Sometimes you earn the best rewards when arriving to your destination takes time and effort. Isn’t it true in life anyway? When you are in another country you have never been to, you have to rely in your navigator. Timesaving invention, as no matter how far-reaching your destination is, you never get lost. Or almost never. We were in the countryside of Croatia, a narrow barely-paved road going away form a small village named Kosinožići and we passed by Roxanich Vina because we did not see the sign in the front of the building, so we kept on going even if the navigator said we had already arrived. We turned around when the road ceased to be a road, and on the second pass we finally saw the winery sign and eureka! Arrived!
Two hours of driving under rain and a bit of snow was time enough to be in the need of getting warm and replenish our energy levels. Marjan was there waiting for us and he welcome us warmly. We entered the tasting room and in front of our eyes laid a nice collection of Roxanich wines. We thought: “Wow! Great! Nice nice display!!” but then, Marjan kept on bringing more bottles, so our eyes were wildly open, like those of a kid in front of a candy shop. He also offered some prosciutto and cheese, so we just relaxed and got ready to enjoy.
The tasting consisted of four sections, each offering different styles of wine. Marjan was explaining about wine, vinification and many other things we wanted to know about. He was extremely patient with us. We started with the fresher wines, those in which the maceration period with the skins (because here all the white wines are macerated on the skins) was just a few days.
Draga 2013 is a Pinot Blanc with two days of skin maceration. It was the opening wine and it was a great wine, very well done, fine and very tasty. Mirna 2013 is a Sauvignon Blanc with also two days on the skins. Very surprising and fine wine. These two wines stay two years in steel tank. SoRelle 2013 is a Chardonnay with four days of maceration; 10% of the must stays three years in barrel and 90% in steel tanks.
Normally, you begin a tasting nice and easy, just stretching your muscles getting ready for the long run, but rather we started with a full sprint. Such an amazing way to begin with. Wonderful wines indeed.
Then followed serious white wine stuff: wines made for the hardcore fans of the macerated white wines. These three wines have an ageing period of six years (six, 6, six) in oak barrels of different big sizes. Antica 2010 is their flagship white Malvazija wine with six months on the skins. Milva 2010 is the Chardonnay with also one week of skin contact. Two single varietal wines that pleased us so much. Finally, a white blend, and as Marjan said, a blend of grapes. The grapes are harvested then they go together through the vinification process. Ines u Bijelom 2010 is a blend of Verduzzo, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Friulano, Riesling Italico and Glera. Seventy days on the skins and six years in wood. After these three wines, we were in absolute awe.
If the first three wines were good and enjoyable, the following three were just amazing. So much intensity in the glass coming from the skins yet at the same time very elegant wines that made you want to taste more and more. And then a bit more.
After a brief pause to meditate on the previous wines, we started with the red wines.
The first one was their flagship red wine; the one that Marjan said is their best-selling wine. In fact, they had run out of this wine and they only had a few small 0,375 ml bottles left, with all the magnums and regular bottles long gone. SuperIstrian 2009 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 40%, Merlot 40% and Borgonja 20%. It is a great wine indeed and once we finished the tasting we came again to this wine for another sampling and we understood why it is their best seller. The second red blend is Ines u crvenom 2008, not as grape blend as the Ines u Bijelom 2010 but rather a wine blend, where each variety is vinified on its own and then they are combined. The grapes are Syrah, Barbera, Lambrusco, Malvasia Nera, Cabernet Franc and Borgonja.
Next were the three single varietal reds: Merlot 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Istiranac Teran Ré 2008. We have stated in previous occasions we are not fans of the Teran grape, but the one Roxanich produces made us rethink our position about this variety. Very good wine, as well as the other two. Very enjoyable all of them with six years of ageing in different-size wood vessels. Smooth, elegant and enjoyable wines.
This was part three of the tasting and we were not finished yet, but before continuing, we opted for strolling around the cellar for knowing more about Roxanich Vina. This is an organic winemaking company, with traditional elaboration methods and a biodynamic farming belief. Technology, as well as mechanical and chemical intervention, are not used in any phase of elaboration. They own wood vessels of 35 hectoliters and 55 to 70 hectoliters, as well as barrels of 600, 500 and 225 liters. The bottling of each wine is always performed under a waning moon. It was in November 2008 when their first three wines, Teran 2005, Teran Re 2005 and Merlot 2005 came out to the market. Nowadays their annual production comes around 50,000 bottles.
After visiting all the premises, the day still cold and humid, we went back to the tasting room where two bottles of sparkling wine were waiting for us: Les Bulles Brut Nature white, a Malvazija wine, and Les Bulles Brut Nature rosé, produced with the Teran grape. Really great wines to finish the visit with.
Our first ever visit to a Croatian winery couldn’t be better than to Roxanich. Marjan was an excellent host, the wines were really enjoyable and the place was very nice. The leading man of the company, Mato Matic, was held in Ljubjana, Slovenia, due to a snowstorm so we could only talk by phone, but hey, now we have another reason to go back and thank him for all their kindness. Besides, Spanish wine is always welcome in the follow-up visit and we are true ambassadors of our wines when we go abroad, so some wines are due next time.
On the other hand, who needs an excuse to visit such a great winery as Roxanich Vina? Finding great wines as these ones is a wonderful thing, but finding people like Marjan and Mato is way much better. They overwhelm you with their attention and their kindness.
We will talk soon to the Mladen Rozanic owner and winemaker of Roxanich.