On a spring-like Saturday morning, last January, my friend Mirjana Maksimović and I visited this historical family winery in Sremski Karlovci, located in front of the Chapel of Peace.
Serbian wine lovers almost certainly heard about the prestigious award won by Kiš in Hungary last year with their Portugieser 2016, judged the worlds best, but let us proceed with order because there were quite a few wines to taste.
The Grašac beli 2016 – from the local clone SK 54, had an uncommon big structure, to the usual vegetal notes (aromatic herbs); one could notice yellow flowers, sign of a ripe harvest, nice balance and good finish: lovely!
Chardonnay 2017 – extremely young yet very expressive with its powerful tropical fruits (pineapple and mango) the result of a torrid summer, I think in a couple of years the fruit will acquire elegance.
Misterija 2016 – A real mystery indeed, I couldn’t guess the varietal. It turned out to be a pure Rajnski Rizling. If you want crisp Rieslings, you shouldn’t come to Serbia. This big bodied white had a lot of white flowers with a moderate acidity, quite fat and round, but this how Serbian Rajnski Rizling is supposed to be: a prove that “Terroir matters”
Then came a wonderful Rose 2017 – 80% Frankovka 20% Merlot, structure and lots of fruit, mostly sour cherry, good for food more than for thirst.
Now the Portugieser 2016, getting better and better as time passes, fruitier than 4 months before, the wood was now perfectly integrated. To achieve concentration they exposed the grapes completely to the sun, the sun stroke thickened the skins, then the 30% of the must was taken away (saignée) It has a nice red fruit, with a lovely texture, tipical of “noble” Danube red grapes such as kadarka and frankovka.
The Merlot had great finesse and a fresh acidity. Some 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon adds some forest undergrowth and black pepper. It is already good but will age graciously.
Finally the red Bermet Kiš. Bermet is fortified: to keep the freshness, they avoid overriping adding alcohol to stop the fermentation (at 16 degrees yeasts are killed). I can only say that I have liked it, but on this subject I am a naïf.
Most of Kiš wine comes from the Cru Matej, the best terroir of Fruška Gora. In conclusion, Kiš are great, passionate and very nice winemakers, their wines won’t let you down.
Gian Luca Garattoni