The sixth day of Croatian Vino occurs during the filming Vecera za Pet. By the fourth evening, pictured below, we’ve all become friends. Here we’re at place of another contestant, Igor. He lives in an apartment upstairs, but we filmed this episode in this konoba owned by his landlord. This picture below features the sixth wine on the right, Kutjevo Graševina 2009.
Kutjevo sponsors the show and their wines appear in every episode. It threw me for a loop because I had agonized over which wines that would go with the different courses of my meal, and Kutjevo was not on that roster. I plead my case and they agreed that I could pour whatever I had planned if the Kutjevo bottle was on the table. But then, during my taping I presented the first course and was about to get the wine when they told me there was no time for me to pour wine, that we had to start eating and they would film. I was totally bummed out about this, because for me the wine was a huge component of my meal and I was delighted about the pairings I would present. The first course, which I would pour with my Minnesota Chicken Wild Rice soup, was to be Trapan Uroboros, a yummy white wine made of 50% Malvazija and 50% Chardonnay, with a touch of barrique. But instead we had water and empty wine glasses. Ah, well the show must go on.
Kutjevo is a huge winery in the continental part of Croatia, in an area actually called Kutjevo, with something like 6 million liters of production. They claim to have all of the best vineyards in this area and they primarily plant Graševina, of which they are reputed to have the best in Croatia.
The wine they gave us was from 2009. Not sure if this is the most current vintage. The wine is a very pretty straw yellow, reminiscent for me of a Mosel riesling. And a few of the notes on the nose were alike as well, there was definitely some orchard fruit here, but of the tart, slightly underripe variety. Tart green apples up front and a little mandarine orange trailing through. All of this is backed by some earthiness in the form of wet stone, flint and steely minerality.
I’m usually a little aprehensive about the first sip of Graševina, as it’s hallmark is in its razor sharp acidity. Not exactly your garden variety cool-climate high acidity, this is more like having Edward Scissorhands for a dentist, slashing your mouth up style of acidity. In this vintage Kutjevo has gotten a good handle on it, perhaps that little extra time in the bottle assisted the process. Maybe ’09 was a nice warm year, and they saw bigger fruit than usual, but whatever the case, this wine is really decent. It needs food, for sure, and I think Igor’s first course of Macedonian Palačinke filled with cheese, meat and egg, served with tartar sauce, was actually a good match. It had plenty of fat for this focused wine to slice through. And, at such a table as this, the wine is flavorful enough to distract you from all of the fake diamonds, glitter and other mock-bling on the table, in contrast with the traditional doily he also laid, a table I nicknamed Granny goes to Vegas.
If you haven’t tried this wine before, you should give it a try. It’s one of the most widely available Croatian wines and won’t be hard to find. It’s not for the cocktail hour, but needs food to temper it’s high-toned acid, so take it for a spin with a mildly-flavored cheese course or maybe even a cream-based soup, like this:
Minnesota Chicken Wild Rice Soup
- 3 cups wild rice
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup finely diced carrots
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (or 2 TBSP fresh, chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 oz heavy cream
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or additional chicken broth
- fresh parsley for garnish
- Set water to boil and cook wild rice, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
- Sear chicken on both sides, cook through, let cool, then cube. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- In a Dutch oven, melt the butter. Stir in flour until smooth to make a roux. Gradually whisk in broth mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in soup and wine or broth. Add rice and chicken; heat through. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
Post taping, this is how they roll after the good wine is gone. Igor breaks out the wine his landlord makes and they throw it back, topped off with some bubbly water. Thirsty yet?