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Francuska Vinarija (Serbia); a sneak preview

After decades of experience in vineyard management and consultancy with Domaines like Comtes Lafon, Zind-Humbrecht and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – Cyrille Bongiraud, and his partner Estelle Germain (an experienced grower from a distinguished Burgundian family in Chorey-les-Beaune) went looking for a place to create their own estate. They knew how to grow and make great Burgundy, but the land prices in Cote d'Or made this region an impossibility. So they cast their net far and wide in the hope that they might find somewhere else in Europe where they could produce the kind of wines they loved to drink; wines of finesse and minerality.

After an exhaustive search, they stumbled across an ancient wine growing area in northeast Serbia - Rogljevo – a region revered for its wines in the 19th century. Here they found the continental climate and limestone soils that they were looking for. They also saw the potential, not only of this long forgotten terroir, but also a range of indigenous varieties such as Vranac, Tamjanika, Graševina, and local cultivars of Riesling, Chardonnay, Burgundac (aka Pinot Noir) and Gamay “Petits Grains”, which is related to, but not the same as the Gamay of Beaujolais. In 2007 they set up a communal project called Francuska Vinarija (literally French Winery), working with seven local families. The vineyards are managed along Burgundian lines; only organic inputs, cultivation, hand harvesting, etc.

With our first shipment set to miss our annual Trade Tastings by a matter of weeks, we are excited enough to have air freighted some samples for both tastings in Sydney and Melbourne. We will have an offer out on the full range soon (we are working with six wines and our shipment is currently on the water). In the meantime, if you can make the tasting(s), we hope you enjoy the sneak peek. Finally, the video above is a trailer from filmmaker Zeljko Mirkovic's documentary The Promise (in development), which covers Rogljevo's intriguing wine history and the story of Francuska Vinarija.


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