Hardworking women of Baranja, oenologist Suzana Zovko and marketing chief Ljiljana Vajda-Mlinaček, came to Zagreb to present to a group of journalists some new, and some interesting older Belje wines. The presentation was devoted to Graševina wines from 2016 and took place in the Wine Academy.
It should be interesting to remind that the Agrokor Wines brand was discontinued several years ago, when the company leadership gave up on the strategy to mass export of wine to western markets, as it could not finance the project. Belje is, unavoidably, one of the victims of Agrokor’s downfall. Right after the crisis surfaced, the Belje winery could not procure bottles regularly as the producer did not believe they would be paid, a problem later resolved. Furthermore, as Konzum is selling far less goods than a year ago, thus the sales of Belje wines dropped as Konzum is their largest distributor.
And yet, after this last presentation, it seems Belje Wines have reasons for optimism, at least in terms of quality and product marketing. Their quality Graševina 2016 won a silver medal at Decanter World Awards, a great result for a wine which sells for 25 to 30 kunas. It is a light, fruity, fresh aromatic Graševina, ideal to quench thirst in July and August heat. The superior Graševina 2016 is an incomparably more serious wine.
Its bouquet is focused, complex, and yet easily recognisable: it is composed of flower and fruit elements (apple, melon, hints of apricot), with a variety recognisable nuance of chamomile. The wine is excellently structured, of medium body, elegant, balanced, with optimal freshness, but also lovely rounded, made from grapes harvested at the end of September and beginning of October. This Graševina is mixed from two harvests, an earlier and later one, about 30 days apart.
The superior Graševina 2016 is one of the best Belje white wines we have tasted since we have been following the winery: is now seems it has the champion potential. We later tasted another Graševina Goldberg, with too much wood, then a Rose whose production and sales double each year (which speaks of the new market demand), then a Cabernet, only to end this pleasant tasting with a truly excellent, abundant, velvety and noble Frankovka 2012. No one can know today what will happen in the following months with Belje. We have to admit, though, that we are impressed by the professionalism of a hardworking lady from Baranja in such an uncertain situation.
For the original and more from Plava Kamenica, click here.