Updated: Mar 2, 2019
Moslavina lives with wine and vineyards. A view of the gentle hills of Moslavina Hill reveals numerous guesthouses and wine houses, with the Moslavina wine road as one of the biggest Moslavina tourist attractions. More and more people come to taste the wines of local winemakers who work together since 1913 when the Croatian wine cooperative in Voloder was founded. Today, the association of wine growers and Moslavina "Lujo Miklaužić" is among the most active winemaker association in the region. They, among other things, produce the three main autochthonous varieties of wine: Škrlet, Dišeća Ranina and Moslavac. Once, these wines were considered too acidic (kiseliš), which bring a days-long headache, but today there is no trace of that legacy of the former production. From year to year Moslavina winegrowers are rewarded and acknowledged for their hard work and wonderful wine that is yet to be fully recognizable in Croatia and beyond.
When we talk about Kutina and wine, there is an unavoidable visiting place Wine Court, a place designed for all wine lovers, whether it is for small-sized tasters or wine destroyers who count their “tastings” in litres. The Wine Court is open in 2002 and the Association Lujo Miklaužić uses it as an exhibition and archive space where many wine shows are held. From the walls the guest is being watched by the Greek god Bacchus, work of Kutina academic painter Predrag Lešić, as well as the views of the city of Kutina, slightly distorted and carved to agree with the image of the blurred eyes of the eager droplet lovers. Wine motifs are also present on massive carved doors where Hrvoje Košutić, a young champion title winner at the MoslaVINA event, is waiting for us.
MoslaVINA is the second largest wine fair in Moslavina. The first is, of course, the Voloders' Wine Ceremony in Voloder, the cradle of Moslavina winemakin, which is also a harvest festival. Voloder is in the municipality of Popovača, so we decided to focus on the festival MoslaVINA, which particularly celebrates Škrlet according to the old proverb: "Kolko kaplic, tolko let – živeli uz naš škrlet" (As many drops, as many years – long live with our Škrlet). Hrvoje Košutić is an employee of an IT company, but he loves two more things next to his family: Škrlet and death metal. It is not that he doesn’t like other wine varieties, as we have attested ourselves. In the Wine Court, it was fun with him. After a long, long wine experiment with Nikica Katić, we started everything all again with few broken glasses and developing an idea of promoting the Moslavina wine treasury. It all started with the champion's Škrlet 2017. Škrlet is a clear white wine with a light yellowish colour with green nuances, made from an autochthonous variety of grapes from the southern slopes of Moslavina Hill. It is followed by a floral aroma and a pleasant acid, with a pronounced and delicate varietal aroma. Košutić's winning Škrlet, they tell us, is quite similar to everyone else, and only the details prevail such as elegance, strong sense of minerality and mid palate persistence. The wine has 13 percent alcohol, it is fruity in flavour, and its time in a wooden barrel gives softness in the palate. We were more than happy to have a bottle of Škrlet to bring home and to explore the scents and tastes of this great wine.
Košutić family have their vineyards in the northern part of Kutina, on 210 metres of hight, where Graševina and Rhine Riesling find best conditions. Hrvoje’s father Damir takes care of numerous vineyards whereas Hrvoje is considered to be a head enologist. In fact, Hrvoje is thrilled with his Rhineland Riesling from 2013. Some time ago, his grandfather Drago, once a welder in the service of Marshal Tito, planted Moslavac, another autochthonous species of Moslavina. Formerly known as acidic wine, Moslavac has ascended to bottled wine and became excellent for making sparkling wines, but is still commonly used everywhere in the widespread gemišt. This variety was created on the basis of the furmint used in Hungary for the production of Tokay wine. The Moslavina winemakers greet their colleagues in Međimurje and tell them that their Pušipel is actually Moslavac, but that they can still drink it unharmed. They could also send the same message to neighbouring Slovenia where the same sort is used under the name of Šipon. Wine maker Jančar produces the predicate Moslavac. We've been trying the 2015 harvest, which is proud of its 17 percent alcohol and a choice of dried berries that delivers sweet and beautiful wine.
The third pride of Moslavina is Dišeća Ranina, which has been grown in ancient times in Pokuplje and Moslavina, and whose indigenousness is tirelessly pursued. It is commonly referred to as "dišeća" (perfumed) because of its nice smell, and it is “ranina” (early) because of its early ripening. The truth is quite different, we are convinced by the winemakers in the Wine Court. It neither ripe early, nor the smell is objectively so divine; mostly it smells on burnt caramel. We tried the Mesarić Dišeća Ranina and found that it is a mild fruity and aromatic wine, but with the richness of sugar, and thus some winemakers consider it good to for the production of dessert wines. A slightly Moscato-like aroma and a harmonious flavour are quite promising traits of Dišeća Ranina.
Košutić also offered us a wonderful aromatic Pinot Blanc that had been held for eight months in the oak barrel, but with still persistent traces of freshness. The wine is rich with aromas of pear and apple, and later melon. We also tried Graševina, a variety that makes at least 30 percent of Croatian vineyards, which is kept in the basement of the Košutić family eight to nine months in oak barrels dating from 1968. The Rhine Riesling is full of floral aromas and aromatic fruits, ready for reaching old age (if it lasts until then in quantities), but we also tried the Riesling from 2014, which wins everybody as much as it won the awards on the Vinodar Wine Festival in Daruvar with its golden yellow colour. An unexpected acid follows this wine whose taste gives strong reminders of petroleum, honey and wax. This is perhaps the most interesting wine we tried with Košutić, outside of traditional Moslavina sorts.
We were also in the company of off-dry Yellow Moscato, the best kind of Moscato for us, because it has all the sweetness in the scent, but in taste it's not so sweet. The incredibly pale colours of this wine enthral us as we learn that the wine should always be sweeter than the meals that we are eating – an advice we will surely try out at home and in restaurants! We also tried sparkling wine Noel. This brute was named after Hrvoje’s son, who left the footprints of his feet in the sand, so the wine got such a label. In this wine made in 2015, 60 percent of the vines are Plemenka, another traditional Croatian variety, and 40 percent is Riesling, and it is great for summer heats.
With an innocent look at the clock, we noticed that it was almost 11pm, so we decided to let Moslavina winemakers to go home to their families. It was a great experience and a wonderful experience of the Wine Court, and we thank the Košutić and Katić winemakers for their knowledgeable lead through the Moslavina wine tradition.
Photos by: Andrea Seifert, Mint Media