VLADO KRAUTHAKER, KUTJEVO, CROATIA

My favourite definition of wine: Wine is liquid love

Let me therefore in this series of great Croatian winemakers begin with the story about a man who, with this definition, perhaps even before all of his colleagues, the most venerable winemakers of Croatia, is identified with the motto most.

Vlado Krauthaker, according to many experts, even to the fans of his wines, which are more numerous every day, a winemakers whose creativity in the production of wine and the trade with, I’m not in the least pretentious nor pathetic when I say that it is pure art.

Wine should be treated as a living being, from his birth, infancy and childhood diseases, youth and adolescence, adulthood, old age, no matter how bizarre it sounds, to death and transfiguration. As in the symphonic poem by Richard Strauss sung immortal “Death and Transfiguration.”

Vlado Krauthaker, Slavonic Međimurier (Međimurije – roughly translated Zwischenmurland) or međimurian Slavonian, whichever you prefer, managed to combine the best features of its two “homelands”. His Međimurian background gives him the “breath” to hard work, responsibility, seriousness and thoroughness without which no work can achieve a great result. Slavonia, where he lived as a young and promising scholar of the winemaker and then as a stipend in the combine of Kutjevo. Where his Ružica not failed, apparently for life, to let the anchor and although he came with his loving daredevil mentality, he managed all a little too “loosen up”.

This writer is one of the lucky few who witnessed and survived (it takes a lot to survive these festivals!) the biggest wine festivals, Martinja and Vincelova, in the birthplace of Krauthaker, their Temple of wine in Kutjevo, is celebrated. At these days (and especially at nights!) when creating a unique, unrepeatable atmosphere of the Slavonic abundance, despite the crisis and recession, and something that we would play like instant sociologists, we could call it a WINE OF DEMOCRACY!

There they are at the same table wine makers, doctors, businessmen, judges, opera singers and the most prominent Croatian restaurateurs together with their drivers, waiters, etc … all enjoy together the pleasures of Slavonic delicatessen. In classical dance and folk songs they’ll explore the Pinot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon. And do not forget the Queen of the Croatian white wines, the national Graševina varieties (Riesling) from the mainland.

Just this Riesling, the wine surged through the wizard from the golden valleys to unprecedented heights, teaches us cohesion.The Croats, who are often divided along all seams are joint here to agree. Dalmatian fish that are considered by many the best in the world, and, in fact, is best accompanied by a Croatian wine from Kutjevo or Istria. Plavac and Babic, the best Dalmatian varieties are a little too aggressive (Dalmatia is a land of red wines), but they fit perfectly with the soft flesh of the sea bream or sea bass.

Vlado Krauthaker starts producing his first wines in 1992. The remember the list of all gold medals and high recognition that he received for his wines, at wine fairs in our country and around the world, and even today still continues to receive, even for himself would be a difficult task.Only the most important, as the gold medal for his 2000 Chardonnay Mitrovac on the competition “Chardonnay du Monde”, World Festival of Chardonnay in Burgundy 2002. The listing of its Sauvignon on an exclusive, carefully selected wine list, which Lufthansa First Class passengers are served on intercontinental flights, several gold medals at exhibitions in Bordeaux for Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, several gold medals in Bergamo for the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, two gold medals at last year’s exhibition in London for Riesling and Zelenac. And the many medals and awards from the Croatian wine fairs (in 2006 he was crowned the winemaker of the year) we will not mention here!

voljen grbac krauthaker 03 voljen grbac krauthaker

The company’s strategy of Krauthaker is in addition to producing quality wines, as already said here, parallel to the above, the company also produces a B-line. These wines are available at affordable prices and are sold in restaurants and large retail chains. I confess here, in these difficult times for us all that we can not afford a bottle of wine every day of 70, 100 or more kunas, this line is very tempting.

Our market is flooded with imported wines, in fact, from all over the world and the prices are very competitive with ours. Countries from which these wines are, have recognised the potential of producing and exporting wine and the organise their producers with the highest quality. They promote, support and subsidise them to better place their product in an increasingly demanding world market.

I would just like to add briefly, that in Croatia this is obviously not the case and that a Croatian wine maker has to expect at the “competent authorities” mostly just kind words and a slap on the shoulder.

If we were cynical, we might add the famous phrase, uttered in the vernacular as “good, until they will not be beaten!”

Vlado Krauthaker says: “We Croatian winemakers have not spoken our last word,” and this refers to the fast-growing quality wine in the country. This laconic and modest description of his own success: “We (he often talks about himself in the first person plural, so that is known that the production of wine is always a success as a team) will try in the vineyards and the cellars of the company Krauthaker to make as few mistakes in the process of growing grapes, the grape harvest and the wine production”. We will say goodbye to a big man and winemaker Vlado Krauthaker, but not for long. Only until the next sip of his” liquid love”, his famous Riesling, Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zelenac…..

Author: Voljen Grbac for Pearls of Croatia

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