"I'm going mad counting these names", said Dino Dvornik in the middle of his song "We're few, but plenty" in which he counts famous Croats with Boris Novković. We went mad too tasting wines in Ivan Enjingi's cellar. Well, not really.
Some from barrels, some from bottles, we tasted three Graševinas from 2015 (the best was the middle one with 12.4% alcohol), a 2015 Grey Pinot (young, young, young...), 2015 Sauvignon (in full strength in five years) and a 2013 Graševina (still with residue this wine of wonderful smell and lovely full bodied taste, strong as biting an apple), a 2015 late harvest Graševina, a 2011 late harvest Rhine Riesling, Venjas from 2009, 2008, 2007, 2004, a 2013 Sauvignon, a 2008 Rhine Riesling, a 2008 Traminer, a 2006 Sauvignon...
I'm going mad counting these wines, to paraphrase the genius musician, followed by three Black Pinots of 2015 (yield is half a kilo per vine, each barrel is different, all are great), a 2015 Frankovka, a 2011 Black Pinot (still in barrel), 2009 Zweigelt (excellent, exciting wine), a red Venje of 2008 (grainy, rich, as biting down on broken Parmesan)... We then returned to white wines which we skipped, such as a 2006 Traminer with 19.2% alcohol.
- "No one in the world made a Traminer with so much alcohol using natural yeasts" said Enjingi in his slow manner. The alcohol itself, doesn't mean the wine is especially good, but this Traminer is a harmonious wine, as incredible as that sounds. Anyway, it's part of the 2006 Venja for which Enjingi says is the best wine he ever made, better than the 1998 harvest which won the best white wine up to 10 pounds at the first Decanter review in 2004. The white Venje is a mix of late harvest Graševina's, Rieslings, Grey Pinot, Sauvignon, Traminer form the same position operational only in very good years. The 1998 and 2006 harvests were not for sale. Enjingi guards them for himself and friends. The same fate is meant for the 2010 Venje, one he says is even better than the famous 1998.
- "Is it better than the 2006?" - I asked.
- "I didn't say that." - he replied.
He did say, however, that the red Venje will soon reach the fame of the white. He already lay down 1.5 acres of Frankovka so the total mix of Zweigelt, Black Pinot, Frankovka and Cabernet Sauvignon has more acids.
- "Previously it didn't ferment completely. There were sugars left over so it started up again in the bottle. Now it's all fine" - Enjingi is content with the red Venje so much he plans to lay down another 10 acres. He's breaking volcanic rock at 400 meters above sea level, depositing earth and flattening terrain. The location is above the winery, it's name is Crossroads and Enjingi affectionately refers to it as Venje 3 and will plant Cabernet Sauvignon there. He found a German clone made for the colder climate.
- "It will be the best position for red wines in Croatia, and after planting it I will ask for the franchise of the forest above" - he speaks tirelessly although he's close to 80 than 70 years. A testament to his energy is the answer to the question whether he received any support for planting?
- "Forget support. I don't give a damn. In the time it takes to collect all paperwork, I'm already half done!"
Cheers, master, may you do even more.