Prigora - Putting Prigorje on Wine Map
We love witnessing new beginnings, especially when it comes to wineries. And when the story is set in a tiny region not particularly known for its wine tradition, we can't be happier. Stretching somewhere between the southern slopes of Medvednica and Sava River, Prigorje is a small rural region, naturally leaning to Zagreb. In terms of wine, it has always been underrated, overshadowed by its better known neighbours in Zelina or Moslavina.
Dražen Bedeković, the man behind Prigora brand, comes from the village called Bedenica and he made a name running a successful construction business. Winemaking is not his first call and it's not part of his family heritage. Enthusiastic businessman becoming a wine-making rookie - this scenario is not so uncommon in Croatia anymore. When ambition, plentiful resources and, above all, true love for wine and local tradition combine, good things can come out of it. Dražen listened to his guts and decided to take his hobby to a whole new level - and Prigora winery was born.
As a newcomer on the Croatian wine scene (but already with medals from international competitions like DWWA and IWC), Prigora has yet to struggle to build its brand and attract wine lovers. But they started quite well and smart, considering the fact that 2013 is their first widely available commercial vintage. And to top it all, they are focused on organic winemaking. The whole package is here - good quality wines reflecting the terroir, attractive design, wine tourism vision. At their first tasting presenting the 2013 vintage, we were more than pleased with a delightfully crisp and aromatic Sauvignon blanc, excellent and powerful sparkling wine made from Kraljevina grapes (second of its kind in Croatia), elegant white blend called promising Riesling and seductive Muscat. Expectations were set high.
When the invitation came to visit the winery itself and see what Prigora is all about on the spot, we jumped for joy. And the whole tasting event was just right: friendly, casual, informal but nonetheless serious, thorough and enlightening. Add an amazing selection of homemade charcuterie, local cheese, pickles and kotlovina, and it was an evening to remember.
So, what did we learn from this sneak peek into vintage 2014? Of course, we all know it was a terrible year for everyone and quite untypical, but Dražen and his gifted young enologist Luka managed to turn things around a bit. They sure had some surprises in store. In a few months, they'll launch ther first Rose, already showing all signs of a summer bestseller. Some of us were swept away by Pinot gris, a new entry that will rock a very limited selection of this variety in Croatia, while the others went with a more classical choice, a Riesling which is nicely balancing between the freshness and rich aromas of this specific variety.
In a nutshell: looking for honest and drinkable summer wines which represent great value for money and come from a "new old" Croatian wine region? Prigora has more than one ace up their sleeve and it's eager to welcome curious and open-minded visitors. You can experience Prigora wine roads with Morana&Lada from Zagreb Bites team! Get more information at www.zagrebites.com
Photography by Julio Frangen