3rd INTERNATIONAL PROKUPAC DAY

Scris la 29 octombrie 2018 in Povesti despre vin | Niciun comentariu

“Scrie pe Vin2.ro” povești trăite de oameni care iubesc vinul. Astăzi îl avem invitat pe Gian Luca Garattoni. Italian din Bologna și carea a trăit ani buni în Finlanda, Gian Luca s-a stabilit de curând in Serbia, devenind un bun cunsoscator al vinurilor din Balcani, urmând să lanseze un blog de vinuri și călătorii. Este un activ membru al comunitații winelover și un bun prieten al vinurilor românești.

On October 14th each year the world of wine celebrates the Prokupac, a red variety endemic in Serbia.
Some wine experts believe that the variety can be also found outside the borders, in Szekszard (Hungary), where is considered a Kadarka variant and in Macedonia, where it’ called Skopsko Crno (Skopje’s) black.
However no wine producer outside Serbia has so far claimed that Prokupac is among the varieties used.
One good news is that this year Prokupac Day was really “international”, in The Netherlands a nice initiative was realized, but the main action was here, in Serbia
For the Great Public the main event was a tasting in a very beautiful venue: the panoramic City Garden Reastaurant, on the top floor of Rajevica Shopping Center on the elegant Knez Mihajlova, near Kalemegdan.
Other private initiatives were organized, I went to four tastings at Vinoteka Beograd on October 12th and 13th and I’m going to report about them at the beginning of this story. I have also added a personal  visit to Vinarija Rujevica in Kragujevac on the 16th (they weren’t present at the happening this year).
Let’s start with the events at Vinoteka Beograd, undisputably the best wine shop of the country, located in Bulevar Oslobođenja 117, close to the famous “Marakana” (officially Rajko Mitić) stadium. All the four wineries invited were from Župa (Southern Serbia)
October 12th at 17.00
PODRUM BRACA RAJKOVIĆ (www.podrumbracarajkovic.com)
There was a vertical tasting of their Prince, a 100% Prokupac
-Prince 2008 – It was light in color and structure, nice floral notes (rose), fine texture, medium length: not really exciting probably just too old.
-Prince 2009- A completely different story, beginning with a much darker color, it still had sour cherry notes showing already on the nose the typical spices, white pepper and cloves. Perfect harmony in mouth, tannins, alcohol, acidity were beautifully balanced. The final was long, there was a nice retronasal return. I loved it.
-Prince 2011 This was spectacular, more fruit (not only the typical sour cherry but red cherry too), on the palate more tannins, white and black pepper, cloves and chocolate. My favorite of the five Prince
-Prince 2012 A good wine, but a bit simple, I don’t believe it can make further progresses by being layed down. Drink now
-Prince 2015 It has an awesome potential, amazing fruit, color and tannins It was a ripe vintage but here the acidity was preserved, assuring length and enhancing a saline sensation. I would recommend to purchased this wine for sure, but also to cellar it for 18-24 more months.
-Opium 2009 A blend of Vranac, Prokupac and Začinak. Vranac here was the majoritarian variety, giving a strong Balsamic (“Mediterranean”) notes. Also the structure was much more than in the Prince-s. If Prince 2011 reminded me of a Nebbiolo, Opium 2009 led me to a comparison to Aglianico. Make no mistake please, Prokupac isn’t genetically related to Nebbiolo nor is Vranac to Aglianico, I’m just trying to help to understand the readers who are more familiar to Italian varieties than Balkan ones
There was another wine, the 33, an International blend marked by Cabernet Sauvignon, a good one but out of the subject of this article.
October 12th at 19.00
VINO BUDIMIR (www.vinobudimir.com)
The second tasting was about this legendary winery
They brought a lot of wines, I’ll talk briefely on some of them
To focus on their premium Prokupac : Boje Lila (Lilly Color)
Their entry-level Prokupac is called Triada, the Triad being: Moja Zemlja, Moja Porodica, Moj Vino (My Land, My Family,My Wine). Prokupac 95%, Merlot 5%. They brought the 2012 (36 months in barrels of various sizes). So much for an “entry-level”! Remarkable varietal fruit and the usual Prokupac spices: white pepper and cloves mostly. The length isn’t amazing but for a Prokupac-dummy, like I was 12 months ago, it’s the best possible start!
The second one is Projekat X 2009 I always found this wine the least exciting of the lot, possibly because Prokupac is only the 30% of the total, then you have Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Nothing negative to say, it just lacks of character, a good red wine and that’s it.
Then came my loved ones: Boje Lila-s They’re pure Prokupac from bush vines of 100-120 years of age. The yeld per plant is 300-1000 kg. Here the vertical tasting followed the textbook: from young to old
-Boje Lila 2015, not released yet.  The first impression was of a future block-buster, a feeling of depth of a still unexpressed potential. Just completed the barrel-ageing it has still many secondary flavours (from the wood): likevanilla, toasted coffee beans…It will take almost 4 more years before we’ll be able to purchase it, I’m pretty sure we’ll find this wine a memorable edition.
-Boje Lila 2013, not released yet. The peculiarity of this one is it’s roundness, a “vin flatteur”, as they say in France, already evolved in its spiciness. It doesn’t have length of the 2015, nor its structure, my suggestion is to drink it once it will appear on the market.
-Boje Lila 2012 This was the most difficult to evaluate. Still very closed, I couldn’t judge its aromas. Probably the opposite of the one year younger brother: we’ll have to be patient before opening this bottle
-Boje Lila 2011 Awesome! Released on market this year. Floral nose, silky texture, white pepper, cloves and nutmeg (the latter is specific of this label) A never-ending finish. Among the wine world’s leader’s!
-Boje Lila 2009 (Last but not least) In a post on a Facebook group made an year ago about this wine I’ve called it “Balkan Nebbiolo”. I think I would make the same comment now. Aromatically similar to the 2011, a bit less concentrated. If you have a bottle of this beauty at home it’s time to drink it now: it won’t improve any further
Then came three different vintages of Sub-Rosa: a blend of 70% Prokupac and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. They are excellent but the Cabernet Sauvignon is very “assertive” But if you’ll have a Sub-Rosa it won’t let you down
October 13th, 2018 at 17.00
VINARIJA IVANOVIC (www.ivanovicvino.com)
The third winery from Župa, the second, after Budimir, from the town of Aleksandrovac
When it comes to Prokupac Ivanovic are famous for their “NO. ½”, so called because Prokupac is only the half of the blend, the remaining being Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in equal parts But also the more simple Prokupac is definitely worth to be uncovered.
The Prokupac 2016 is a very beautiful wine. Sour, red and black cherry, despite being ripe, it keeps its acidity letting minerality to express itself on the palate. Good length, a very nice wine.
More details now on two vintages of “No. ½”
-No ½ 2015: As it is usually the case with this vintage, fruit very present, rather big structure. It’s a classy big red, also because the acidity is anyway well preserved. Minerality can also be appreciated and the length is there.
-No ½ 2016. My Impression is that Dragoslav Ivanovic has obtained great results from this vintage If the 2015 was more marked by the Bordeaux varieties, this one is for Prokupac’s lovers like me More acid and long, aromas more subtle, minerality more evident than in the previous one beacause less covered by the fruit Very young still, it will need a couple of more years to achieve, I think, a big complexity.
-Experiment 2017 Spontaneous fermentation. Although there’s only a small amount of it, Cabernet Sauvignon can be easily recognized with its earthy flavors and black pepper Also the fruit, the black currant is as present as the sour cherry. It is very long.
-Experiment 2015 Also at Cokot’s a lot of fruit in this vintage, also some chocolate
-Experiment 2016 Was more on the sour cherry,  very fine and elegant, but lacking the depth and complexity which could make a Grand Vin
-Experiment 2012 Evolved very well developing balsamic notes
-100% Radovan 2017 Amazing ! Black cherry (it was a very hot summer) spices already evolved Impressive structure, considering the varietal : 34gr /Liter is at the level of a Brunello di Montalcino. Simply fantastic : you look for a complex wine, prepared to resist the temptation to open it for a few years, then you find a one year old Prokupac and..bingo !
-100%Radovan2015. Here you find Prokupac at its best : floral (rose), some sour cherry, the classic white pepper & cloves and the extremely fine texture.
At the end a surprise : a 2018 (sic !) blend of Petit Verdot (20%) and Prokupac. It’s very intriguing : the petit Verdot brings plenty of tannins and some wild aromas which I can’t honestly describe since I’ve very little experience with wines having a such important percentage of this varietal in their blend But it was a very nice surprise and I’m curious to try it ago in the months to come
October 14th 2018 PROKUPAC DAY
The tasting opened to the public started at 4 p.m. Of course, the wines tasted at Vinoteka Beograd were also at the salon and I won’t write again about them There were some other interesting wines though.
-Milanov Podrum from Župa (www.milanovpodrum.com) They presented two pure Prokupac from 2016 : a white and a rose. I know they also make the red version but they still aren’t happy about that. Both were from 2016 The Prokupac White (the only one in the world) is a nice and complex wine At the first impression it shows a citrus nose, then, rapidly, comes the white pepper and herbal, aromatic notes. Very saline on palate, long finished. I had it also a year ago, with ageing it has gained a lot of complexity and length. Also in the rose the varietal was very obvious, even more because the fruit was of sour cherry, not citrus. Again salinity, especially at the end. So far the second best Balkan’s rose I’ve ever tried after a Bulgarian Cabernet Franc. Also the color : it was a pleasure, not anemic at all !
-Toplicki Vinogradi,  (www.toplickivinogradi.com) , from Toplica valley, also Southern Serbia, about the same latitude as Župa but more to the west. I love their Epigenia Prokupac 2015. A ripe fruit, sour, red and black cherry, mouth filling thanks to the structure, minerality and acidity, good length.
-Podrum Botunjac  (www.vinabotunjac.rs) Back to Župa Kosta Botunjac is a legend for his Pinot Noir, also famous for being the only producer in the world to make jagoda, an ancient white variety, but he also produces a lovely ,young  100% Prokupac, Sveti Graal (Holy Grail) The 2017 is a straightforward wine, very varietal, the white pepper and the minerality are there, balanced and long, not a surprise from a winemaker used to Pinot Noir
A couple of more big names now
-Temet (www.temet.rs) from Šumadija, Central Serbia Their Tri Morave 2017 is a dramatic
Improvement compared to the 2016. Fruit, color, structure, all of them much more present than in the previous vintage Very good !
-Vinarija Virtus (www.vinarijavirtus.rs) also from Šumadija Here the comparaison is Prokupac 2015 vs. 2014 Again a spectacular improvement : it’s more tannic but, most importantly, more complex. Here you’ll also find earthy notes, very long finish. Not all its potential is expressed I suggest to wait one more year.
Finally a New Kid in Town
-Vinarija Vujić from Aleksandrovac made a spectacular debut with a 2015 pure Prokupac from over 90 years old bush vines. An excellent wine, some similarities with Čokot’s Experiment They make a very complex and structured wine.
None of the other Prokupac tasted were faulty, nor too simple. Serbian winemakers are believing in the variety and are putting their passion and creativity to get the best possible results.
October 16th, 2018 in Kragujevac (Šumadija)
-Vinarija Rujevica (www.rujevica.rs). They also make a pure Prokupac : I tasted their 2016. The style was similar to Botunjac’s although vintage and terroir is different. A fruit-driven Prokupac with its lovely texture and spiciness Again a true wine, its flavours stay in your mouth long after you’ve swallowed.
Definetely, for a winelover who can spend some holiday in October, Serbia is the place to go !
Živeli

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