Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
In my “time”, we mostly drank spritzers, or gemischts, whatever your cup of tea is. Half wine, half Knjaz (mineral water). The best ones for gemischts were Riesling from Banat, and Chardonay from Kutjevo. In the morning, your head would feel big as a walk-in wardrobe.
One year before the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo 1984, while preparing a series of shows for Radio Sarajevo about all the cities that previously organized winter games, I was in Voiron (France), visiting the Rossignol ski company. The president of the company in the evening hosted a dinner for my colleague Sava Trifunović and me in one of the most famous French restaurants, located in this small town – a family restaurant with a 150-year tradition. Because of our host, President of Rossignol, dinner was served by the owner of the restaurant personally. When he brought us a decanter of white wine, Savo and I simultaneously asked for mineral water. The man brought a bottle of mineral and stood next to the table to see what we would do with it. When we made our spritzers, he quietly stood there waiting for us to take a few sips, and then asked us to get up and leave the restaurant. We had terribly offended him by desecrating the centenary pride of the patrons, their famous wine, by baptizing it with mineral water. Only thanks to the authority of our host we weren’t thrown out head over heels.
Because of the frequent headaches after the nights spent with spritzers, my interest in wine slowly waned. Meanwhile, I realized that wine is a fantastic thing if you know how to drink it, and if you know what wine is good with which dish, or what wine goes with the appetizer, which with the main course, and which with the dessert. If you know your wines, you can enjoy them endlessly. Drinking wine is an art. And you don’t need much to feel good. I remember the dinners at Edi Košuta’s place in Ljubljana. We drank four types of wine, a sip of every one, and in the end you feel great. You’re not drunk, but it’s almost as if you are. You had a drink, and you can still safely drive yourself home. You’ve been talking all night and you didn’t talk nonsense, which is something that goes with a man who had a glass too much.
At the end of the eighties, I often traveled to Goran Takač in Lozana as we were arranging things to open a joint agency in Yugoslavia. When we started it, we saw each other even more often. And always, of course, we went to lunches and dinners at the best restaurants. Goran was smoking Marlboro, but after a meal he would always order a small bottle of top-quality red wine. He would take out a leather cigar case, take one out, and enjoyed a cigar with wine. I remember that, but I didn’t pay much attention to this Goran’s habit. I drank whiskey and, sometimes, beer, and I also smoked Marlboro. During the war, which I survived solely thanks to the memories, I remembered Goran, his red wine and a cigar. I had a bottle of Vranac in the house, and a couple of cigars that I got as a present from Cuba from someone. I thought I should try it as well. I prepared a dinner, poured myself a glass of Vranac, and lit a cigar. It was nice. I drank the wine slowly, smoking a cigar and enjoying a feeling that was becoming more and more beautiful with every sip and smoke. In the end, I had a taste in my mouth that I couldn’t compare to anything before that. If you haven’t “married” red wine and a cigar, try it today. It’s priceless.
I was invited to the Young Wine Festival at Tikveš last weekend by Elena Mladenovska, company’s marketing director. It all began with a visit to the Lepovo boutique winery of the Tikveš Group, located in the center of the vineyard where the top grapes are grown. In terms of location, this winery is separated from the main Tikveš’s plants. It best depicts the changes that happened in Tikveš in the last 14 years since the company was bought by Svetozar Janevski and rescued it from demise. In these 14 years, over €40 million has been invested in Tikveš. The winery that bottles 70 percent of its production for the mass consumer market and 30 percent sold in barrels, turned into one of the most modern wine cellars in the region (and beyond), producing top quality wines.
While even the best wineries are dreaming that Robert Parker, the world’s foremost wine authority, assigns some of their brands 90 points, and possibly a point more than that, some Tikveš wines have already been rated 95. Satisfied? “Yes”, says the young oenologist who took us through the Lepovo winery and told us some of the most beautiful stories about wines I’ve ever heard. “But that does not satisfy us, we want to get closer to the 100 rating as close as possible.” He told us about the vineyards that surround us, the top quality grapes from which the highest quality wines are made, the reduction of the vineyards in order to obtain even better grapes (the reduction means reduction from six clusters per vine, so although less grapes is produced, it reaches a higher quality) about picking some grape varieties that starts at four o’clock in the morning before the sun rises, and the grapes that are touched by the sun are rushed into the fridge for a couple of hours to preserve the ideal balance of sugar and other characteristic ingredients. He told us of the world’s best quality wine barrels that Tikveš buys from a French producer (a small barrel costs 900 euros, a large 2,600 euros, they are used for one, or in exceptional situation two fillings, and are replaced immediately), the world’s best-in-class technologies, and the unlimited investment in people’s know-how. The enologists from Tikveš each year go to gain new knowledge at most prestigious wineries in the world, from France to New Zealand.
After the Lepovo Winery, we visited a large vineyard in the group’s HQ and went to the Young Wine Festival. We came right about the time when Sveto Janevski, the Group president, addressed the audience of about a thousand guests. He stood on the stage with a glass of black wine in his hand, surrounded by about twenty closest associates demonstrating that way once again that people are the highest value for the Tikveš winery. With them, in the end, he made a toast to the young wine and the new wine year in which the winery would market close to ten million bottles of the best wine. We stayed at the Festival all day. We enjoyed wine, top quality food and a great music program. All the time I was thinking that I should finally start enjoying the top wines. But, to be able to do that, I have to learn about them, and for that reason I will be looking for my first books on wine in bookstores these days.
Otherwise, the Young Wine Festival lasted two days and every day Tikveš had about one thousand guests who make up the entire target group of the Group: retailers, distributors, hoteliers, caterers, lawyers, diplomats, journalists…
Before Tikveš, Sveto Janevski owned Skopska brewery and Coca-Cola in Macedonia. Recently his new beer brewing adventure began. He bought the Belgrade Beer Industry (BIP). There should be no doubt that he will make a successful story from BIP as he did with Skopsko and Tikveš.
I wish him the best of luck.
Monday, 20 November 2017