Wine of the Month September: TOMCAT PORTUGIZER 2014

Don't be fooled by the name of this grape variety, the variety has nothing to do with Portugal. Thanks to DNA research, we now know that the breed originates from Central Europe and was once widespread throughout the territory of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Portugieser is native to Central European countries: it is also grown in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Today, the largest plantations of Portugieser are located in Austria and Germany (where it is the third most common blue grape variety). 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Portugieser was one of the most widely cultivated blue grapes in the Vojvodina region of Serbia. Today, this variety is only present in the Fruška Gora mountains, where we can find the variety in the offer of some producers: Mačkov Podrum (Tomcat's Cellar), Kiš Winery and Bajilo Winery. 

In the wine world, Portugieser is considered one of the easiest to understand and love blue grape varieties, even though it was not held in high esteem by wine experts for decades. It does not abound in acids, but in a good growing area it has a good structure, light body, lightness in appearance and tannin content. Resistant to diseases, not too demanding, vigorous, relatively easy and inexpensive to grow. In addition to Fruška Gora in Serbia, Villány in Hungary and Plešivica in Croatia are wine regions where local winemakers make great efforts to get the most out of this variety. Strict yield restrictions in the grapes, old capitals, in many cases carbonated maceration, and even some aging in barrels fit into the life of the variety. With these methods, some winemakers managed to make Portuguese wine richer, fruitier and above average. Portuguese wine should always be consumed young, traditionally in Serbia "svatovac" ("svatovi" = wedding party), it is consumed in autumn when the season of weddings and feasts begins.


In the southern region, the Mačkov Podrum (Tomcat's Cellar) winery from the town of Irig (Fruška Gora, Srem wine region) contributed the most to the revival of Portuguese wine and its growing popularity. The dedicated work carried out in the vineyard located at an altitude of 250 meters above sea level and the high-quality grapes provided the basis for the Portugizer 2014 - Mačkov Podrum wine. Its appearance is light, almost transparent ruby, with a garnet-like edge. Its aroma is intense and fruity, characterized by complex aromas of raspberry, blackberry and blackcurrant. When tasting the wine, it is also very fruity, its medium acidity helps to develop a structure full of freshness. Its tannin content is very low. Its taste is mainly dominated by currants and blackberries. Medium-bodied wine, its alcohol content is on the light side, 11,5%. This makes for a distinctly lovable yet substantial wine.

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Photos: Tomcat's Family

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