September 21, 2020 – Do you know any city center hotel in the world that have their own vineyard right on their own terrace? I don’t. But I might be mistaken. Anyway, the terrace of the legendary Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb, however, holds a minuscule vineyard and they have proudly presented the first (limited, of course) edition of the 2019 vintage of their very own Zinfandel.
In fact, they initiated this project a few years ago with the legendary Croatian winemaker Vlado Krauthaker who gave his vines to the hotel as a gift. Last week, a small group of journalists and friends of Esplanade, had the honour and great pleasure to taste the bottles of this precious wine, and to help pick the grapes of this year’s vintage.
“I remember the beginning of the collaboration with Esplanade…it started 20 years ago,” said Vlado Krauthaker while reminiscing about how it all began when he started selling his highly esteemed wines to the hotel. It is not by chance that Zinfandel is also the name of the hotel’s restaurant, one of the best fine dining restaurants in Zagreb, with chef Ana Grgić at its head.
“It is obvious now that the idea of synergy between the hotel, fine dining, and winemaking was a good idea indeed,” said Krauthaker, proudly presenting the bottles.
The 2019 vintage is characterized by deep red colour and great taste of raspberry, ginger, rosemary, and a hint of garlic with the smokey tobacco-like finish. I am convinced that true wine lovers will recognize the quality of this wine. Limited edition of Esplanade’s own Zinfandel 2019, with a specially designed label, will be listed on Esplande’s wine list and will be available to the restaurant guests for 430 kuna a bottle.
“It took years of scientific research and to prove that Zinfandel actually comes from these parts,” said prof. dr. sc. Edi Maletić from the Agricultural Faculty, University of Zagreb.
Esplanade’s restaurant is called Zinfandel after the varietal that was taken from Dalmatia to the USA a long time ago.
“It is exactly why it represents the interconnectedness of the cultures that meet in this hotel, in this restaurant and in our country, Croatia,” said Max Krizmanić, the hotel’s general manager, and one of the people most „responsible“ for this project.
He also said: “We are all extremely happy that it actually turned out to be top-quality wine. There are not many bottles available, but the ones that are, should be tasted and drank as soon as possible. This was also a perfect occasion for the media representatives to taste the new autumn menu created by the Zinfandel’s chef Ana Grgić, and it is safe to say that they were more than delighted by the dishes served. They will be on the menu from the 29th of September, and they are nothing but delicious.
“The autumn menu is inspired by the season – and all the excellent ingredients that it offers – like corn, truffles, chestnuts, mushrooms…but I am also very proud of our own pickled vegetables because we have done it all by ourselves,” said chef Ana Grgić.
All the vegetables come from small farms, but so does the meat like for example duck that comes from the famed Varaždin OPG Orehovec and goat cheese from OPG Moravec. For all who prefer steaks, there will be Kagoshima Wagyu steak on the menu, too. Desserts are numerous and tasty, main ingredients being orange, rhubarb, tangerine, chocolate and exquisite corn ice cream.
Last but not least, welcome sparkling wine that was served at the very beginning was also Krauthaker’s sparkling wine Julia. Official mineral waters for the occasion were Acqua Panna & S. Pellegrino.
Photos: Esplanade Hotel Archives