For twelfth year in a row, the town of Kastav chose its best Belica wine, and also other wines of Kastav region. Out of 80 samples, presented by 42 wine makers and members of the Belica Association, 12 were Belica wines, which is final testimony to the hard work over the years to revitalise viticulture and wine making in the Kastav region. The grand celebration will be held on Sunday, April 23rd at 3 pm in the centre of Kastav.
The efforts to preserve this unique wine were presented at the press conference in the tasting room of Mr Dejan Rubeša, led by the director of the Kastav Tourist Board Dolores Kukurin. She announced the manifestation and congratulated the Belica Association on their hard work and dedication. The vice-mayor of the Town of Kastav Dejan Jurčić stressed that Belica was ten years ago almost extinct, but today, thanks to the Association, it became a new Kastav brand. This wine makes remarkable comeback and brings attention of sommeliers and experts, foremost Nenad Kukurin, the chairman of the international commission in the competition 2017. Other members included renown sommeliers and oenologists from Istria, Kastav region, Italy, and France.
Everything about Belica we learned from Radenko Srdoč, president of the Belica Association, and the secretary of the same organisation, Bojan Frlan. Old testimonies written by the local chronologist Ivo Jardas show that Belica was once present all over the Kastav region, where up to 10,000 litres of wine were produced. It is a unique blend, which cannot be find anywhere in the world. Among the basic wine sorts is divjaka (autochthonic wine sort), together with verdić, and mejski. After some 600 years of cultivation, due to the hard terrains and urbanisation, this wine seized to exist.
Only in the recent years did Belica made its glorious return, with some 5000 vines. It cannot really go beyond this number in a very specific microregion, which is situated on some 300-400 metres above sea level. Still, many wine makers care for this sort, as it can easily become a recognisable wine of Kastav. On regional level, this wine story fits great with the Bakarska vodica and Žlahtina in Vinodol, which makes a content-rich wine road stretching from Crikvenica and Novi Vinodolski riviera, through Bakar and Rijeka, all the way to Kastav and Opatija Riviera.
The competion was categorised in: (1) Belica; (2) homemade white wine; (3) white wine; (4) homemade red wine; (5) red wine; (6) special wines, mostly aromatic wines. The competitors won 5 golden medals, 44 silver medals, and 23 bronze medals, with additional six recognitions. The competition’s champion and golden medal award for Belica is Ivica Rubeša, followed closely with Alen Frlan, who won also a gold medal for Belica. Ivica’s borther Dejan Rubeša won third place and silver medal for his Belica which we have tried in his tasting room.
His Belica is refreshing wine with a distinctive acidity and aroma of green apples. This might be a classic idea of Belica, an easy drinking wine for pleasurable moments in warmer months. Lots of efforts should be put in making this wine, though. The vines need up to five years to deliver first good grapes. The Belica of Ivica Rubeša is substantially different than his brother’s, and the reason is that Ivica harvested his grapes just a week later, leaving more sugars inside. His Belica is complex, with less acidity, and rich in flavour. The Rubeša tasting room will become a major point for Belica degustation, and the wine is already being served in the Kastav Restaurants, foremost in Fortica and Hotel Kukuriku.
Among other golden medals are Arsen Jardas for his Chardonnay, Ivica Rubeša for Malvasia Retro, and Ivan Rubeša for Merlot.
For more info about Belica, visit the Association’s website: http://www.udrugabelica.hr