nature and valorization of local grape varieties. So, I said to myself: “Another one surfing the wave of biodynamics and going to sell his wine a fortune on the pretext that his fertilizer is composed of rabbit droppings buried in a buffalo horn.” And shame on me! True priesthood, he swears only for the welfare of nature. No need for certifications, to call this bio, biodynamy or other. Working with the eccentric Isabelle Legeron, first French woman Master of Wine and personality apart in the world of wine, the motto is: get back to basics. And I like it! We sit in the basement, around a beautiful rustic table, a plate of local olives and cheeses and we cut the bib. Ever heard of the Szeremi Zöld, the Bakator or the Mézes? Neither do I. Wine-loving lesson of this atypical winegrower. First, as a tribute to his Hungarian grandfather who made champagne in the 1920s, he named his first white wine Zöldfülü which, as the name suggests, means “relieve” in magyar 😉 . A blend of 5 grape varieties, all traditionally used for centuries. Riesling, furmint (the famous Tokay), the white kadarka (I knew only the red …) and thus Szeremi Zöld and Bakator, two Hungarian varieties almost disappeared that Oszkar wants to value. So not by chauvinism but because he believes in the potential of these grapes. Result: with this domination of the Szeremi Zöld, I bet on a viognier to the blind … Goran saves me the setting by assuring me that for a long time, by its aromas of honey, apricot and even mushrooms, many thought it was the same family. Ouf … At 5 €, rarely seen better value for money. We then pass on another Hungarian unknown: the Mezes Fehér. A golden dress with a marked acidity on limestone and stone: still a good job. I am amazed because it produces these wines not just by principle of “local bio”, but because it is good !!! And what about the Sarga Muskatoly: a classic Tokaj perfectly adapted here with pear, quince and caramelized apple.
And then the heart-stopper, what do I say? THE wonder. Not packed when he offers me an Olaszrizling, which never made me crazy, better known as the Italian riesling. Then it’s a festival with this exuberance of tropical fruits, honey, pepper, pepper, … and so on. For this price, I embark all the production and even that of the last white wine: the Vinum Regnum with 75% of Furmint and 25% of Tramini . It smells of forest with moss and mushrooms then the quince and the honey typical of the furmint are imposed in the mouth. How to recover from such a tasting? Perhaps ending with their small digestive: a Pinot Noir in late vintage and mutated version “cognac”. A delight … but finally, what more normal at Maürer, worthy representative of medieval sovereigns.