One of US buyers of our portugieser, in his mailing list, writes about wines in his portfolio and his impressions of that wines. One of described wines is our portugieser and we present you chosen parts of that review.
Arbitrary and opinionated assessment of interesting wine
My Patience Was Rewarded!
One of the more common questions in wine is who doesn’t love a good Bosnian Blatina? I’m kidding, of course, because I doubt anyone has ever said that, at least outside of Bosnia-Herzegovina. As it turns out, however, I really like a good Bosnian Blatina, or at least I liked the only one I have ever tried.
If you have spent a lot of time talking with me, first - I’m sorry. Second, I may have mentioned I'm fascinated by wines from Eastern Europe. This is not based as much on great experiences as intuition. There are sadly few Eastern European wines available to me, and what I have tasted has been a mixed bag. But my reasoned optimism is based on this - with a rich wine history on par with Western European countries, and such a broad expanse of terroir, there simply has to be excellent examples of Eastern European wine that are better than I have yet experienced. Happily I recently was rewarded for my patience, and my patience is legendarily finite.
Croatia gets some attention for their wine because it is a popular tourist destination, but the little Croatian wine I can purchase is very expensive. Hungary makes some terrific wines, and I have a lovely dry Furmint that is a huge bang-for-the-buck bottle. Romania makes a ton of wine, but I doubt we ever see the good stuff here. The largest underground wine cellar in the world is located in Moldova; that country is Russia’s California, essentially. You see Bulgarian wine every once in a while, and I have sold some pretty solid bottles, but I have never tasted anything really exceptional from there. Slovenia borders Italy’s Collio region, but sadly we see very little wine from that beautiful country. And then there is Bosnia-Herzegovina (the standard abbreviation is BiH) - a country I have absolutely no first hand knowledge of, and very little second-hand.
Another super cool new wine is the Portuguiser 2019 from Agrina of Serbia. The wonderful picture below the masthead shows a young lady holding an obviously robust and healthy bunch of Portuguiser grapes. Trust me, most wines grapes do not look like this. The Portuguiser grape is widely grown in Germany and Austria, and strangely no definitive connection can be established that the grape originates from Portugal. I have tasted Portuguiser in blends with other grapes, but I don’t believe I had a 100% Portuguiser before Agrina. I should clarify that I have had Agrina before this most recent time, but it was clear that the sample I tried was tired and well past its prime, possibly even poorly stored. The fresh bottle recently tried was just that - fresh.
I can't even explain what a treat it is to taste a wine like this. According to my conversation with Aleks Krsmanovic of Balkan Wine Project, Sava Jojic, owner of Agrina, is committed to making easily enjoyable wines. This may sound odd, you might think every winemaker wants to make easily enjoyable wine. Many do, but there are quite a few that want to make wine to be worshipped, and not every winemaker has the vineyards to make elite wine. Many winemakers follow formulas of production, easily abetted by consultants, designed to get high scores from critics who often make decisions by a quick taste rather than enjoying the whole bottle. Agrina is the opposite; the wine is made in the same way it was under decades of communist rule - simple, easy; a wine to give pleasure in a time when pleasure was no doubt sorely needed.
The author is Philip Bernot, the owner of “Wishing well liquors” from Maryland, USA