Croatian Winemakers – Luka Krajančić: I am not a Wine Whisperer

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Luka presented at the recent Vinart Grand Tasting in Zagreb’s Lauba probably the most intriguing premier wine among the roughly one hundred winemakers

Sergej Vasiljevič Rahmanjinov did not spend time on Korčula when he wrote The Isle of the Dead, a symphony poem inspired by the same-name painting of Arnold Böcklin. Just like he never could have dreamt that his magnificent piece will be played on speakers to Pošip wine in a small wine cellar in Zavalatica, in different stages of its coming of age. And be mixed with Chopin and Mozart. Enough for some to name Luka Krajančić, one of the most artistic souls of the wine world, a wine whisperer!

Naturally, the overly modest Luka refuses any titles being imposed on him, as he claims music has been playing in his wine cellar forever. But, he adds, not in order to practice any sort of musical therapy on his wines and improve their quality, but primarily due to the effect classical music has on him as the wine creator.

“I cannot say I am a great connoisseur of classical music, but it does relax me incredibly in the wine cellar. And I feel the communication of the winemaker and wine itself is like a story between two people – it has to be good. If, however, this energy is good, then there are postulates for the wine to be good in the end,” says Luka Krajančić, counting among his musical favourites Verdi and Bach, but in no way Croatian singers such as Jole.

“No, such music does not play in my cellar!”

Some would say – thank God for that, as Luka’s wine creations inspired by classical music, one of which is a semi-sweet Pošip he even named Opera, constantly raise the bar which has been, for his six labels, set high in the clouds and will be hard to reach, not to mention surpass. Although Luka does not exclude the possibility that some of the many Korčula winemakers, who make up the local scene, among the most vibrant in all of Croatia, may jump over the bar soon.

“The point of wine is not to make it standardized but to make it familiar in your own way! In familiarizing my wine for others I presented myself through it. In my wine story between the wine and me I am only an extra and listener! And I view these young Korčula winemakers and oenologists as an incredible wine story which has raised the quality bar of Korčula wines truly very high. However, I do not see them as competition as I will continue to work in my cellar with my modest knowledge and creativity to create as best as I can. We are all part of the same space and this is why their successes bring me joy!”

At the recent Vinart Grand Tasting in Zagreb’s Lauba Luka presented probably the most intriguing premier wine among the roughly one hundred winemakers. His orange Pošip 2012 only had a temporary label, but even as such, without the final garment, it managed to divert the attention of the wine scene to the new level of the most potent Croatian variety.

“I try to be different in my winery, which is very hard today. It brings me joy meeting very good wines more and more often, and in such a situation the mission of every winemaker becomes – to be distinctive. For Pošip 2012 the idea was to release it on the 20th anniversary of Krajančić Winery, which is this year. On the other hand, Pošip has been in the bottle since 2012, with 100 days of maceration and two years in wooden barrels. The harvest was 20 days after the regular harvest. This wine is an attempt to return to the beginning and tell a story of a space with 2.500 years of winemaking tradition. Although I pondered to write on the label “orange” wine, I think I will leave that out, as the wine’s look already suggests such a story, a description is unnecessary in that sense.”

Playing with the wine description on the temporary label, Luka wrote Pošip 2012 was made from grapes from his oldest vineyards “as an answer to the question: why not!?”

“Reactions to Pošip 2012 were in general positive, but as a rule I cannot and will not comment on wines I produce, as I usually make them as I like them. And that’s what matters most to me.”

Pošip 2012 was made in a very limited series of 500 bottles of half a litre.

The similarity of Pošip 2012 and Opera lies in both wines telling a story of the potential of the variety at a global level.

Soon, probably next year, the market will see his Statut, a Pošip Luka says makes itself, without any oenological interventions.

“With the Statut from 2011, a corpulent wine with nine grams of residual unfermented sugars, I celebrated 800 years of the Statute of Korčula Town. The new Statut 2015, a completely dry wine, will tell a story of Korčula where for years wine has been produced, while the barcode on the label will enable anyone to learn of Korkyra Melaina, the black Korčula, Čara, this small place where Pošip came of age.

Although the Isle of the Dead often plays in Luka’s cellar, he will never agree with the perception of Korčula, and especially his Zavalatica, being “at the end of the world.” On the contrary, he persistently makes the place he lives in and belongs to a true centre. The royal centre of Pošip!

For the original and more from Vinske Priče blog on wine, click here.


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