As one of the largest wine-growing regions in Croatia, Slavonia has a long viticulture tradition in every corner—from Bilogora to Papuk—dating back to Roman times.
The appellation. Cured meats, over the top hospitality, and extremely large portions are thnorm in Slavonia. Driving through this part of Eastern Croatia you also pass orchards of apples, plums, and apricots – fertile soil and a continental climate. Daruvar translates to “Crane town,” hence the label, and is located at the foothills of Papuk Mountain. Winemaking started more than 2200 years and focuses on white varieties with a special emphasis on the locally favored Graševina grape.
This ancient grape produces delicate fresh wines with light aromas of stone fruits and tree blossom with a texture both creamy and electric. Sadly, since it was (and is) the most widely planted grape in Croatia, the socialist machine flooded the market with over-cropped, subpar, industrial, and generally characterless wines. Furthermore, despite the name, there is no relationship to the Rhine Riesling of Germany, which set unrealistic expectations for the grape. Post Communism and after the Daruvar cellar was restored in 1995, there is an opportunity to reestablish Graševina to its former glory. Enologist and chief winemaker Suzana Jurišić has been at the helm for over 16 years and firmly believes that this grape belongs in this place.
In the vineyards. Graševina is late budding and late ripening, but retains healthy levels of acidity when properly cropped back. A cold hardy grape, the gentle loess and loam rich slopes of Papuk and Psunj, 150-230 meters above sea level, are also ideal conditions for a long healthy growing season. The grape is also very productive, hence a favorite of the high yield aimed Communist era, but after extensive shoot selection and green harvesting the aromatics pop and in certain conditions, botrytised wines can also be made.
In the cellar. The walls of the cellar, built in 1777, are up to 2 meters thick and several meters below the ground level, guaranteeing a cellar temperature of 10-14°C both in summer and winter. Stainless steel tanks and large foudres line the walls. Winemaking for the fresh 2011 bottling is simple and clean. Grapes are hand harvested, pressed, and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for 2-3 weeks before being racked to settle in a reductive environment.