Župa, part I: Vino Budimir, Aleksandrovac

As a matter of fact, there are two Budimir wineries: the small “garage” cellar of the Budimir Zdravković, called Grandpa Budimir, and the big modern creation of his children, who named their winery after him, because it was him who passed the love for wine on to them.

But the family traditions in winemaking are much longer. Their wine was strengthening already the army of the Prince Mihajlo Obrenović in 1878, when Serbia became a fully independent country as a result of the Russo-Turkish War. Grandpa Budimir and his wife Vera work with wine already 70 years. They dismiss barrique to produce fruity wines since convinced that wine is from grapes and this should be the first flavor of the divine beverage. Such an opinion is to my contentment not rare in Župa. Personally I dislike over-oaked wines and love the sarcastic name, which is sometimes given to them by older Serbian winemakers: daskovača, where “daska” designates a wooden plank and “–ača” is a typical ending for different rakijas (Serbian grappa), like, for instance, dunjevača (rakija from dunja – quince), kajsijevača (rakija from kajsija – apricot), etc. A wine, which smells and tastes predominantly like oak, is like rakija made from wood. As simple and witty as the word is, it expresses well the problem of many wines.

photo 2-1Grandpa Budimir is known not only for his traditional wines, but also rakija and his famous vinjak (Serbian brandy), which I had the opportunity to taste. This is a lovely brandy for meditation, strong but charming. Many would add to this enjoyment a cigar in a dappled shade of late summer afternoon, and maybe a good book.

The big Budimir winery is quickly becoming one of the most renowned Serbian producers. On the one hand, they revitalized some century-old vineyards and work a lot with autochthonous varieties, on the other hand, all this happens with the support of state-of-the-art technology. Their top wine is “Sub Rosa”, a cuvee of Prokupac (60%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%). This charming red recently won several medals on international fairs and I had the opportunity to taste it for the first time on the Balkans International Wine Competition in Sofia, three weeks ago. I’m afraid that both the name, meaning in Latin “under the rose”, and the place, Bulgaria being famous for rose oil production, influenced my perception and I wanted to believe that the floral notes are all about roses. In fact, the name is related to the phrase used, also in English, to denote secrecy and mystery, and shouldn’t be understand as a hint to the aroma of the wine. But this smooth wine, dancing on the palate, offers a whole spectrum of further notes: coffee, chocolate, violets, cherry… I love the label – its color, texture, and simple elegance! I know that the wine is available in the U.S., for around $26.

Budimir offers also Tamjanika, Merlot, white and red “Triada” cuvees, rosé, and a Rhine Riesling “Margus Margi”, with the character, which I find so typical for Serbia and its neighbors, but very different from what we know from Germany and Austria.

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