This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for Croatian Sweet over £15went to Kutjevo Traminac, Continental 2012 (10.5%)

Tasted against:

  • Krauthaker, Graševina, Continental 2011

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‘From an early age I was following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, learning a lot about wine,’ recalls Kutjevo’s winemaker ivan Marinclin. ‘My grandfather had a plot of 700 vines and while helping him tend them, i fell in love with wine and learned to respect the coexistence between man and nature.’

Marinclin joined Kutjevo in 2010, and he could immediately see the potential of some of its vineyards – potential which has clearly been realised, given this Regional Trophy, and a second one for Kutjevo’s Graševina.

The vineyards for this Trophy-winning icewine are planted in the area of Hrnjevac and are the highest vineyards in continental Croatia. The grapes are harvested in the chill of winter, at temperatures of around -7°C. Using natural yeasts and taking place in a cellar dating from the 13th century, fermentation can sometimes take more than six months, resulting in only 1,500 litres of the final wine. Marinclin justifiably calls this process ‘a true challenge for any oenologist’.

He says his aim is for consumers to taste in this wine ‘the magic of this Croatian region: the vineyard sites, the terroir. I want them to taste the growth of each berry in the vineyard. I am proud of these wines and think they deserve these great awards.’ So did our judges.

Written by Decanter