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Erdutski vinogradi - wine king of Danube

At the end of the wine klanter, a 200-meter-long walkway under the vines, there is a viewpoint on the Danube and Vojvodina on the other side. The sun continues to warm mercilessly while we eat the remaining grapes in the neighbourhood of the old Erdut castle and admire everyone who has a job in the Erdut vineyards. The grape harvest is over and all the work is now moving to the cellars from where the bottles of one of the most famous Slavonian and Croatian wineries come. In the company of the host, we learn many details about this wine pride of the Croatian Danube region.

We started our visit with a tour of the Old Cellar, which dates back to 1730 and is the oldest wine cellar of the Erdut vineyard, and at the entrance of which there is an inscription: "Pure conscience, pure wine, we don't want to drink anything else." Because in happiness and in misery, these two are worth a lot". In the basement, we immediately noticed the barrels embedded in the walls, which are covered with glass bricks on the inside, and they are kept in Erdut because they are decorated with various illustrations by the academic artist Zoran Šimunović. The works of art are called "Duck swims over...", with an optimistic and cheerful view of the world. The barrels are no longer used to store wine, but for the people of Erdut they have sentimental value.

The Erdut manor, and therefore the winery, has been linked to the Adamovich family and their successors, the Cseh family, for almost a century and a half. Fanny pl. Adamovich Čepinska was the first member of the family to permanently settle in Erdut, and in the middle of the 19th century, she built a small castle there, which took on its final appearance in the second half of the century. The castle then acquires a representative purpose, because it becomes the place of life of a distinguished businessman, great prefect, minister, chamberlain and imperial-royal adviser, her husband Ervin pl. Cseh. Ervin was a progressive businessman educated at the Agricultural Academy in Magyarovar. From 1886 to 1898, he was the grand prefect of the Srijem County. He served as Minister for Croatia and Slavonia in the Hungarian government from 1899 to 1905. He was also a chamberlain and secret adviser to Emperor and King Franjo Josip.

Several legends and incidents in Erdut are associated with Ervin. Ervin was an avid card player and winemaker. In the Old Cellar from 1730, Ervin built five walled barrels lined inside with glass bricks. All barrels were functional except one. In that barrel, Ervin arranged an area for playing cards. Servants would help him and his company get comfortable inside. His wife Fanny did not know where he was for several days, while they would play cards in the barrel. After the death of his first wife, Ervin built an octagonal tower on the castle, which only fits four card players. The new, much younger wife, the Hungarian Countess Juliška, had nothing against her husband's long playing cards.

While we listen to all these stories in front of the manor itself, the hosts introduce us to the fact that their own vineyard stretches over 450 hectares, of which almost 300 are under Graševina plantations. White grape varieties make up 80 percent of all production, and within those white varieties, 80 percent is Graševina. The rest are Rhenish Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Traminac. Of the black varieties, the most represented are Cabernet Sauvignon, Zweigelt, Merlot, Frankovka and Cabernet Franc.

We walk through the klanter and along the way we admire the beautifully decorated part of the complex. The Wine & Bike Tour ends here every year. All the wineries of the Erdut municipality participate in this event, and cyclists start from Aljmaš and buy bottles in the vineyards. In the Erdut vineyards, the goal is also lunch for the participants, and the distribution of prizes. All winemakers are presented with stands and wine and food are tasted. They sit on straw bales and listen to a concert. In the first year, the star of Wine and Bike was Josipa Lisac, while this year it was Amira Medunjanin.

The walk through the Klanter ended with a visit to the new winery. In the underground part of the winery, there are only wooden barrels of Slavonian oak. These are usually 10,000-liter barrels, which in cellar jargon is called "one wagon". Red wine is stored in them. The biggest attraction is the Big Barrel, the largest wooden wine barrel in use in the world, with a capacity of 75,000 liters. Graševina ages in it and it is always full. Bačva was made more than 35 years ago by DIK Đurđenovac. The barrel is made of Slavonian oak. To make the barrel, 109 oak trees were cut down.

The barrel was assembled in the basement itself and placed in the pool. They thought wisely, because if the hoops give way, the wine will be saved. The barrel is cleaned exclusively with water. It is completely emptied and refilled once a year. Empty, without wine, it weighs almost 20 tons. If you were to drink one bottle of wine a day to empty the barrel, you would have to live 294 years!

The front relief part is made like a kind of wine altar. It is the work of Mate Tijardović, our famous sculptor and head of the sculptor colony in Ernestinovac. Here are the names of all who took part in the making of the cask; the Croatian triplet as the oldest feature of Christianity; stylized coats of arms of the Adamovics-Cseh family; patron saints of vineyards, St. Vincent and St. Martin; traditional way of cultivating vineyards; relaxation and fun with wine, tambourines and a dog as man's best friend. In the center of the relief is a stylized image of the Last Supper.

In front of this barrel, we followed the tasting of plums from the Erdut vineyards. We started with Cabernet Sauvignon rosé. Since 2013, the Erdut vineyards have started producing rosé. This is a fresh and elegant wine with attractive fruity aromas in which strawberry and raspberry are recognizable above all. The fragrance itself is floral and fruity, and the delicate pink color attracts rosé lovers. It is recommended with Mediterranean and exotic dishes as well as cheese desserts.

Then we taste quality Graševina, perhaps the most famous label of the Erdut vineyards and a variety that uniquely characterizes Slavonia. The light yellow wine with a greenish sheen has a bouquet of ripe fruit, and has a rounded and harmonious taste that goes well with traditional Slavonian dishes, as well as those made with white meat and pasta. This year, quality Graševina won gold at Mundus vini, or silver at Decanter.

A big surprise for us is Pinot Grigio 2021. The grapes for this wine were picked two weeks after the optimal harvest time. It is extremely well balanced, semi-dry, with 14 percent alcohol. It is very well received, especially among younger consumers. You can feel the end of summer in it, the pink calm on the Danube, and that is reflected in the label. An excellent wine that will surely have its audience. And the reason lies more in the fact that this wine won silver at Mundus wine, i.e. bronze at Decanter in 2022.

We are looking forward to the future ideas of Erdut vineyards. This is a winery you can't get lost in. As in the whole municipality of Erdut - you need to be targeted, which is an indication of quality guests. In that not-so-distant future, the Erdut vineyards will be the center of excursionists, with a rich history and excellent wine products!


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