Wine & More

Why every wine lover must-try this white blend!

We live in a fast-paced world. In a time when everything needs to be available sooner rather than on its terms, we truly appreciate the effort of the winemakers that gently cherish their wines in cellars for years until the best time for the consumer to meet them comes.

Ivan Enjingi is one of them, and here is the story about the wine that made Decanter state, “Thank God for Croatian whites!”

Wine bottles

Enjingi Venje 1998 won the gold medal for the best white wine under 10 GBP at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2008. What was more powerful than the reward itself was the article that followed the prize, stating, “Thank God for Croatian whites!”.

We wouldn’t know exactly who to thank more; the winemaker Ivan Enjingi for having the patience and realizing what a marvelous masterpiece his white blend can become after years of maturing in silence; the slate and granite bedrock on which vines were planted, or the combined forces of nature, that give us the thrill we are experiencing in this blend.

Enjingi winery
Photo credit: Enjingi winery

Ivan Enjingi was the pioneer in terms of Croatian winemaking in so many ways. In the late eighties, with the rise of private winemaking in Croatia, his late harvested Graševina was the first private wine that was permitted to be labeled as “Vrhunsko”(eng. highest or premium quality).

Ivan started planting vineyards on sites never used for grape growing. His first positions on higher lands were gained by exchanging his fertile, lower valley fields for higher altitude pastures that needed cultivating.

The estate today has around more than 50 hectares of vineyards, and Venje is the most prominent position of the winery. A visit to his circular wine cellar is an experience you would like to reserve all day, not just hours.

If you are lucky, there is a chance you could taste different vintages of Venje, still maturing in the cellar.

Enjingi winery
Photo credit: Enjingi winery

Clearly there is a special touch, a signature that makes Enjingi wines stand out from the crowd. The philosophy behind this winemaker has some key points worth knowing.

Introduction to Venje: Facts you should know!

Enjingi Venje
Enjingi Venje

1. Blend of five grape varieties, but the proportion in blends differs from vintage to vintage. There is no recipe to make Venje. The master uses his skills to make something exquisite depending on the material given each vintage.

The varieties used are

2. Venje isn’t made every year. The criteria for crafting Venje are high; not every vintage produces high-quality grapes that meet these standards.

Remember, 1998 was awarded, so it could be that the winemaker himself didn’t think any of the following vintages could compete in this, later to be found gold champion of 1998.

3. Late harvests. This is very recognizable in Enjingi wines. Grapes are left on the vines almost until they are in danger of diseases. Golden in color, you will feel this immediately on the nose. Aromas of ripened quince, late summer sweet apples, and vineyard pears reveal grapes were picked very late.

4. Matured style of white wine. The wine has been aged in Slavonian oak barrels for roughly a year and then further in the cellar, usually for over 5 years. Volcanic rocks beneath the vineyards give the wine highlighted minerality and remarkable longevity.

5. Eco wines. Enjingi produces all of his wines according to the guidance of ecological farming. As a part of the estate, they hold more than 100 cattle that help produce organic fertilizer used in the vineyards.

6. Originality. The wines are fermented on their natural yeast. This reveals their character true to the terroir of the Kutjevo region and special wine-growing positions on the estate.

What to expect from Venje?

A vertical from the famous 1998 to 2006 revealed the true potential of this cult Croatian wine.

Enjingi Venje vertical tasting
Photo credit:; Enjingi Venje vertical tasting

Some Enjingi wines, such as Gewürztraminer 2004 vintage, with an incredible 19,2 % alcohol achieved solely by natural yeast, are almost unexplainable; normally, yeast converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide during the alcoholic fermentation stops when the alcohol levels rise above 15 %.

Venje 2010 vintage, is the latest vintage released. and you can buy it at our webshop. “We can’t believe that this is 13 years old!” was our only note for this wine. And you really cannot; vivid and crisp acidity makes you feel like the wine is a baby growing, ready for years more to come.

The nose reveals layers, from apples and pears to vanilla and roses. Every layer adds to the complexity of Venje, which shows on the palate. Full-bodied white wine with high alcohol levels was made for observation.

With time, you can expect the aromas and flavor to develop, becoming more serious with leather, wet leaves, and honey. The mouthfeel becomes creamier and denser. The ’98 we enjoyed that night shows you can give your Venje 10 more years.

Don’t forget the time. Give it time and see what happens when the wine has a chance to open up in your glass.

Food pairings with Enjingi Venje

For food combinations, follow the traditional local cuisine of continental Croatia. Meals with pork and poultry would be a good companion, and aged cheese for the simplest pairings. Venje is a food-friendly wine that goes with the authentic cuisine of this region.

Turkey with “mlinci”(thin, dried flatbread that is part of Croatian tradition, cooked by pouring the boiling water with roasted turkey fat left from the backing) could be a specialty for us match from heaven.


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