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€

WINES

Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars

Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
93+ 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars

Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
93 2 Stars

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars