The Godfather of Istrian Wine: Ivica Matošević

What if I told you that there was a Croatian winemaker out there capable of making badass wines easily comparable to the giants of France, Italy and Spain? Would you believe me and why not? Now, before you jump to conclusions, hear me out people. I’m not trying to degrade anybody here, but the reality is that you, the casual wine drinker, would grab the first bottle of Chianti or Cote du Rhone if you found yourself in a London supermarket, hesitant of what wine to pair with Cajun steak and passionate sex. Tough luck.

Reputation is a slippery slope. It can blast you into the stars, but it can also cut you off both feet. You can make better wines than half the French, it just won’t matter for the majority of consumers who simply want to enjoy some goddamn peace and quiet alongside a pool of alcohol. But there will always be the other side of the coin – folks that are thirsty for knowledge and willing to try something new on a daily basis. These people are the national treasure of the wine world and need to be protected from merciless capitalistic influence & cloying monotony at all times. Yes, it’s always going to be safer to play the card of buying that 5-million-production Bordeaux Rouge, but instead of purchasing the new Macklemore album, why not go with the lesser known, but highly legendary Currents from Tame Impala? Continue reading “The Godfather of Istrian Wine: Ivica Matošević”

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Top 10 Wines @ The Judgement of Mostar 2017

What an inspiration one gets after being invited to The Judgement of Mostar 2017, led by sommelier Siniša Lasan and director of sales at Nuić, Ivan Planinić. The organizers, of course, applied a playful tone for the name of the event (in reference to the famous Judgement of Paris ’76), but the wines were surely no laughing matter. We tried over 70 samples from all over the world, but the main focus was on BH wines and, if I may say, without any bullshit sugar-coating, we have witnessed colossal progress of Balkan wines in the last 10 years. Bosnia & Herzegovina, even though small and without big viticultural diversity (microclimates, carefully chosen positions, experimentation with vine training…), is undeniably filled with hidden gems. You will buy top-quality wines at 20-30 EUROS, bring them to your friends’ blind tasting and shout out THIS HAS TO BE SECOND GROWTH BORDEAUX/RIOJA GRAN RESERVA/TOSCANA IGT, only to get slapped in the face (metaphorically, or literally by one of your mates for jumping to conclusions so quickly) by an amazing aged Blatina or an opulent Trnjak or even a blend of those two. Continue reading “Top 10 Wines @ The Judgement of Mostar 2017”

Top 10 Wines @ Liberty Wines Annual Portfolio Tasting 2017

Getting a chance to attend the Annual Portfolio Tasting of Liberty Wines in London was a professional beauty in my agenda. The company was founded in 1997 by David Gleave MW as a start-up with just four people working as staff. Today, it employs 130 individuals and has an annual turnover of £45 million. With awards annually pouring in from IWC, Decanter and SWA (On-Trade Supplier of the Year, Merchant of the Year, Wine Educator of the Year…), I honestly don’t see the need to bore you further with data and statistics of what Liberty Wines is in the international market today.

The APT 2017 was held on the 17th of January in the fascinating Kia Oval cricket ground in South London. This is the chief event of the company and gives wine lovers a chance to taste over 600 wines, spirits, beers, ciders and olive oils from over 150 representatives. To be frank, I only tasted around 250 samples. I started off slow and focused on my writing, but after a few hours I figured out how time is soaring by without me trying anything French or Italian. Luckily, eight hours presented a perfect time period to keep me sane and awake (though a lil’ dehydrated), so I cherry-picked the most sophisticated examples in the last 60 minutes. Being a WSET Diploma student, I really can’t complain about the producers selected for this event, because everything I wanted to cover and rehearse for the upcoming Unit 3 exam was there – Barolo, Tuscany, Australia, Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, South Africa, Rioja… Continue reading “Top 10 Wines @ Liberty Wines Annual Portfolio Tasting 2017”

Il Più Grande: The Art of Marchesi Antinori

The fact that every serious winelover knows at least one wine from this immense selection displays how big the Antinori brand actually is. Opened in 1385 (yes, you read it right), this winery developed its roots in beloved Florence (Tuscany, Italy) and is currently active in three other countries – Romania, Hungary and the US. However, it is most recognizable for its historic role of shaping one of the most famous Italian wine styles, the so-called Super Tuscans.

In 1971, Marchesi Antinori decided to stand up against Italian wine laws that allowed mixing white grape varieties with red, but forbade blending in international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (*facepalm*). He got stripped of his DOCG status, with the Italian government laughing in his face and assigning him the vino da tavola label (table wine, the lowest rank you can get in Italy). Our young hero did not wither and soon received a reward for this brave act – a recognition in the US press as a rebel with a cause. Today, his Tignanello for example, has a mere IGT status (regional wine), even though it meets all requirements for DOCG. This is a perfect symbol of dissent against the rigid Italian wine tradition that began 45 years ago and managed to launch Antinori in the crème de la crème of iconic brands today. Continue reading “Il Più Grande: The Art of Marchesi Antinori”