WINE REGION ZAGORJE

Wine is without doubt one of the noblest and healthiest alcoholic beverages. Our wine growers produce high quality wines, prepared weather as light to medium strong, dry or medium sweet, characterized by its floral or fruity aromas, which perfectly fit the cuisine of northwest Croatia.

Zagorje winemakers produce high quality wines Traminer, Sauvignon, Rhine Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sylvaner green, Muscat yellow, Muscat white and quality wines Welschriesling and Furmint. The average wines: Müller-Thurgau, Portugieser, Gelber, Chasselas blanc, Chasselas rouge, Gouoais blanc. The high-quality red wines produced in Zagorje: Pinot noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, and quality red wines Blaufränkisch, Portugais rouge and Zweigelt. Widely known predicate wines and ice wines are also produced.

HISTORY

When we are talking about the history of viticulture in the area of Croatian Zagorje, did you know that in Radoboj vines grew even 12 million years ago? This is evidenced by the fossil leaf of the vine Vitis teutonica. In Radoboj a total of 10.000 pieces of fossil remains of about 300 different plant species were found. The largest part of these remains is kept in the museum in Vienna, Budapest, Graz, Ljubljana and Zurich. In Croatia the Radoboj collection is kept in the Croatian Natural History Museum in Zagreb and is one of the richest paleontological collections of that museum. Fossil flora was mainly found in 13 to 11,5 million years old sediments from the middle of Miocene (Sarmat). It is a marl sediment build on the land from that time or in shallow coastal areas of Paratethys sea.

The history of wine growth on the Croatian territory dates back to ancient times. The culture of vine spread here in two directions. One lead, thanks to traders, conquerors and colonizers Phoenicians, and the ancient Greeks and Romans, along the Adriatic coast and islands, and the other followed the mainland with Thracians and, again, the Romans. About developed viticulture and wine production since the Roman era testify also the found objects near Krapina, Vinagora, Lobor and Petrijanec. 

OLD KRAPINA GOUAIS BLANC

Synonyms: Old Krapina Gouais blanc, Old Croatian Gouais blanc, Gouais blanc, Heunisch Weis
Is one of the oldest sorts in the world, and is a parent of many today’s most important varieties in production, while itself almost disappeared from vineyards.

In the Middle Ages this variety was grown in all wine-growing areas of Europe, but Croatia, that is Croatian Zagorje is one of the few places in the world where it survived in the vineyards, while the other wine-growing countries completely forgot about it. The variety would have remained forgotten if scientists have not found that this variety is the mother of Chardonnay, Riesling, Furmint and more than 60 other varieties. In the area of Croatian Zagorje this variety was found in the vineyards in the area of Krapina (vine in the vineyard of the birth house of Ljudevit Gaj), Frančinovo, Vrhi (near Pregrada) and Hižakovec.

Due to extremely old age of this variety there are several theories about its origin and spread, and the most likely is the one that it was spread throughout Europe by Romans during their reign in the area of Roman Pannonia (today Croatia), from where it probably originates. At the Institute of viticulture and enology, on the Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture, research is made about the relatedness of this variety with other autochthon varieties of this area, which will support this theory.   

The variety gives light and fresh wines with emphasised acidity and discrete floral-fruity aromas. For a good quality of the wine made of this variety it is necessary to choose the best vineyard positions and to limit fruitfulness. The wines of this variety are suitable for blending with wines of varieties with higher quality potential.

The future of this variety in Croatian Zagorje should not be viewed only through the quality of its wine, but also through its autochthony and long history. The production of wine blended with varieties to which it is a parent, like Chardonnay, Rein Riesling, etc., can surely be considered interesting.

Ternate leaf, moderate upper sinuses, vesicular face, moderately hairy (woolly), branches red. Veins are red up to the first branch. Grape is small to medium size, cylindrical, moderately dense. Vine is dense to more dense.

GOUAIS BLANC FROM ZAČRETJE

This variety, which is also one of the descendants of Old Krapina Gouais blanc, was found only in the area of Croatian Zagorje, in the vineyards near place Sv. Križ Začretje, after which it was named.

The variety belongs to the group of Gouais blanc, which all have high fruitfulness in common, which needs to be limited, so that the wine with high quality can be won. The first sort wine of this variety has been produced only once so far, in a plantation, which has only just begun to bring fruit, but it was determined that we expect more pronounced flavour of the wine of this variety than other Gouais blanc, so if placed in a good location, they could give interesting wines. It is also very acidic, and thus suitable for blending with wines of other variety with stronger body.

There are indications that this variety and the variety Old Krapina Gouais blanc are in a close relationship on the level ancestor-descendant. It was found earlier that the variety Furmint (syn. Moslavec, Špion, Pušipel) also has the same level of relationship (possible parent of Chardonnay), and the comparison of the results lead to the conclusion that this two varieties could be the parents of the variety Old Krapina Gouais blanc. That way we could consider this variety, the parent of the world famous Chardonnay, as an autochthon Croatian variety, which could be very interesting for the expert, but also broad international public.

Ternate leaves, rather expressed teeth, smooth face, spin-haired back, green veins on the face and on the back, bristly hairs on the veins of the face, twigs slightly reddish. Very dense, medium-sized, cylindrical-conical grapes, expressed umbilical point on the berry. Very dense vine.

MIRKOVAČA

The variety that was found in the oldest plantations in the area of Croatian Zagorje, and was confirmed as a variety that has not been confirmed anywhere else in the world. This variety has no genetic correlation with Gouais blanc, but it has very similar characteristics. Fruitfulness potential of this variety is very high, especially because of very large and compact grapes. The skin of this variety is very thin, which is a problem in rainy years when it is very sensitive to decay. The qualitative potential is being examined, and the first wine that was won shows similarities with other Gouais blanc - light wines with emphasized acidity, but without distinctive aroma.

In literal records this variety is not mentioned under the name Mirkovača. According to the results of the DNA analysis, there is a certain relationship with varieties Old Krapina Gouais blanc and Gouais blanc from Začretje, which proves their autochthony.

Very jagged leaves, 5-piece, moderately expressed sinuses. Wrinkled, spin-haired back, veins completely green on both sides, on the back veins are covered with hair. Green-red branch along the entire length. Grape is large, compact, pyramidal, berries are round, medium in size.

Vine is maroon, with pronounced stripes (in a lighter color).

SMUDNA BELINA (SMUDNA GOUAIS BLANC)

Another descendant of the Old Croatian Gouais blanc, which probably originated from the area of Croatian Zagorje. This variety has a specific look, has large leaves and large dense clusters. The variety is specific because its grapes get purple-brown colour at full maturity on the sunny side, which is how it probably got its name. Very large and dense clusters, and relatively thin skin are the cause of sensitivity to decay. The variety has high fruitfulness potential, and does not differ significantly from other Gouais blanc wines, and is also suitable for blending.

It was found in one of the oldest vineyards. Through genetic analysis it was determined that there is a certain relation with the variety Old Krapina Gouais blanc.

Large leaves, whole to ternate, blunt teeth and twisted slightly to back, branch is red, woolly-haired back, smooth face, veins on face until first branching slightly anthocyanin coloured. Large grapes, medium dense, conical, berries round, greenish.

ZAGORJE DIVJAK (ZAGORJE GOUAIS BLANC)

Synonyms: Divjak, Šipol, Ranfol, Steier Heunisch Weiss

Variety better known under the name Ranfol or Steier Heunisch Weiss, but in the area of Croatian Zagorje the name Divjak is used. It comes from the same parents as Smudna Gouais blanc, as a descendant of Old Croatian Gouais blanc and a variety that cannot be found anymore in this area, which was called Peles or Modrina (in Austria Blanc blauer).

In older literary sources this variety is called Rainulak or Ramfulak white, how it probably got its name. Variety is known for its high fruitfulness and light fresh wines with accented acid suitable for blending.

Through genetic analysis it was determined that this is the variety Ranfol, which, according to literal sources from the 19th century (Trumer, 1953), has long cultivation history in the area of Croatian Zagorje, but also in the rest of north Croatia.

The name Divljak or Divjak is only connected to the area of Croatian Zagorje, and there is some relationship to Old Krapina Gouais blanc.

Leaf is divided into 3 to 5 pieces, wrinkled, anthocyanin coloured branches along the entire length, medium sharp teeth, back medium hairy. Cylindrical grape, dense, medium sized. Berries big, round.

STAROHORVATSKA ČRNINA

Synonyms: Kavčina, Blauer kolner, Črnina pitovna, Blue Cologne

Variety better known under the name Kavčina that has been cultivated for a long time on the border between Croatian Zagorje and Slovenia, which also old literature sources from the 19th century confirm. Variety known for its high fruitfulness, which, if not controlled, results in light, transparent red wines with accented acidity. If cultivated properly, and with limited fruitfulness, on good locations this varieties can give light and refreshing drinking wines, medium coloured with ruby red colour, with low tannin content, which can be drunk young.

It is the most common variety in old plantations, which have participated in the research. According to literature sources it is mentioned as an autochthon variety of the border area between Slovenia and Croatian Zagorje since middle of the 19th century. Due to long cultivation tradition and good adaptation to the growing conditions of this area it can be considered as autochthon variety.

Deeply cut sinuses, 5-piece leaf, smooth face, dense hairy back, grape cylindrical to pyramidal, dense, with some green berries.

SOKOL

Synonyms: Silltraube, Gelbe Seidentraube, Luglienga bianca (DNA)

Variety that was named after the location with the same name near Klanjec. The location Sokol is mentioned in the old literature sources from the 17th century, and based on the long growing tradition at the Sokol location we can look at this variety as an autochthon variety of Croatian Zagorje. But, we can assume that this is an autochthon variety with a very small growing area, because it cannot be found in other visited vineyards, and the genetic analysis did not confirm the identity with other world varieties.

Genetic analysis determined that it is an old variety that was spread as a table grape wine and wine variety in Italy or Austria (where it is no more cultivated) before phylloxera under the name Silltraube, Gelbe Seidentraube, Luglienga Bianca, and it was brought most probably by Franciscans to this area in the 19th century.

This variety matures very early, and is very demanding for wine makers, because it often disperses and fruitfulness is not regular. It has low total acids with high sugar content and interesting moderately expressed variety aroma and gives the wine its noble character, which clearly distinguishes it from other varieties of the Gouais blanc group.

Round kidney-shaped leaf, similar to Muscat yellow. Whole to ternate, expressed yellow-green veins on the back. Nude back and slightly vesicular face. Elongated, cylindrical, slightly dense with small berries, yellow-green berry, elongated, slightly harder meat, nutmeg aroma. Due to first impressions of the found vines, one can talk about the variety with slightly higher quality potential, but it still needs to be tested in an experimental plantation.