Danijel Kraljević, code name Cuj, has two great loves; wine and oil. He is a wine expert by profession, and a multitalented perfectionist. His basic driving force is the question – Why is something the way it is? He “inherited” the name CUJ from his grandfather, whose punch line was (in a dialect): Listen (CUJ) let me tell you.
Current production of wine in a new basement in Farnažine (Umag surroundings) amounts approximately 35.000 bottles, with a goal of 50.000 bottles, the amount that Mr Kraljević could still produce working on his own. Locations of his wine yards spread over three soils – marly soil or flysh (white soil), terra rossa (red soil), and brown soil, all ideal for Malvazija, Teran, Muscat, some Chardonnay and Merlot. Malvazija is planted on all three soils, but is vinified separately and later blended together.
The philosophy of the wine cellar and the olive oil mill is quite clear – nothing is left to chance. Even though the Kraljević family is in wine business for generations, the oil production started six years ago, after building the mill of a laboratory type. The operation principle (strictly cold) consists of two stages – there is no centrifuge (no separator) that separates oil from water, which makes this process a bit more difficult; the mill does everything via the inverter (computer). This enables the producers to affect each phase of the oil production, which is crucial with some sorts of olives (too bitter or too sharp ones). By different methods of olive grinding, and by applying different recipes, the mentioned bitterness and sharpness could be reduced, and harmony of oil can be achieved. And vice versa. If a certain amount of olives is “tired” ore too ripe, this bitterness and sharpness can be affected. The advantage of the production without the separator lies in the fact that oil does not undergo through additional heating, and that water is not used in the processing, which is extremely important since the water washes out the polyphenols from the olive (polyphenols are natural antioxidants which protects the oil and connects with free radicals in the body). In his own olive-groves, Mr Kraljević grows several olive varieties; Buža, Bjelica and Črna – indigenous variety of olive, the richest in sterols which lower the cholesterol.
Many of renowned olive oil producers in Istria process their olives in CUJ’s olive oil mill (such as Belić, Ipša). In 2012, out of 43 Croatian olive oils that entered Flos Olei guide, 9 of them were processed in the CUJ mill.
- Region: istra-i-kvarner
Sveta Marija na Krasu
- Ambience: Modern, Rustic
- Services: Tastings with snacks, Multilingual
- Basic tasting price: 6 – 10 €
- Drop in tastings: No
- Onsite shop: Yes
- Hectares: 6
- Bottles: 35000
- Other products: Olive oil