It is 11th time that professor Ivan Dropuljić and his team organises VINOcom, the Zagreb International Festival of Wine and Culinary Art, in the luxury Esplanade Hotel in the centre of Croatian capital. This exceptional two-day event is indeed the place where every serious wine maker shows up. And the visiting numbers soared this year.
It was really hard to pass all the wine fans, together with substantial number of young, student-aged people, who took the opportunity of relatively small price of entry to enjoy drinking exquisite Croatian and foreign wines. And while the desire of drinking might be worrisome in their age, there is a comfort of knowing that they are interested in quality wines. Whole public space of Hotel Esplanade was too small for all the enthusiast, wineries, and culinary guests. We can only applaud for the organisation!
Every Croatian wine region was present: from the famous wine counties in Slavonia and Međimurje, to the Istrian terroirs and Dalmatian islands, not omitting some rising wine powers in Moslavina, Plešivica, Dalmatian hinterland, Krk, and many other places. International presence from Slovenia, Montenegro, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina was small but gave additional accent on getting to know new wineries in new territories, and to revisit some known flavours.
And while every winery is worth to stop by and have a few words with sip of wine, it is almost impossible to comprehend everyone in these two days. Still, a common trend is quite visible. White wines are almost everywhere refreshing, bright, fruity, and easy to drink. Red ones are full of flavour and bouquet, serious and rich. Quite a number of sparkling wines emerged in the last few years and VINOcom was an opportunity to taste some of them.
The workshops throughout the event gave a great accent on rising topics in wine industry and wine consummation today. Some of them were dedicated to the specific terroirs and regions in Croatia. Black Gold of Slavonia stressed the opportunities of red wines in the eastern regions of Croatia, known particularly more for its white varieties. Still, as some of the wineries already show, the opportunities are far more than traditional Frankovka.
Evolution of Škrlet was another interesting workshop, focused on rather unknown wine from Moslavina. Škrlet experiences quite a renaissance in last few years, becoming a wine of national importance and solidly presented by the Moslavina wine makers at the fair. A special story was also dedicated to Traminac from town of Ilok and renown Iločki Podrumi winery. Wine from the Principovac area in Ilok is cultivated continuously from 1710, and Traminac is most rewarded wine of Croatia, preferable at the royal courts and bishop palaces.
Last decade saw re-emergence of many old and lost wine sorts, and one of them is Zlatarica, from island of Korčula and from the Dalmatian Hinterland, in Vrgorac, and also in Neretva Valley. The tasting of Zlatarica from the four local wineries in Vrgorac/Neretva region is definitely a step forward for going back to the roots.
Interdisciplinary research into hedonism, culture, and art started to combine wine with particular forms of art or activity. Similar was on this VINOcom, where participants could enjoy movie sets with wine tasting of Marche products of Italy. In another workshop one could find out how French language influences the tradition of wine making, or what are the wines that matured in sea for 240 days.
The guided tastings of glamorous French wines also took place, with accent on Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, where tastings of legendary Bordeaux of 1996, 2000, 2005, 2009, and 2010 took place. According to the classification made in 1855, this is one of five grand cru classe selection of Chateau Medoc region. Another interesting workshop was tasting of Chateau Margaux Grand Vin Premier Grand Cru classe from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Such a knowledge was costly, but pays well.
Of course, besides wine, culinary art of Croatia is presented in a special tent, where visitors could taste cheese, olive oil, oil and smoked fish, prosciutto, sausages, truffles, and other traditional Croatian delicacies. One cannot omit several producers of rakija, whose products were high on wish lists.
As VINOcom entered its second decade, one must congratulate Prof. Dropuljić on hard work and even harder coordination. In many ways, Croatia is a country whose wine production should only be discovered, and a great deal is done in last eleven years through this festival, but also work throughout the year.
Photos by: www.vino.com.hr