Updated: Feb 19, 2019
A bit older generations in Zagreb would remember well the day outs in Mladina and Plešivica Wine Road. Mladina carries the name of a good place for fun, barbecue, and a glass or ten of solid wine. It was a family getaway as well as the drinkers' paradise. And it does have the right to be remembered. Mladina is the oldest organised wine cellar in the Jastrebarsko region, with a tradition going back to 1736 when the count Erdödy opened it, following the noble job of viticulture.
Since then, Mladina has been a brand name for the Plešivica terroir, despite the shortfalls in the 1990s and again nowadays. There are excellent plans to refurbish the old Erdödy wine cellar, where guests can again enjoy the pleasures of Mladina's wines. Until then, you will find the wines in large shops and on various wine festivals, especially if you like sparkling wine. We do like it, so we visited the headquarters of Mladina and spoke with its director Mr Robert Brkić. He welcomed us warmly but our eyes instantly went to the two bottles with a large name POY. This is the prime mark of Mladina's sparkling wine.
The sparkling wine is very popular and present in the Plešivica region. Out of 13 sparkling wine producers around Zagreb, eight of them are from the Plešivica Hills (Ivančić, Jagunić, Kolarić, Kunović, Kurtalj, Mladina, Šember, Tomac). But if was an oenologist from Mladina who started the trend in the 1980s. Mr Franjo Jambrović realised the potentials of local grapes and encouraged the production. The outcome is visible in today's POY line. What does it mean, we thought? Simple, POY is Plešivica-Okić-Jastrebarsko, i.e. the areas where the wine is made! Mladina cares for more than 290 thousand vines on the locations of Gaj and Mladina, with some other smaller vineyards. Here the company develops Rhine Riesling, Traminer, Sauvignon, Portugizac, Graševina, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, etc.
First, we had a chance to try the POY Premium Brut, made using the classical method, a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio. It is surprisingly refreshing, mild and unburden wine, with a fruity flavour in the background. Mr Brkić smiles and tells us why are we so delighted with this wine. The Plešivica grapes are ideal for the sparkling wines and it has a major advantage in having so many sorts growing in the same place. This is also a basis for a good sparkling wine.
The next tasting was of POY Extra Sec Selected Rosé, made using the Charmat method. This wine, made of the sorts Portugizac, Pinot Noir and Merlot, is sweeter, richer, and pleasantly refreshing. Its colour is magical and one can imagine oneself sitting on a porch in the lazy summer afternoons refreshing oneself with this wine. Mladina also makes the Poy Select, a soft and fresh wine, with a note of apple and citrus fruit.
Indeed, although Mladina is known for other wines as well, including the Portugizac, it shows the Plešivica region as an area with some of the best sparkling wines in Croatia, produced here on steep and sloppy vineyards, for centuries the property of this company. Sparkling wines are the crown of every wine production, as it asks for top knowledge and care. Mladina showed these kingly characteristics!