The Ludbreg-based winery Stručić recently disgorged its first sparkling wine, also the first sparkling wine of the Ludbreg wine region. “This was a large challenge for us and our greatest feat so far. Every winemaker desires, after superior wines, to produce a sparkling wine, we all strive for it,” says winemaker Tomislav Stručić. Ludbreg is located in the Croatian northeast, between Varaždin and Koprivnica, and its name directly translates as ‘crazy hill.’
The Stručić sparkling was produced with the classic method, from the Chardonnay variety from 2014 and with the help of natural yeasts. For the disgorgement they hired Ivana Puhelek Purek and Kruno Antolković from the Eno Concept company, who are among the first in Croatia with the equipment and mobile service for the disgorgement of sparklings around the country.
Disgorgement is the final phase in the process of sparkling production in which the residue of the yeast is removed. This is a classic method, in which the second fermentation takes place in the bottle closed with a crown cork. While the sparkling ripens, bottles are placed on a rack, pupitre, rolled slightly on a daily basis for several months so the residue would ultimately collect in the neck of the bottle. Disgorgement is a procedure in which the neck of the bottle is frozen and then the residue is removed under pressure. If needed, the bottle is then refilled with sparkling wine from the same series, and if the winemaker desires, an expedition liqueur is added which additionally shapes the taste of the sparkling, and the bottle is then closed with a cork and protective net.
“Stručić sparkling was aged for two years. We did not add expedition liqueur, we can say it is complex, and the final aroma characteristics will become prominent within one to three months of ageing,” explained Ivana Puhelek Purek.
They aim to sell the sparkling on the Zagreb market, also available in their winery. Tomislav and Sanja Stručić are second generation winemakers, in the business about a dozen years.
“For the last two-three years we have been in the business more seriously and are focusing more on the quality of our wines. We cultivate three hectares of vineyards, with Graševina, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Rhine Riesling, producing 25.000 bottles per year,” disclosed Stručić.
Their enthusiasm and infatuation with winemaking are extremely contagious, and besides the wines they also have some excellent fruit liqueurs. The sight of their vineyards from the winery at any time of year is simply idyllic, so it is interesting news they are close to completing projects within the Wine Envelope, soon to offer accommodation as well – they will build five rooms, but also a new cellar and tasting room.