Autumn sun caresses the vineyards of Mladen Siber. The sun shines on the vines, a pleasant breeze dispels the heat, and the smiles speak volumes about a good wine season. We are on gentle slopes above Erdut, and when you stand on the slightly elevated ground, you can see all ten hectares of the vineyard. Surrounded on three sides by the Danube, this region is excellent for winemaking. Not only the breezes from the river, but also an incredibly large number of sunny hours create the most favourable conditions for this work. Those who fail here will go nowhere. And the retired dentist and former trainer of sports pigeons confirms this.
We are located at some 250 to 300 metres above sea level, and when you add to that that Erdut has as many hours of sunshine as Dubrovnik, then it is not difficult to guess that this is a truly special terroir. A gentle east wind is constantly felt, there is not much ice or fog, which all contribute to healthier fruit. "We had earlier and earlier harvests, and the red sorts were harvested almost a month earlier than usual," Mladen tells us, mentioning the climate changes that can now be seen in every vineyard in Croatia. Malt values and acid ratios were ideal this year, so we are going for a selective harvest.
„My father had vineyards in Baranja until 1955, and my grandfather's brother was the chief cellarman at the royal court in Romania," says Mladen about his wine family past. Some genes worked for the family of dentists to start doing this noble work, so in 2003 they started with the first plantations. The novelty is a new Muscat yellow vineyard, which has an excellent passability on the market, so more quantities are needed. He produces about one hundred tons of grapes in his cellar, and now the amount of wine exceeds 25 thousand litres.
Mladen Siber is proud to tell us that this region is slowly but surely rising in terms of enogastronomy. Even though they are located at the "end of everything", excellent quality, more and more small wineries, accommodation facilities, as well as a special place for tasting in Erdut open the opportunity for recognition of these wines. Despite this, Siber's wines can be enjoyed in various Adriatic destinations, as well as in Zagreb.
They regularly go to competitions, including Decanter. "Awards are not so important to me, how important it is to see where I stand in relation to other winemakers. That's the only way I can realistically know the quality of my wine", reveals Mladen as he shows us the room where his wine trumps are boiled and perfected: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Yellow, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay (which is made using the sur lie method), and Graševina, which is peak of wine offer from Erdut, is found only in traces.
The labels are attractive and each one has its own story, and the names are also imaginative. Each bears the traditional family name, Süber. The overtone was lost in the time of Yugoslavia, but the correct writing remained in the family. Among the more interesting wines is Subernet - flavoured Cabernet Sauvignon from 2015, which is fortified with the alcohol of organic cherry liqueur and additionally seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, anise and black peppercorns, and the hosts recommend it with a fine cigar or meditation.
One can also meditate with Crose, a fluffy floral wine for the warm season, beautiful pink colour, which we enjoyed during the rest of the summer. In the cellar of Siber, you can also find sparkling wine, i.e. sparkling Rose obtained from the Cabernet Sauvignon variety. All this rounds off an extraordinary wine imagination and playfulness of Mladen Siber, which is recognized by the awards.
We go down the narrow stone stairs into the underground, where the calm and cool beauty of Siber's cellar is hidden. Along with a number of bottles left behind for the archive and some future happy moments, here are the barrels in which the Cabernet Sauvignon matures. Mladen calls it a royal variety of red wine that has perfectly adapted to the sunny Erdut vineyard with its distinctive dry taste and strong barrique. We tasted this wine with an enticing ruby colour and immediately felt the pronounced aromas and flavours that are more than suitable for red meat, game, cheeses, all of which are part of the rich Slavonian culinary heritage.
Next to the vineyard, there is also a small tasting room, which will soon be upgraded and become a true oasis for wine lovers. A classic tasting room is planned in Erdut itself, and here, on the edge of this Danube town, will be a more special destination for wine pleasures. So far, two glasses are being tasted here, including Sauvignon Blanc, a wine with citrus notes and a full fragrance, and a lively label. There are more and more admirers of Siber's Muscat Yellow, a semi-sweet wine that received a silver medal at the prestigious Decanter in 2017. The straw yellow colour of this wine hides floral aromas with a long finish, and it goes well with mature cheeses or dry Slavonian cakes.
Siber's wines are enjoyed like no other, and we can only admire his enthusiasm, love for his region and imagination.
Vinarija SIBER - OPG Siber
Osijek, Zagrebačka 8 – Erdut, cesta Svetog Martina
Telefon: +385 31 208010, Mobitel: +385 98 573417