Zeljko Brocilovic Carlos
Vinski vrh archive
t's Saturday… less than a week has passed since I came back from a short excursion to South Tyrol. And while most of you were enjoying socializing and celebrations on a hot summer’s night, I was sitting in a tiny room chilled by the air conditioning and thinking about the various events that marked the last few days of my life. Once again, the excursion to Bolzano stirred up a series of emotions in me, personal, as well as emotions aroused by the tangle of eno-gastronomical experiences or the question of friendship.
True friendship… to what extent does it exist today, how much are we willing to sacrifice and “be friends”? All those phrases “buddy”, “friend” and similar, do they really signify the true essence of friendship? Does it hurt you to see injustice, are you aware of all the effort that is needed to establish true friendship, are you sincerely sorry when you hurt a friend or does it all come down to “I don’t give…” You’ll know once you have lost a friend, when you realize that stupidity and arrogance brought about a cavity that cannot be filled…
But philosophy aside, this thinking motivated me to open a bottle of chilled wine and start writing… Riesling… I became familiar with Riesling in the early 1990s when I lived in Munich and occasionally helped in Tantris, one of the best restaurants in Germany, and their phenomenal sommelier Paola Bosch talked about Riesling as the king of white wines.
Riesling – the King of White Wines
Maybe I became familiar with this type too early and maybe I fell in love with it too soon trying to explore all of its charms. Later, while I was working as a sommelier in the well-known Italian hotel “La Perla” in Corvara, I decided to put the German Riesling on the wine list, but I received only negative reviews. However, today an interesting wine list is inconceivable without this wine, which, depending on its stylistics and intensity, is phenomenally joined with a huge variety of delicacies of international cuisine.
That’s what Riesling is like, from a simple, everyday wine to very complex wines, which has made it impossible to overthrow it from “the wine throne” for decades. And while dealers and consumers around the world are practically struggling to acquire a few more bottles, this wine is neglected and it looks uninteresting in Croatia.
Up to now, these wines (of course, a part of them) were well-produced, but if we looked for type characteristics and took great wines from Pfalz, Mosel or Rheingau as role models, I stayed indifferent, unexcited and with relatively “few words to say”. Until now… in this dark tunnel that leads to that desired end, separating one wine from all others, there was a light, a powerful, bright light!
Imagine that tiny chilled room in a typical Istrian house (an old one, not a newly renovated house), some Adriatic “fast food” with a few Kvarner scampi, clams, molluscs and… a Riesling from Zagorje… A Riesling that did not leave me indifferent, a wine that smells of youth and freshness, of fresh apricot, citruses and freshly peeled apple skin, a wine that leaves a perfectly harmonious trace of fresh herbs in the mouth and reflects the fruity aroma that I felt in my nose, with an addition of southern fruit shades and an unforgettable mineral flavor.
Blues from the Hills of Hrvatsko Zagorje
“I have found it”, I thought, and my thoughts wandered off to the scene on some of the gentle hills of Zagorje where the view stretches to vineyards and typical small vineyard cottages. It took time and effort and, of course, a vision to produce a wine like this one. It took courage and stubbornness for somebody to step up with a wine that emits freshness and elegance in our world of built-up Rieslings and Malvazias. Tomislav Bolfan, a young winemaker and a visionary, is on the right track.
The man who replaced vanity with modesty, and substituted recognized superlatives on the wine scene with a will to learn, sends us a clear message that echoes through the gentle hills of Zagorje, looking for the ears that can hear and the hearts that are willing to recognize and learn. Look around, open up and hear the blues from the hills of Zagorje, the blues that tells the story of all the former acid wines and directors, the story of the gentle region of Zagorje and sometimes of stubborn people whose diligence and simplicity can fill with admiration, as well as the story of a new time that will be characterized by excellent wines by a young winemaker who had a vision.
Therefore, going back to the beginning of this text, to my cooled little room on the other side of Croatia, I will linger marveling this Riesling Bolfan Primus 2008 and ask you to reflect on things that matter to you, baring in mind friendship, true friendship, which started on a gentle hill of Zagorje for me today, though I am in Istria…