08-12-2014 ~ 1 Comment

Label Grand Karakterre 2014

label-grand

Anyone within reach of Ljubljana, Slovenia or Zagreb, Croatia should set aside time this Friday and Saturday to attend the Label Grand Karakterre fair. This Central & Southeastern European fair of organic/natural wines is in its third year now and this edition marks the first time the fair will be taking place in Ljubljana in addition to the base of Zagreb.

It’s been impressive to watch Mark Kovač and his team grow this fair year by year to the point where 80 wineries are now attending with 250 different wines from 12 different countries. The website has the full list which is too much to put here, but Argentina, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain are all seen in greater (France, Slovenia, Italy) to lesser (Spain…) numbers.

While it’s often the French that get all the credit for boosting the “natural” wine movement (wines made with no technological intervention), it’s important to note that the Central Europeans have been there for the ride as well as many winemakers, emerging from collective Communist winemaking rebelled and returned to the more sane, pure methods 25 years ago.

The fair gives a chance to taste some truly, truly wonderful winemakers from this region that will blow your mind like Batič, Mlečnik, and Piquentum. And it’s important to add that this is one of the rare opportunities to taste some blissfully unique native grapes from the Balkans. Of course for those looking for more “traditional” grapes, there are plenty of equally excellent and legendary French winemakers as well and everyone presenting their wines is small winemaker.

So bundle up, open your mind and prepare to take a wild viticulture ride!