25-11-2013

Radević Estate, a new Montenegrin winery

If you’ve tasted wine from Montenegro, then more than likely you’ve tasted one made by Plantaže winery. This is due to their having some 11 million vines on 2,300ha of land and producing 17 million bottles (essentially 27 per every 1 citizen) each year that get heavily exported. There’s nothing wrong with this as the wines overall are decent table wines, but nothing really stands out and of course they blend quite heavily, making aspects of the locale completely obscure.

So enters the Radević family. Having lived for generations on land along the Zeta river in the village of Rogami, son Goran trained as a physician and headed out in to the world beyond Montenegro’s jagged mountains to work. It’s during this time he met Renee in the Cayman Islands, married and lived for years in the US which was her home country.

As time went on and they added four children to their international family, they made the decision several years ago to move to Montenegro, build a home, plant a vineyard, make wine and spend the rest of their days enjoying Goran’s homeland. Naturally, the beginning wasn’t easy as they had to build a house and were initially living above their early wine cellar. Planting the vineyards required reclaiming the land as Goran’s grandfather was the last person to cultivate vines there.

Little by little and with a lot of patience, they’ve grown their home and their winery endeavor with 2008 marking their first bottled vintage. They now have 7,500 vines on a couple of hectares that allow them to produce about 7,500 bottles of their red wines each year. While they have the French varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, they also have a healthy amount of local star, Vranac. For those unfamiliar, this is a native Montenegrin red grape that does quite well in the region and indeed, the wine they’re making of the Vranac/Cab blend is one of the finer takes on the grape we’ve found–heads and shoulders above what you find coming from Plantaže.

For the future, they plan to start cultivating native white grapes as well as finish up the last bits of the wine cellar. They currently have visits throughout the year to taste their wines and lozovača (grappa) and they also open up their home for stays during the harvest in September and October. Given that they’re less than 10 minutes from the center of Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, it’s an easy stop for any wine lover passing through this functional and/or “charming” capital.

As we insist upon in our wine books, their exact GPS coordinates are here. Their website is here and you can view some videos they’ve produced on their YouTube channel.

Lastly, here are the tasting notes for their first vintage that they were kind enough to send over as samples. Apparently we’re the first people to write up these wines that they’ve only just begun to sell locally in Montenegro.

Syrah 2008
Shows off a dark berry nose with more hazelnut aromas and a touch of current as it decants. The body most prominently has blueberry along with cocoa dust. The acidity is overall low until it comes out in the lingering finish.
100% Syrah
14% 15€

Vranac/Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Boasts buttery aromas of almonds and deep, dark fruits like blackberries. Hints of figs develop with decanting. There are touches of minerality and the body is very rich with root vegetables and earthiness. Acidity is played down a great deal to only come up a little on the finish.
75% Vranac, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon
13.5% 15€