Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas 2001

October 26th, 2008

A big, full-bodied, expansively-flavored, traditionally made Gigondas is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Mourvedre. Abundant herbes of Provence, heady, peppery notes are accompanied by sweet kirsch liqueur, plum, and fig characteristics. Dense, medium-bodied, and ripe. Nice, pure, plum-cherry finish.

Based at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail , its vines rising up the south west facing slopes, the Domaine des Bosquets encompasses 26 hectares at the heart of the appellation of Gigondas. This is one of the wines produced by the Brechet family

Score: 9/10
Price: �18
Retailer: Somewhere in Marseille

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Vinarija Ivanović – Tamjanika 2005

January 31st, 2008

This is a dry, slightly sparkling wine, with a pleasent, rich, complex aroma. A pleasure to sniff and taste, there’s a fruity note and there’s quite an undefined spicy note, definitely requires another bottle of researching ;) . The producer specifies it as a wine “with characteristic Muscat taste and smell carrying combination of spicy tones of incense, cinnamon, basil and fruit tones of pine apple and strawberry”.

Although it does have the muscaty taste it’s a dry wine, but still does go well with desserts such as nutty cakes. Also goes well with lighter meat dishes and on it’s own.

The Ivanović winery is a winery with a long tradition, one of those where the younger generation has embraced it’s ancestry recipes and combined it with modern trends. Some of the details are available online. It is located in the Župa region in southern Serbia.

Score: 8/10
Price: 500 RSD (€6)
Retailer: Chardak, Čika Ljubina 7, Belgrade

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Kopaonik Restaurants

January 13th, 2008

Kopaonik is the largest Serbian ski resort. It is a popular place for domestic skiers and is becoming increasingly popular with foreign visitors. Although “Kopaonik” is actually a large mountain, the term usually refers to the area around the “Grand” hotel and the apartment complex “Sunčani Vrhovi”. The area is small but contains quite a few hotels and private houses. It’s self contained, with shops, banks, a post office, etc. Apart from the restaurants in hotels, there are a few good restaurants around. In this article I’ll write about the restaurants I’ve visited this year, it might help you make the right choice (I didn’t have any tips at all…).

Etno club “Sunce”

This restaurant is located at the end of a quiet cool-de-sac, in the woods, a 5 minute walk from the Grand hotel. It looks very small from the outside, but it’s quite a spacious place. The atmosphere is great, fairly traditional, with two open fire places, a mixture of smaller and larger tables, a nice blend of loudness and privacy. The music wasn’t great, but that’s the easiest thing to change ;) . The food was excellent and so was the service. They offer mainly Serbian dishes, if you’re not sure what to choose from the menu, the waiters will help you with their recommendations, you can trust them. The wine list includes wines from some of the better Serbian cellars, such as Radovanović and Aleksandrović (Topola). Go for Aleksandrović’s red or white Triumph, they are some of the best wines Serbia has to offer. Overall, it’s a great place, I’ll be back.

Food quality 5/5
Atmosphere 5/5
Service: 5/5
Price 3/5 (moderate, but excellent value)
Wine list 3/5 (Radovanović, Aleksandrović)

Naša kuća

This place reminds me of modern pubs-restaurants in Ireland. It has a large bar area in the center, with large tables around, a couple of two seater tables in the corner for some extra privacy and a cosy open fire in the front. Both the interior of the restaurant and the furniture are made of light coloured wood, and there are stripes of small red lights throughout. There’s also a big video beam that mainly shows snow scenes during the day. It is a place frequented by the younger crowd and is open quite late into the nigth (until 3am). They have a small but well-chosen menu (which is also extremely well designed) and it’s obvious they put a lot of effort to make it a bit different from other restaurants in the vicinty. The chef is excellent, and the food is great, so give “Naša Kuća” a try if you get tired from the Serbian cousine and are looking for some European tastes. It is one of the more expensive restaurants, with a full dinner for two with a bottle of wine and a dessert producing a bill of around 50 euros. The wine choice is not great, but they do have a few wines apart from the regular choice, we recommend the wines from the Terra Lazarica range.

Food quality 5/5
Atmosphere 4/5 (nice mix of modern and traditional, younger crowd)
Service: 4/5
Price 2/5 (expensive)
Wine list 2/5

Etno kuća Studenica

If you’re on a lower budget looking for good quality Serbian food you should visit the etno restaurant Studenica. Pick one of the two tables on the far left to avoid looking at the interior of the kitchen and to avoid the local crowd on the right side. The place is clean, the food was great and the waiter was top-notch, but the problem with this place is that it has too much light, it is visited by the local crowd and generally the level of privacy is quite low.

Food quality 4/5
Atmosphere 2/5
Service: 4/5
Price 4/5 (relatively cheap, good value)
Wine list 1/5

Zvrk

This is a very popular restaurant located at the center of ski activities (the “baby slope”, ski lifts Karaman Greben and Pančićev Vrh), just besides the Grand hotel. The restaurant has two levels, the upper one being more packed and colorful, the lower one containing a large center-located open fire place. This fire creates a very tempting smell outside the restaurant, which is the main reason you probably won’t resist getting into it. In general, it’s not a bad place, but there are much better choices around…

Food quality: 2/5
Atmosphere: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Price: 3/5
Wine list: 1/5 (just the very basic Serbian wines)

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Vršački Vinogradi – Vršački Rizling “Kasna Berba” 2004

December 16th, 2007

Vršački Vinogradi (Vršac vineyards) are located in the vicinty of the town of Vršac in north-eastern Serbia.

The wine is semi-sweet (or semi dry for you pesimists out there!), full bodied and quite strong (14.5%). As the name (“late crop”) suggests, it is made from very ripe Italian Riesling grapes. According to the winery, the harvest is made in early November. It has a very nice nose, just swirling and sniffing it will cause great pleasure. For some reason it associates me of hot summers (it’s snowing in front of my window right now, I might just be nostalgic) and the smell of honey, hay (hey!) and a bit of alcohol. This is a full bodied white, goes well on it’s own and with desserts. If you’re in Vojvodina, ask for “makovnjača” or “štrudla sa makom”, to acompany this wine. Serve and drink cold (~10C).

It feels good to taste such a nice wine produced by a winery that was a big socialist company during the old Yugoslavia days, producing low cost table wines.

Score: 9/10
Price: 420 RSD (€5.20)
Retailer: Rodić MB, Airport City, Belgrade

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Plantaže Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

December 14th, 2007

This is another dry red wine from the sunny Čemovsko valley near Podgorica, Montenegro. We’ve covered a few wines from the Plantaže winery in the past and this is probably the poorest of their wines, without much character. Enjoyable only with a meal.

The difference in perception of this wine and the Dulka Cabernet we just covered is quite huge – the wine makers from Fruška Gora do seem to know how to add some magic to their wines and add a special touch to it (OK, it costs twice as much, but is well worth it!).

Score: 5/10
Price: 240 RSD (€3)
Retailer: Widely available in Serbia and Montenegro

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Dulka Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

December 14th, 2007

Dulka is one of the most famous wine producing families in the town of Sremski Karlovci, near Novi Sad in Vojvodina. They produce wine since 1920 and have won a handful of awards at the Novi Sad agricultural fair throughout the years. Apart from producing wine, this familiy also produces bermet and brandies of highest qualities.

They have just recently started growing Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2005 is their second vintage. However, this wine is quite rich in both aroma and taste, much richer and deeper than other pure Cabernets around. The color is dark ruby red, the nose rich, so reminiscent of forests and the flavours are those of forest fruit and chocolate. It’s a good wine, can be enjoyed on it’s own.

Score: 8/10
Price: 540 RSD (€6.5)
Retailer: Rodić MB, Airport City, Belgrade

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WinEco Biserni Chardonnay Barrique 2006

November 24th, 2007

This is another great wine from the WinEco winery (Podrum Radenković) from Southern Serbia. It is a not-very-dry Chardonnay, without a strong nose, but with an exceptional balance of fruity and barrique aromas. It is easy going, with a full taste, definitely one of the wines to accompany your lighter meals. It’s barrique traces make it a great complement to slightly smoked fish or cheeses, but it’s also great on it’s own.

In general, Chardonnay is particularly suited for the barrique (oak aged) treatment. Chardonnay Barrique develops a pronounced cognac aroma and becomes a truly full-bodied wine – all hints of fruity flavours become very subdued.

Score 9/10
Price: 800 RSD (€10)
Retailer: Super Vero

Plantaže Vranac Reserve 1998

November 21st, 2007

This is a premium Montenegrin red wine made from the indigenous Vranac grape. The Reserve is produced from particulary good years, in small quantities, aged in barrels for several years. It is also aged in bottles for one year before being released to the market.

This is a dry wine, with a pleasant fruity nose. However, the impressions are far lower than it’s price. If you want to experience the Vranac variety the Montenegrin way, go for a regular Plantaže Vranac or their Vranac Pro Corde. They are much cheaper and the experience is almost the same.

Wines of the Vranac variety are produced throughout the region, apart from Montenegro, you can find them in Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Herzegovina.

Score: 7/10
Price: 15 euro (in Montenegro)

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Simčič Sivi Pinot 2005

November 10th, 2007

The 2004 vintage of this wine received a bronze medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards last year (2006). I’ve only been able to find the 2005 vintage in Belgrade wine shops. It has an intensive and complex aroma with hints of flowers. Dominant tastes are those of melon and slightly of apricots. However, I wasn’t impressed, perhaps I expected more due to all the hype. Or perhaps there’s a significant difference in the two vintages.
We should note that this winery has a good reputation. The Simcic Sivi Pinot 1990 was awarded the Cordon d’Excellence; their Chardonnay has won two gold medals at the Ljubljana Wine Fair and the 1994 vintage was declared Champion by the Knights of the Burgerland-Pannonian Order.

Rating: 7/10
Price: 900 RSD (11 euro)
Retailer: Vinodom Belgrade, Bul Mihajla Pupina 10a

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Skovin Syrah Cabernet 2005

November 10th, 2007

Quite an unusual combination for the Balkans, since Syrah is fairly rare in the region. Skovin is probably trying to follow the world commercial trends with this Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon combination, and it’s not doing a bad job. Syrah brings in the spiciness and the earthy taste, which brings memories of those strong South African tastes of Syrah wines. Cabernet softeness it a bit, so overall it’s a nice wine, but distinctively dryer than the famous Australian Syraz-Cabernet’s.

Rating: 6/10
Price: 400 RSD (5 euro)
Retailer: Super Vero

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