Among 14 Plešivica Portugiesers in official competition organised by the Wine Stars Club were 10 still young wines from the 2016 harvest, one form 2015 and three sparkling wines. The best rating, 86 out of a 100, went to Franjo Gregorić for a ripe Portugieser from 2015. The next two were Portugieser sparklings. The one by Zdenko Vučinić gained 85 points and the other by Franjo Kolarić a point less.
After them, with 82 points was the Griffon sparkling by Krešimir Ivančić and still young Portugiesers by family wineries Vučinić, Drago Damir Režek and Plešivica Agricultural Cooperative.
Those who feel 82 out of a 100 points is low, should know the Institute for Wine Growing places 82 points in superior wines. Besides the Wine Stars founders, specialised journalists and international judges Željko Suhadolnik, Vitomir Andrić and Ivo Kozarčanin, wines were rated by Franjo Francem, enologist and Deputy President of the Croatian Sommeliers Club, Ivan Dropuljić, founder and director of the International Festival of Wine and Cuisine Vino.com, Damir Folnegović, author of the cook book “Blaž’s Gastro Travels in Croatia” and the host, winemaker Drago Kurtalj. In the finals they chose the best Portugieser among three young wines with highest grades. The title went to the Portugieser by Plešivica Agricultural Cooperative.
After the official rating, we tasted a 20-year-old Portugieser by Badel 1862 from the archives of Franjo Francem who has been the chief enologist in the company for years. The wine was, naturally, past its prime as it wasn’t prepared to age so long, but still drinkable. In fact, the colour was lively, scent showed age, or wisdom and in taste it was just old. It should be said the wine was from a regular harvest, without special care in the vineyard or cellar, simply forgotten in a private archive. The rating ended, as is expected, with Plešivica specialties: pork knuckle, bloody sausages, sausages, stewed potatoes, sauerkraut and homemade bread.
The above makes the best company for young Portugiesers. They also go well with cabbage rolls, fried geese and ducks, fattier meat dishes such as goulash and fried chestnuts.
Portugieser grapes ripen early so young wines on family farms are being poured already at the time of the harvest of later sorts. Hence it is equally loved by those who drink wine, as they can enjoy its youth, as by those who make wine as it is easily sold.
Portugieser is wine of dark red colour, lovely sort aroma and pleasant mild taste, low acids and characteristic light bitterness.
In the Hungarian part of Baranya, around Volanja town, Portugieser is made into serious wines that age well. We had there Portugiesers 20 years old, while those of 10 years were excellent. In the nearby Pečuh the Hungarians organise a world championship of this sort “Portugieser de Monde.”
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