• Sweet pleasures

    Croatian ice wine

    The Ice Harvest is special as it produces superb, sweet desert wines. It is one of the most demanding and risky undertakings for winegrowers; with few able to afford it and conditions not being right every year. For a successful harvest, the weather conditions need to be perfect, reaching -7c. Picking the harvest is labour intensive, done by hand by pickers who have just a few hours to do it before the vine spoils.

    The grapes are left to hang on the vine through the autumn and into winter to dehydrate and freeze. When the ripe frozen fruit are pressed, only a concentrated syrup oozes out to be fermented as much of the water is retained as ice. This increases the sugar content of the wine giving it an extraordinary intensity, a rich sweet texture with tastes of citrus peel, mango, pineapple and baked apple.

    In December 2016, Christmas Eve was the perfect day for the Ice Harvest at the Erdut Vineyard located on the eastern slopes of the Dalj mountains along the Danube. At dawn, when the temperature reached the magic -7c, all employees took to the vineyard‚Äôs southern slopes to harvest a half-hectare of frozen GraŇ°evina* grape. This was the first Ice Harvest since 2012 when the Traminac ice grape was harvested.

    It is extremely difficult to make good quality ice wine in any significant quantity. If a freeze does not come quickly enough, the grapes may rot and the crop is lost. If the freeze is too severe, no juice can be extracted. Even if the conditions are perfect, the Ice Harvest yield tends to be 10 times smaller than a regular vine. This makes it expensive with good quality ice wine, being £50 or more.

    While we wait for the 2016 ice wine to reach us, take a look at out our selection of quality wines from the Erdut Vineyard.

    Erdut Cellars wine selection

    GraŇ°evina, premium white wine 0,75 l¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

                                                                                                         
    A semi-sweet wine made from GraŇ°evina grape varieties. Greenish-yellow in colour, it has a fresh, light, pleasant aroma with a sweet taste of apple and honey. It goes deliciously with fish and white meats.

    Chardonnay, premium white wine 0,75 l   

                                                                                            
    A delicious white wine with intense sweetness and delicious aromas of apricot and honey. Erdut Chardonnay reaches its unique characteristics through aging in old oak barrels, giving it a straw-yellow color with a hint of green sheen.

     

    *GraŇ°evinais the most popular vine variety in Croatia and produces excellent¬†wine. The vine ripens late to produce high-acid, gently aromatic wines.

  • Winemakers thanksgiving

    The Feast of Saint Vincent

    As the hush descends over the Christmas and New Year celebrations, in the midst of the winter when days are cold and nights long the new Croatian wine year is now beginning.

    St. Vincent’s Day falls on 22 January, the mid-point between the onset of dormancy and bud-break in our vine’s growing cycle; when wine makers determine just how good the previous vintage is. The perfect time to reflect, celebrate another successful harvest and contemplate the promise of the new growing year. It is time to brave the harsh, cold winds and prune the vines, getting them ready for new growth in the spring.

    St. Vincent¬†of Saragossa is the patron saint of winemakers and each year a festival dedicated to his name is held in all wine-growing regions of Croatia. Legend says Saint¬†Vincent died so we can have good wine‚Ķ More honestly, the 3rd century Spanish martyr died for his faith, after some serious torture involving iron hooks and being roasted on a red-hot gridiron. Since his death, he‚Äôs become the patron saint of wine and wine-makers. In Croatia, the¬†Feast of Saint Vincent of Saragossa¬†is celebrated in all regions. It‚Äôs called ‚ÄúVinkovo‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúVincekovo‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúVincelovo‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúVinceŇ°ka‚ÄĚ, depending where you are in the country.

    In Ilok, one of Croatia’s best-known wine hills, this year’s celebration and festivities are over three days, 20-22 January 2017. Local winemakers will be showing off their wines in a large marquee, there will be blessing of the vineyards, live folk music performances, dancing, regional culinary specialties cooked over open fires, and of course plenty of local wine!

    Wishing you all a happy Feast of Saint Vincent of Saragossa. Raise a glass of your favourite Croatian wine.

    ‚ÄúŇĹivjeli!‚ÄĚ (Our Croatian toast meaning to¬†live,¬†exist, be¬†alive)