In the north of Croatian part of Baranja, which is a distinctly lowland area “Banska Kosa” Hill is located, which is ideal for growing of wine grapes. Name “Baranja” itself is probably connected to these good conditions, because in Hungarian boranya means wine mother. These ideal conditions for wine grape cultivation and production of excellent wines have also been recognized by the Romans who, more than 2,000 years ago, have named the Banska Kosa Hill “Mons aureus”, or golden hill.
Baranja hill is one of top-quality Croatian wine-growing districts. The climatic conditions with annual rainfall average of 686 cubic mm, are favorable for cultivation of wine grape, while the annual temperature sum in the vegetation period is 3,479 degrees Celsius, and autumn is warmer than spring. In this fantastic region is situated a farmstead of family Kolar.
Wines nourished in the Kolar family cellar, at the foot of the Baranja Mountain were passionately in love with the sun and were refined by diligent people. They are always willing to talk about the alliance of the sun and man. In Suza, a small place in midst of Baranja. Lajoš and Ilona Kolar, together with their daughters Sibila and Kinga, and son-in-law Mario, care for the heritage of their family in agriculture and vineyard. Today they have tasting room, restaurant, and camping place.
Baranja is populated with mixed Croatian and Hungarian population. Suza is first mentioned as Chuza in King Bela IV’s Charter of Donation from 1252. In the period between 1698 and 1734 the village used to be the property of Eugene of Savoy, and during the Revolution of 1848-1849 the inhabitants were freed from serfdom.Today it is an agricultural village. The inhabitants grow wheat, barley, corn, sunflower, grape and fruits. If you mention Suza, everyone in Baranja will tell you the place is known for its country pub “Kovač čarda”, visited daily by families from neighbouring Hungary because of its fish stew. Apart from that, in the main road of Suza are cellars with famous Baranja wine by Ljudevit Kolar. It is also worth mentioning that there are several pairs of white stork nesting in the village.
Because Suza in Croatian means “tear”, Kolar Family took the name as a signature, naming its products Suza of Baranja (Tear of Baranja). The original name of the place, Chuza, has less romantic meaning – it was a prison place.
The wine story of Kolar family is indeed an experience of Baranja. Fresh white Graševina has optimal neutrality and is recommended as first wine, excellent with spicy food, white meat or fish. Although Graševina is a signature wine of continental Croatia, Kolar’s Sauvignon stands out. This white wine with slight greenish colour has a smell of elder and slight bitterness characteristic for the Baranja terroir. Harmony of Sauvignon made this wine the awarding wine of the Kolar cellar.
Pinot White is a wine of sort aroma, with yellow-green colour. Harmonised bitterness comes from the vineyard which needs a bit more of sunshine. Nevertheless, the wine is very individualised, perfect for solo enjoyment. This sort is very sensible on frost. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, is more accentuated, with dark green-yellow colour and aroma of dried fruit, maybe even honey. This very rich and typical sort is a wine for special occastions, demanding but very stimulating.
Chardonnay is Kolar’s choice for pure enjoyment. Greenish and yellowish colour, it is very drinkable, harmonious, and wide in flavour. It is early wine, and has ideal combination with ham and hot peppers in the Danube valleys, and Kolars say it is served excellently with cooled homemade strawberries. Traminer is wine for which Baranja is famous, especially in the terrains of Kotlina, Suza and Zmajevac, traditional wine making regions. It is made in smaller quantities, but has tremendous smell, gold-yellow colour, with mighty aroma. Great choice as an aperitif and with desserts. And for the gastronomical adventure, best choice would be rhine riesling, whose nobility is famous for generations in Baranja.
Family also makes red wines. Pinot Negro is formidable, red-rubin colored wine, with aroma of riped grapes. It is good choice for the dark meat and game dishes, drinkable with cooked meat, and even chicken, but excellent with salted roasted duck or goose, spicy sauces and mature cheese. Cabernet Sauvignon is mystical red dry wine, with intensive rubin-red colour, well formed and full of taste. Its grape is picked last in the season of red wines, practically several days before first snow. Excellent choice with mature cheeses and noble meals of large game. Frankovka is cozy red wine, known in Baranja as wine for nobility, ideal for spicy game dishes and dessert cheeses. Additionally, Kolar family makes great Rose.
Especially appealing are the colours of bottle stickers. The colours are joyful, even radiant. They follow folk patterns of Baranja with additional imagination based on the tastes of particular wine. With these colours, Kolar’s wine stands out and is a good marketing starting point.
All visitors to Kolar family cellar will be invited to the degustation. The restaurant is a special story. One part is made in once real wine cellar, with brick vaults. Another is made in a wooden place, with timber from the Baranja woods. Both parts cater for 36 persons and works upon the reservation of minimum ten persons. The menu offers some domestic dishes, such as Čobanac with pork legs (a shephard’s stew), paprikaš, fiš made of mixed fish, veal perkelt, and local desserts strudel (cheese and raisins, apples, cherries) and gužvara (with nuts, poppy, cocoa).
As elsewhere in Baranja, fish from rivers and lakes are abudant on the menu, with special emphasis on carp, luce, and perch. You may also spend your nights in three double rooms, and also in the newly made camping site. In that way you can truly get to know this magical land in the northeastern Croatia!
Maršala Tita 141, 31308 Suza
+385 31 733081, +385 31 733006
+385 91 524 9351, +385 91 539 9614
Credits for some photos and text: Podrumi Kolar