Croatian Winemakers: Boris and Danica Novak in Štrigova, Međimurje

Total Croatia News

Štrigova is a village near the northernmost point of Croatia, at the border with Slovenia, in Međimurje. Međimurje is a well known winemaking region, with a long tradition and renowned for making great continental wines in the past few decades. One of the wineries at the forefront of that new wine-making wave is Novak family winery, led by Danica and Boris Novak. Their families have, of course, like most others in that part of the world, been making wine for generations, but Danica and Boris decided in 1987 to make a change, to start planting their own vineyards and creating better wines from the best available varieties. So, they started making wines from several varieties that have proven to produce wonderful results in Međimurje, namely graševina, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, rhein riesling and yellow muscat of the white varieties, and pinot noir as the sole red variety. They don’t make blends, they like strongly characteristic varietal wines. And their wines do have a lot of character, specific for the region in which they grow – Novak wines are the ones that speak of Međimurje terroir most clearly and strongly.

They take most pride in their graševina, a traditional variety that’s grown all over Croatia. It’s one of those varieties that are very sensitive to the conditions and the soil, and Međimurje graševina is quite different than Kutjevo or Baranja kind. Somewhat sweeter than you’d expect (although still classified as “dry”), very fresh and suitable for a “gemišt”, Novak’s graševina is probably their families pride and joy and most asked for wine. But make sure to taste the other varieties they make as well, as you should be able to understand the specifics of the wines made in the Međimurje region.

And, if an opportunity should arise, go to their winery and tasting house on a hill called Banfi, about 50 meters from Slovenia, enjoy the view and ask Novak family in advance to make home-made meal for you. The local specialities will be the perfect setting for some (or a lot, depending on who’s driving) Novak wine in a traditional winery at the edge of Croatia.


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