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PROKUPAC - THE SERBIAN STAR IS (RE)BORN

Written on 12-10-2016 by Tomislav Ivanović, Belgrade, Serbia

Milomir Milosavljević squeezing a bunch of Prokupac - pic by Martin Candir & Žarko Jović

PROKUPAC - THE SERBIAN STAR IS (RE)BORN

14thJune, 2014 - Wine Identity Conference (Belgrade)

Silence echoed in the conference room of the Falkensteiner Hotel while glasses were filled with Prokupac from Ivanović Winery and the legendary vintage 2003, followed by vintage 2004.

 

Something in the air was telling us that we were witnessing a historic moment… Prokupac from Ivanović Winery, vintages 2003, 2004, 2006 , 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012… the last bottles of 2003 and 2004, and a unique opportunity to assess capacity of Prokupac to withstand the test of time. Wines were technically correct and without faults, and surprise, surprise, it turned out that the vintage 2004 was in excellent condition… The audience confirmed with loud approval that among all samples, vintage 2004 is the best wine that Ivanović Winery ever delivered as a gift to Serbian winelovers.

 

Even Saša Špiranec stood up and commented (quote): 'There it is , I still tremble while I am tasting this wine from the year 2004. Exquisite wine, certainly the best I’ve ever tasted so far from the Serbian vineyards. I am honored that I had this opportunity to taste it here.' This wine has definitely confirmed that Prokupac is able to spawn a serious wine, and finally shattered the view that Prokupac may mature up to 4-5 years. And Gaga Ivanović himself has paved his place on the pedestal of the modern Serbian wine scene.

 

It was a point of no return. A proof that Prokupac definitely can produce a premium wine, so even the most passionate skeptics were silenced. Prokupac, the ugly duckling of Serbian wine scene, has gone a long way since medieval times, when it was widespread in Serbian vineyards alongside other local varieties: Kadarka, Začinak, Drenak, Belina, Smederevka, etc. Then it faced grim times of socialism in Yugoslavia when the reputation of this variety tarnished owing to mass production in industrial wineries.

 

Župa, historical cradle of Prokupac and wine region in South Serbia which preserved this variety until present day, has withstood all pressures and continued safeguarding old vines of Prokupac for younger generations. Even academic circles and scholars argued at those times that Prokupac could make anything more than a mediocre red wine. However, vine-growers from Župa weren’t deceived. And rightfully so. Nowadays, Prokupac undergoes new youth. Vineyards of Prokupac are increasingly planted in all regions to the south of the Sava and the Danube. Prokupac is becoming a flagship variety of Serbia, similar to Malbec in Argentina, Furmint in Hungary or Assyrtiko in Greece...

 

14th October, 2016 - International Prokupac Day

(Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Zlatibor, Budapest, Zagreb, Zurich and many other places)

 

Prokupac is the first local variety from the region of Central/Eastern Europe which got its feast and the special day dedicated to wines made from this variety, similar to tradition of numerous international grape varieties (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, etc). Stories about Prokupac are told, tweeted, shared… Social networks are buzzing with activity whilst Prokupac wines are enjoyed.

 

Prokupac can be classified into several distinct styles. 'Ružica', traditional dark colored rosé containing at least 50% Prokupac grapes. Also, Prokupac blended with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot, usually matured in wooden casks. If we talk about varietal wines made from Prokupac, then we can distinguish between young Prokupac characterized by lush fruitiness (mostly aromas and flavours of dark cherry, red currant, blackberry, red berries, with spicy notes and delicate floral note (violet) if not hidden beneath smoky or oaky aromas) and aged Prokupac aged in large oak barrels with plentiful secondary and tertiary aromas.


Recent DNA research has shown that it is not possible to determine parents of Prokupac, which is a sign of this variety’s age and potential. Present day ampelographic collections are void of original grapes which used to be the ancestors of Prokupac. However, scientist were able to determine its descendants. Natural crossing of Prokupac with another white variety resulted in Papazkarasi, the grape variety nowadays found in Thrace (Turkey). Subsequent natural crossings of Papazkarasi with other varieties created Kadarka. This confirms the theory that Kadarka, well-known variety in Hungary, originates from the Balkans, and that it was most probably introduced to Hungary by the Serbian refugees who fled from the Turks during the 16th and 17th century.

 

You can see here an updated list of places in Serbia were #ProkupacDay shall be celebrated on October 14, 2016!