Wine & More

Antunović Winery – Where the Danube river kisses the sky

She is the first female winemaker that won the Platinum Decanter Wine Award for the best Croatian wine. And more than that, it was a Decanter for Graševina, the most planted grape variety in Croatia. This year, Graševina dominated the competition, 2 out of 3 platinum awards in Croatia went to wines made out of Graševina. Therefore, we drove to Erdut, at the very end of Croatia bordering Serbia, on the Danube River to talk to Jasna Antunović Turk, owner of the Antunović winery.

Jasna Antunović Turk – Photo: Martina Miličević

“I’m here watching the border.” smiles Jasna while showing us that her vineyards and the winery are positioned at the very end of Croatia, on the valley surrounded by the Dunav (Danube) river. From our perspective, she is moving the borders, especially for the most planted variety in Croatia – Graševina. Coming from the corporative world of finances, this economist by profession decided to slowly go into the world of wines by herself.

We visited Jasna Antunović Turk in the middle of the re-construction on her winery; she was giving the last details to the designer and then came to greet us. In the spring of 2018. she plans to open the doors of uplifted Antunović winery for guided tasting tours.

The course will include several packages, some of them including the tasting of the archive wines in specially designed part of the underground wine cellar. On the walls, you’ll notice stone mosaics made by art students, representing every part of the wine growing and making.

Tasting the archive, Antunović Graševina 2010 – Photo: Martina Miličević

Graševina is so diverse in expression, showing exceptional results in dry, young and refreshing wines as well as late harvested sweet ones. Many of Graševina here in Croatia is made in young and refreshing style, expressive on the nose with aromas of quince, pears, green apples. But the wines that showed the best results this year in London were aged, dry Graševina and late harvested, selected berry, sweet Graševina. These two wines were named as the best in the country, along with the Teran wine from Benvenuti winery.

Jasna says that Erdut marl and mineral soils, a mixture of different clays and fossilized shells favors Graševina vines. Grapevines from this area extract much of the mineral components from the ground. That’s why the best wines of the region, are able to last for years in the bottle developing complexity with the mineral backbone. Graševina is also the dominant grape variety in the Antunović winery, making the 2/3 of total wine production

The whole wine region is a plain, with the highest part being the “Dalj mountain”, only 200 meters high. One of the longest European river, Danube, shapes the everyday life here – from food being served at the local diners, river fish specialties, to the shape of the Erdut wine road, which looks like a peninsula, surrounded by the river.

Signature wines from the Antunović Winery

„I appreciate traditional winemaking and longer maceration.” The premium line of Antunović winery is a blend of aged wines that are rich, creamy and seductive with layered aromas. Same as the Graševina Premium 2013. that thrilled the judges at the DWWA 2017.

“Petrol, honey and quince nose. Mosaic of luscious flavours zips across the palate with pronounced mango, papaya, and lime. Acidity adds structure to this beautifully complex wine. Lingering finish of subtle tobacco and honey. Outstanding.”

There are only less than 800 bottles of this luscious Premium Graševina 2013. left on the market.

The premium line is only produced in years when the best fruit is harvested. The same was with the Graševina 2015 that is still aging in the large oak barrels, made out of Slavonian oak. The final blend that goes into the Premium line will be a mix of several Graševina, aged in oak barrels and fresh ones from inox. Jasna explained that she is only playing and creating with what she has in the vineyard that year. Like with every great wine, each vintage tells a different story with new flavours, aromas, and character of the wine.

Tradition is seen on every part in the Antunović Winery – Photo: Martina Miličević

For lunch, we moved to the traditional “Stari Mlin” (Old Mill) restaurant that serves river fish specialties and one of the best fish-paprikash in the region. The restaurant is overlooking the Danube river and don’t be surprised by the live band that will sing you through your meal. It’s a part of the experience here.

Our fish Orly was wonderfully accompanied by the fresh Antunović Graševina 2016. Harmonious and aromatic wine, full of fresh aromas of green apples with a floral touch. Mineral signature from the Erdut soil is visible on every sip, making this Graševina complex yet extremely enjoyable to drink.

Best Winery in Slavonia and Danube Region for 2017.

At the recently held Vinart Anual Wine Awards, the Antunović winery was announced as the Best Winery in Slavonia and Danube wine region. The wineries were selected according to the contribution to the affirmation of its wine region, as well as building the image of reliability, uniqueness and high quality.

Antunović Winery – Photo: Martina Miličević

Where the Dunav (Danube) kisses the sky

These are the popular lyrics of the song written by the famous Croatian signer Josipa Lisac. When Josipa performed at the “Wine & Bike Tour Erdut” in 2015, the organizers asked her if she knew where was the place she sang about. She said, now I know – it is here in Erdut.

Driving through the Erdut and Dalj vineyards, all you really see is the mighty Dunav river and the sky, surrounded by forests and planted fields. This is dominantly agricultural part of Croatia where life and activities happen according to what nature gives us each year. This part seems so attached to the land and plantings that everyday life is unthinkable without going to the field and working on the land.

Just what we, living in the city, miss. Dalj, where the Antunović winery is located, is only a 3 hours’ drive from the capital, Zagreb. The whole ride is the motorway, so I cannot think of a reason good enough no to go and taste the “fish paprikash” on the banks of Dunav, along with local wines next time you are looking for a unique wine trip.

Wine and Bike Tour Erdut, yearly event in September – Photo: Moj Osijek website

This is a place where wine is made for over 300 years. Very special by its connections to the Danube river, which shapes the whole wine region. CNN listed this wine region as one of the 20 most beautiful places to visit in Croatia, along with the Plitvice lakes, Rovinj or Motovun. If you are a bike lover, every year in September you can join hundreds of wine lovers bicycling through the wineries and vineyards of this region for the annual Wine & Bike Tour Erdut. A viisit to the Antunović winery in Dalj is strongly recommended. You could experience much more than you expected from the queen of the vineyards, Graševina.

See you there!

by: Martina Miličević of pret-a-wine


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