Croatian Winemakers: Dvanajščak-Kozol in Međimurje

By , 30 Dec 2016, 22:27 PM Croatian Wine Producers

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There are many families with a very long tradition of wine-making in Međimurje. Dvanajščak-Kozol family is, as they will readily admit themselves, not among those with such a long tradition, as the owners of the winery, Rajka and Zdravko haven’t started planting their first vines in their vineyards until early 1990’s. And it was only in 1996 that they managed to get their certificate of geographical origin, and that was when they started producing wines commercially. These days their vineyards cover about 8 hectares of premium positions in Međimurje, near the village Dragoslavec, at microlocations with excellent orientation towards the sun, called Grofovo, Okrugli vrh and Mohokos (Mohokos being the hill with the highest elevation in Međimurje).

The varieties that are grown in those vineyards are moslavac, graševina, rhein riesling, sauvignon, traminac, pinot blanc and pinot noir – and they still take pride in the fact that their family was the first one that had pinot noir in their vineyards, paving the way for the red wines in Međimurje. Back in the early years in the winery graševina was the star of their cellar, winning many awards in Croatia and internationally. In the past years it is their pušipel (moslavac) what is winning the awards and that is getting more and more recognition as their most important wine, as it seems that the indigenous variety is able to grow to its full potential at their vineyards. They also make a dry and a semi-sweet traminac. Their pinot noir is bottled both as the oak-barrel-aged red wine, as well as a wonderful, light and elegant semi-dry rose wine.

However, the most interesting wine coming from this family’s cellar is their DK Grofovo cuvee, named after the Count that used to own the vineyard, an elegant white blend made from four varieties: chardonnay, pinot blanc, graševina and pušipel. And what is special about this blend is the fact that they have one vineyard with the combination of varieties and all of those grapes are picked at the same time, giving the blend the sugars and the acids from the different varieties. Then all of the grape juice is pressed and put into the tank together, and not many wine-makers make the assemblage wines that way in Croatia. The result is a full-bodied wine, with low remaining sugars, very elegant and special – and not just because of the non-traditional method used to make it.

The three members of the family are sommeliers, Rajka, Zdravko and their daughter Tea (who became the youngest sommeliers in Croatia when she took the test at the age of 16), so every visit to their cellar beneath their family house is an opportunity to learn more about the wine. They organize smaller events there, as well as professional wine tastings, and you’ll certainly want to visit them on a sunny day, since the view from their terrace over the Međimurje hills (you can see the Austrian Alps if you’re really lucky!) is something not to be missed.

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