Frankovka Should be the Red Queen of Continental Croatia, but also Istria

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Dry! Completely dry, without a gram of unboiled sugar, but with much specific freshness is how wines made of Frankovka should be, the variety which has all preconditions to be the red queen of Continental Croatia, even Istria, where it has been planted for over a 100 years under the name Borgonja. Frankovka smells wonderfully of raspberries, sour cherries, sometimes even plums. It gathers easily fine acids which help it, along with fine tannins, to create young and refreshing and ripe and relatively long lasting wines.

Winemakers of continental Croatia currently produce six quite different types. Ilok Cellars have the Princeps, a sparkling wine made from Frankovka via the champagne method of a second fermentation in the bottle with a colour that reminds of cyclamen, finely mixed aromas of red fruits and bread crust and a quite strong body making it more suited for lighter meat dishes than as an aperitif. A Frankovka rose from this wonderful cellar on the bank of the Danube river will go better before the meal, while they also make a mighty Frankovka of ruby red colour with a full and harmonious taste. Three Frankovka wines are also bottled by Orahovica. They are the scented rose and ruby red Frankovka as a relatively young quality wine and a superior, riper which has aged in large wooden barrels of 4.000 litres.

In this competition of large wineries in Slavonia and Danube Region, Feravino is ahead in numbers. They make four of them. Mlada is the name of the Frankovka which arrives on the market in the year of the harvest. Before the summer will come the rose, in the autumn the red Frankovka, both under the label Dika, while under the Miraz label is the current Frankovka 2012, which gathered plenty of awards this year and will probably continue to next year. This prediction is based upon the role of enologist Marijan Knežević who arrived from Belje where he made a wonderful Frankovka Goldberg election harvest 2012, which the Wine Stars reviewers described as a wine for special occasions and gave it four stars. This is, due to a harvest at the end of October and selection of the finest grapes, the sixth type of Frankovka. It has intense scent, a full body, complex and balanced taste and is dry. The lack of unboiled sugars makes this a great wine which aged for 12 months in a large wooden barrel, needing a few years to start showing off. At the first tasting in 2014 it went by unnoticed, only to astonish in 2015, with at least another ten years of aging to go. This wine was one of the reasons for the transfer of Marijan Knežević from Kneževi vineyards to those of Feričanci.

Recently another Frankovka from 2012 made a great impression, by Croatian winemaker Mate Klikowits, but from Burgenland, as the Austrians call the region we know as Gradišće. Playful, fresh and young, although it’s been four years since the harvest, it went great with lamb on spit. Burgenland is a wine growing region in which Frankovka gives the best wines. Probably because winemakers in the region gave it utmost attention. Generally, Frankovka is grown mostly in Austria with 3.000 hectares of vineyards. Next is Germany with around 2.000 hectares, with around 400 hectares in Croatia. Its origin has not been clarified, but we can consider it Croatian, as can other countries from former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Besides, its parent is Belina Blanc, a variety in the area of Krapina, whose children are Chardonnay, Moslavac and dozens of other varieties, hence called the Zagorje Casanova. Frankovka is a child this Zagorje native can be proud of.

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