Merlot and Syrah for Starlings to Save Cabernet Sauvignon

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For a litre of wine packed in a carton with a tap, the Vina Jakob company is asking 40 Kuna. And getting it. Their 28.000 vines of red sorts are in Brodski Stupnik and the winery in Zagreb.

“It is the same wine we bottle with a blue label, sent to the market a year after the harvest. Wines for bottling are held back another year,” said owner Zdravko Jakobović on the 2014 harvest, which receives little praise, especially of red wines. This blue Jakob surprised with ripeness and fullness.

“We harvested quite late so we got good grapes,” said enologist Ivona Đipalo.

The label quotes three varieties, but Cabernet Sauvignon dominates.

“Merlot and Syrah were eaten by starlings. That was the price of waiting so they exist in the wine only in traces. But the birds in return left us with an excellent Cabernet,” explained Ivona the unusual “misunderstanding.”

The blue label is the cheaper line of Jakob wines, while the prestigious one is “dressed” in red. The 2013 harvest of red Jakob was bottled in July and was one of the reasons for this week’s premier tasting. The actual premiere will be at the festival at the end of November in Zagreb’s Esplanade hotel, after which it will be on the market.

This wine was until 2011 a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. In 2012 the Syrah was exceptional so they made it as an individual wine, substituted in the coupage by Cabernet Franc. It proved to be a good choice as Syrah 2013 is very fine and spicy so they now have two prestigious wines.

A third is on its way. The year when starlings “picked” Merlot and Syrah, some grapes were left over for a first sparkling wine of the winery. Those two varieties provided half the material for the base wine, the rest from a Chardonnay bought in other Brodski Stupnik vineyards. The sparkling still has no label, but it does have a soft pink colour, enviable fullness and pronounced tasty acids. The trial run of 400 bottles has aged a year on yeasts, while the remaining 4.000 will age another year or two and it will be quite interesting to see how it develops.

Na pragu je i treće. U onoj godini kad su čvorci “brali” merlot i syrah, ostalo je malo grožđa i za prvi pjenušac vinarije. Te dvije sorte dale su pola sirovine za bazno vino, a ostatak je chardonnay kupljen u drugim brodskostupničkim vinogradima. Pjenušac još nema etiketu, ali ima nježnu ružičastu boju, zavidnu punoću te izražene ukusne kiseline. Probna serija od 400 boca je odležala godinu dana na kvascima, a preostalih 4000 će sazrijevati još dvije i bit će jako zanimljivo pratiti kako će se razvijati.

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