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The Matić winemakers from Trebižat

The Matić winery is located in Trebižat, not far from Čapljina in Herzegovina, which dedicated itself to the cultivation of the varieties of its region: žilavka, blatina and trnjak. According to Ozrenko Matić, at the presentation of the winery in the Český dom in Zagreb, they know about the value of some world varieties planted by their neighbors and colleagues, but the Matić winery wants to dedicate all its energy and effort to the vines and grapes that were grown generations back by their ancestors since 1870.

Ozrenko Matić inherited his grandfather's and father's knowledge of viticulture and cellaring, and his son Antonio graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb and now works as an oenologist in his own winery. Matić family has planted 5.5 hectares in two locations. On the Bodenik hills above the valley of the Trebižat river (about 150 meters above sea level) there are about 2 hectares and on the Pijani hills, from which the famous Velež can be seen not far away, east of Čapljina there are 3.5 hectares at about 200 m above sea level. Annual production is around 30-35,000 liters. In the period from 2002 to 2007, Matić started to plant new vines, increase the previously smaller family plantations and engage professionally in winemaking. This includes the branding of wine with tempo markings in music. Antonio Matić said that not only his whole family is musical and plays, but also the town of Trebižat has a famous brass band.

Seven wines were tasted at the presentation: Žilavka 2021 Con brio, Žilavka barrique 2021 Al fine, Žilavka sur lie 2020 Con spiritoso, Blatina 2018 Da capo, Thorn 2018 Con animo, Blatinu barrique 2017 Gran cassa, Thorn dessert 2020 Con amore. Wines were analyzed by sommelier Tomislav Jakopović.

For Žilavka sur lie 2020, Antonio Matić said that the fermentation started in the barrique barrel and finished in it. After 10 months it was placed in stainless steel. The oenologist did not believe that he would end up with a great result by tasting it during this period. However, a solid and well-rounded wine with 14.5% alcohol and 27 grams of dry extract was obtained, and in addition to the smell of vanilla, there is also a slight influence of oak, but all components are balanced. Jakopović says: "This is a wine that evokes an unmistakable memory for me, and when I tasted it, I immediately remembered it." Ozrenko Matić said: "I want to grow and produce žilavka in the traditional way. It is a serious wine, and when we offered it at the Gast in Split in 2017 they couldn't believe that the Žilavka from 2008 was nine years old" Antonio Matić added: "The Žilavka from 2008, 2010 and 2012 took on quaternary aromas and got a golden color."

Blatina 2018 Da capo has 13% alcohol but it doesn't stand out and doesn't get in the way. The wine has as much body as it should, malolactic fermentation was done spontaneously, it was macerated for ten days. It was stored in 500 liter barrels, the aromas are clean and rich. Blatina must have its share of pollinators, so in this wine there are 85% blatina and 15% thorn and alicante boucheta (local term kambuša).

Trnjak 2018 Con animo, 14% alcohol, red dry wine is the most potent Herzegovinian red variety. If new plantings had not started ten years ago, trnjak would have practically disappeared. Now all the winemakers in Herzegovina plant it, so the Matić decided to give half of the new four hectares of planned planting to trnjak. Antonio Matić reminded that the variety served for years as a pollinator of blatina and now it is coming to the fore. Trnjak is a "wild" variety that needs to be tamed and then it gives excellent results. It is getting more and more space in the Dalmatian Zagora, especially around Vrgorac, and it has also started to be planted in the hinterland of Šibenik and Zadar. As both Blatina and Trnjak are high-yielding varieties, a green harvest is mandatory for a good result. That's what Matić did too. After maceration, it is stored in stainless steel and then in Slavonian oak, which is normally used by this winery. Antonio Matić said that according to his experience, thorn loses a lot of acid when it is aged, and the tartrates are heavily precipitated. He concludes that stainless steel is the right place for this exceptionally fruity wine.

Blatina barrique 2017 has an alcohol content of 13.5%. The best grapes from the Bodenik location are left for this wine. Here, too, accompanying varieties are mixed in the permitted ratio. Fermentation was in stainless steel and then it aged for a year in a tank. Malolactic fermentation was carried out spontaneously, and after stainless steel, the wine was poured into large barrique barrels where it remained for a year and a half. Afterwards, it was bottled and ready for the market. The tannins are good, not strong and there are no greens, and the aromas are clean and characteristic of the variety.

Matići also has dessert trnjak from 2020. Fermentation took place on wild yeast, as with all wines from this winery, and when it reached 14% alcohol, the remaining is 45 grams of unfermented sugar. Matići was the first in Herzegovina to make dessert wine from trnjak, and not only for that, they deserve all the praise. Cultivation and processing in the vineyards is ecological, excluding mineral fertilizers and herbicides. They use wild yeasts and the style of their wines follows a long-standing tradition. As enologist Franjo Francem, the greatest authority at this presentation, said: "Sometimes tradition can have bad sides, but Matić's wines are pure masterpieces, without any complaints."

Wines are mostly marketed in Bosnia and Herzegovina and are also exported to Croatia (Dalmatian coast) and Montenegro.

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