My sister went on a hiking vacation with some friends in Serbia. I know! While not a wine drinker or any alcohol (she is allergic), she still brought me home a bottle of wine. The group went to a wine tasting, and so she bought Gary and me a bottle of Živanović Probus. This was the favorite of the group, so my sister went with their recommendation. She told me it cost the equivalent of $7.00. Not a monetary risk for sure, but she still hoped we’d like it.
It was delicious and perfect for the warm spring day we were having, but it was not at all what I expected. Why?
Probus, The Making of a Grape Variety
In the 1980s and 1990s, then Yugoslavian scientific institutes (today in Serbia) had some of the best agricultural research facilities in Eastern Europe. The goals of these institutions regarding local wine grape varieties were to increase disease, mold, and fungal resistance and increase cold temperature resilience. To do so, local grape varieties were crossbred with Western European grape varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir.
After more than twenty years of work, the results included over 20 new crossbred varieties, but thus far, approximately eight new grape varieties have been embraced by the grape growers and wineries in Serbia.
One of which is Probus, a cross of Kadarka and Cabernet Sauvignon. What I have read about Kardark is that it boasts vibrant, crunchy red fruit like sour cherry, raspberry, and cranberry, with black fruit showing in warmer vintages. But also brooding, highly tannic, age-worthy red wine. So if I were to make an assumption about crossing Kadarka with Cabernet to get Probus, it would be to make the grape more hearty and resilient while not changing the character of the primary style of lighter red wines.
So while I expected a heartier wine assuming some characteristics of the Cabernet Sauvignon, it actually drank more true to its Serbian parent, Kadarka. And for that, I am thrilled.
It was a pale ruby color. It carries red fruit aromas followed by red fruit flavors of strawberry and tart cherry. Ut is medium-minus bodied with soft tannins and round edges. This wine could have had a slight chill and been even more refreshing. But as it was served, it was delicious all the same.
This was fun!