Croatian Winemakers: Belović Winery in Međimurje

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He does not rush to bottle wine, does not succumb to the habits of the local market

I dare conclude, at this moment Belović is the most significant winemaker of Međimurje. Cmrečnjak comes close. With Dvanajščak-Kozol, Jakopić, Kocijan, Kojter, Kossi and even Lovrec, for various reasons, I feel a stagnation.

Stagnation is not natural for a region where many things have begun. Many years ago. Wine drinkers usually don’t know that Krauthaker is from Međimurje. One of the first and with reason still successful private winemakers of Croatia. And in Međimurje, before the era of Enjingi, Zdjelarević and Krauthaker, excellent wines were made by Bobnjar and Lebar. While Bobnjar does not have a known heir of his wine legacy, Lebar’s son-in-law is Belović.

He does not rush to bottle wine, does not succumb to the habits of the local market and although with the 2016 harvest there is a turn towards drinkable and sooner ready fresh wine, what he bottles is generally dry or stable at the level of residue the wine is made on.

He adapts to the specifics of a harvest in a way for that difference to be felt in the wine, but each carries a clear seal of the climate and variety with a recognisable hand of the wine grower and winemaker.

The result are wines which gain value over time. In the beginning of July of this year we compared Sauvignons and the one from 2013 thrilled us, with the discussion going in the direction of the development potential of bottled recent harvests; then I like to say “we’re not in Kansas anymore,” but on Belović land, full of miracles such as:

Belović, Sauvignon, 2015 vs. Belović, Sauvignon, 2013
Price: 50,00 kn

2013 feels more invasive, with gooseberry being the more prominent sensation of the fruits. Exceptional nose.

2015 has more elderberry, but it feels more infantile and a dominant aroma component, as if that material will generate what 2013 is today.

2015 gives a sensation of dryness on the palate, not borderline but completely dry. Being juicy and drinkable at the same time seems to come from its life phase. Wonderful youth. Still unbridled. Some gooseberry, then nettle, then the scrotum of a musk calf or what have you, but the importance is that it works.

If 2015 is dry, 2013 dries up the palate. The extract is an anatomically recognisable Sauvignon Blanc. For all who get an instant erection from Sauvignon Blanc, this is Viagra. Taking into consideration that in this anatomy the Sauvignon Blanc is not some south Steiermark extracted weasel whose bitter acids cut into the palate and pull teeth. This is not an axe. This is a cobweb story, a shroud covering the palate inconspicuously and lasts. With a delayed and prolonged effect. I bet this wine is better today than it was before.

Belović, Graševina, 2012
Price: on demand

I was surprised when I heard this wine was not at the Graševina Conference. I wasn’t there either, but they can do without me. And there wasn’t any of the few Graševinas belonging to a different typology from the dominant one.

This Graševina smells of wine. There is no Kutjevo fruit or flowers here which are nice, but the absence of such sensations often frees up minerality. A matrix which evidently originates much deeper and stays longer.

It makes it feel more real to me, especially with a certain farm component, robust and almost hard ending slightly bitter and slightly hot. The 13.5% alcohol slightly stings, but the material is too interesting. The tonic compensates for this bitter acid and emphasises the quality of the material.

Belović, Pinot Nero, 2015
Price: 60,00 kn

Cranberry? Cranbeeeeerrryy. I am not much of an admirer of cranberries even as an aromatic description in wine, but it fits here.

Dry, at 12%, but seems ripe. Sharp acids, realistically unnoticeable, well balanced.

Transparent and delicate, just like it needs to be, and very clear! Fruit aromas, cranberries and young strawberries on the palate.

A quick sip wine, schooled to be enjoyed right away. Fair enough.

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