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McC Wines Win Decanter Awards Medal For Our Traminac

We are absolutely thrilled to win another medal from The Decanter World Wine Awards!

This time it is a Bronze for the Traminac 2013. We are especially thrilled with this award as this is a white grape that people often don't know much about and therefore dismiss- so by receiving 86 points from the Decanter 2016 judges for a lesser known variety of organic and biodynamically made Serbian wine, it really does feel like an underdog triumph for us!

The Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) is the world’s largest and most prestigious wine competition judged by top wine experts from around the world. The DWWA is respected internationally as an unrivalled source of wine recommendations.

We'll be stickering up the bottles as soon as we can and adding it to our growing trophy cabinet of #award-winning #organic and #biodynamic #Serbian wines!

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McCullochWines and The Prince of Wales

In March I was kindly invited to meet the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on their visit to Belgrade, Serbia.

Along with various figures of Serbian society (from Government, Art, Sports and Media etc) I was asked at this reception hosted at the Serbian Parliament, to represent our British-Serbian wine.

Here I am telling the Prince how it was in fact the days of working with him on the Duchy of Cornwall farms (in my previous career) that I became aware of Biodynamic farming and subsequently inspired my interests into making wine the way I do.

Funny how things go full circle sometimes!

 

 

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VINO.RS Magazine - Prestigious Wine Publication (February 2016)

While only official from next spring, the occasional vineyard in Serbia does carry Organic Certification. We already have several wineries that work on all the requirements of organic production. Some with international varieties, while others boldly blending indigenous and newly discovered variants. But without much doubt, a consensus has been reached that these (McC Wines) are currently the best Serbian wines in this segment.

Go to the full article here >

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Tasting Notes: Vino & Fino, prestigious natural wine magazine.

McC Traminac 2012

Has a mature scent, with distinctive varieties, and a nice but tame floral fragrance.

Behind this it has a solid base of fruit flavor; in the mouth both moderately full and juicy,  with enough freshness to carry the very long end game of a floral and fruity finish.

McC Coupage 2012

Concentrated, layered and powerful wine.
An explosion of fruit- plenty of blueberries, blackberries and jam notes, with very well blended aromas of smoke, chocolate and vanilla. Tannins of a juicy velvet language, giving lots of body and long aroma berry jams on the palate.

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Taste from Russia

A lovely blog with great tasting notes about McCulloch Wine Merlot-Malbec 2012. Thank you Perica S. Radović, glad you enjoyed!

For full article click here > 
http://merlo.rs/mcculloch-wines-mcc-merlot-malbec-2012/


Tasting notes translated to English >
This wine is produced in a limited edition of 975 bottles.
The color is beautiful, deep, almost purple. 
After an hour in the decanter, the nose, at first, surprising. A strange smell that, though, quickly passes, leaving behind quite a pleasant trace of ripe, sweet, crushed blackberries. Dense, powerful and unmolested smell.
Alcohol is not too noticeable. Although very strong (15%), great hidden.
Taste intense, fruity. Very friendly. Dominated by aromas of small red fruits.
Tannins somewhat contentious, good acid. Balance slightly compromised in favor of tannin.
And the subsequent intense taste, strong. Chocolate and fruity, with a touch of coffee. It takes a long time, leaves an impression of fullness in the mouth. At the very fringes, brings something spicy aromas.
Alcohol noticeable in the mouth and stomach, rather than on the nose.
I really like this wine. Unconventional, character. Sharp and smooth, seductive. Attracts attention.
Somewhat surprising style of red wine of Fruska Gora.
Are the glass behind it remains a very "dirty", but it's worth. 
Excellent."
Perica S. Radović

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2015 Harvest Complete

With the Cabernet Franc grapes only just picked that's the 2015 McCulloch Wines harvest finally complete! Lets hope it tastes as good as it looks!

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2015 Harvest

It's that exciting, busy and testing time! We're enjoying the 2015 harvest. Wine picking by hand! McCulloch Wines of Serbia.

 

 

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Newsweek: A 4-page photo spread on McC McCulloch Wines director - Don McCulloch

Scotsman Don McCulloch was personal security to the British Royal family for 15 years, then a member of the anti-terrorist unit of Scotland Yard . After retirement he came to Fruska Gora and began to make wine! And it's very good!

In Serbia, when someone discovers how a life here may have some good points it inspires faith and others to persevere. Even when that someone came from the West, from the fertile EU to the Serbian unknown. Don was born in 1956 in London. Much of his professional career spent as personal security to the British royal family , and then as a detective in the special unit of Scotland Yard for counter-terrorism . After 30 years of this work, the achievement of his long-standing dream to peacefully grow grapes and make wine eventually came. And of all the wine-growing areas of the world, he chose - Fruska Gora!

McCulloch bought a house in Erdevik, on the slopes of Fruska Gora and began to plant vineyards. Why there? – “For me it was an easy choice because my wife was born in Novi Sad. Also I am familiar with the wine tradition of the region, especially of Fruska Gora and the history of winemaking that goes back to the Roman Emperor Probus. For that alone was enough. The Romans never sinned in the selection field for the cultivation of vines” – says McCulloch, who thus became the first winemaker from the UK in Serbia.

Tall, neatly combed black hair, elegantly dressed in a tweed jacket, he says that he met so many nice people here. His wine with McC, is the first fully organic biodynamic Serbian wine on the market and has already won several major awards. 

McC Wines produces about 15,000 bottles of wine a year, and some exported to the UK immediately. 

The portfolio consists of six labels - red McC Coupage, McC Merlot - Malbec, Cabernet Franc McC - Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir McC and white Traminer and McC Rhine Riesling. Red wine McC Coupage 2012 was a gold medalist in 2014 at our most prestigious Grand evaluation test Vino.rs, made rom Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, matured 12 months in oak barrels of Serbian and then another 14 months in bottles. It is obtained exclusively from grapes grown on the biodynamic vineyard, without the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides or herbicides.

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McCulloch Wine Represents Serbia At The 'United Nations'

We our so pleased that our McC McCulloch Wine was asked to represent Serbia at the 'United Nations' headquarters last month as part of the "Wine & Civilizations Tasting Extravaganza", organised by the foundation "American Friends of Cité des civilisations du vin"

'The Cité des civilisations du vin' is a cultural centre dedicated to wine which will open its doors in the spring of 2016 in Bordeaux. This ambitious project, driven by the City of Bordeaux and its mayor and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé, will consist of a 14000 square metres area where the public (500 000 per year expected) will discover the diversity and the richness of wine culture and civilisations throughout the world.

About 500 wine lovers, VIP guests as well as the Ambassadors to the UN, participated in this exclusive event where wines from 60 different producing countries were featured.

See Serbian Press >>

 

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Grapevine: There’s some serious Serbian wines to be found off Finchley Road

Latest press Mcculloch Wines Featured in Ham & High.

A Hampstead couple bought a prime vineyard and produce McC Wines from their prime vineyard, finds Liz Sagues.

Who’d imagine that an unassuming doorway just off Finchley Road, Hampstead, would open on to an initiative of modern and environmentally-responsible winemaking in a part of Europe where grapes have been fermented for pleasure since Roman times.

There, on the ground floor, is the sales office of McC Wines, an innovative project to make fine wines in Serbia. Two floors above is the clinic of bio-energy practitioner Seka Nikovic. The link is that Seka and her husband Don McCulloch – McC of the company name – are the people who acquired the land, planted the vines and are now reaping awards for their efforts.

Seka hails from Serbia, but has lived and worked in Hampstead for close on 30 years, using her natural skill to heal physical and emotional problems. Former policeman Don spent 18 years in the special force protecting the royal family and a further four in Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist squad. Both love wine, and when Don’s retirement was imminent Seka pushed him towards actively developing his long-standing enthusiasm. McC Wines is the result.

In 2007 the couple bought (from 40 separate owners, a logistic nightmare) an area of prime vineyard land ideally sited atop a hill in the Fruska Gora region of Serbia, 90 minutes’ drive from Seka’s home town of Novi Sad. Vines had been grown there at least since 294 AD when the nearest town, Sirmium (modern-day Sremska Mitrovica), became one of the four capitals of the Roman empire, but in the 20th-century post-communist upheaval cornfields replaced the vines.

Don and Seka undertook a careful programme of clearing and planting – principally international red varieties merlot, cabernets sauvignon and franc, plus, a first for Serbia, malbec; for the whites they chose traminer, riesling and sauvignon blanc. There’s some pinot noir, too, with hopes of burgundian-style results in time.

The resulting wines, even though the vines are so young, are already excellent, with even better potential. Flagship is Coupage, a smooth bordeaux blend with fine red fruit character and a lightly savoury edge. The first vintage – 2011 – took a bronze medal in last year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, and there have been Serbian gongs too.

Among the whites, there’s a seriously age-worthy riesling and a very appealing traminer, aromatic, full of character yet elegant and delicate.

A huge amount of work is put in to create wines which are as natural and non-interventionist as possible, Seka emphasises. Alongside biodynamic practices in the vineyard (following the lunar cycle, using homeopathic-style natural preparations to boost the vines’ growth and resistance to disease and pests) the winery works as sustainably as possible.

But that hasn’t stopped Don developing a machine to blast ozone at the vines to stop wet-weather fungus destroying ripening grapes: a modern take on a natural solution to a natural problem.

The current wines are far from the end of the story. A sweet wine is likely soon, and further ahead could be one from a rare indigenous variety. “You don’t realise what you’re letting yourself in for,” says Seka – although she’s still smiling.

McC Wines are available through mccullochwines.com (mixed case of six £82, six Coupage £120, plus delivery) or from Bottle Apostle, Crouch End.

See article at High & Ham here >>

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Another Award from Decanter!

We are very pleased to announce that the Decanter World Wine Awards 2015 have just ‘Commended’ our MERLOT-MALBEC 2012

The prestigious ‘Decanter World Wine Awards’ are judged by the world’s leading wine professionals and so it is such an honour to get this recognition from them.

We can’t wait to get the bottle stickered up with the ‘Decanter Award’ label.

This award joins our ‘Wall of Fame’ with the earlier Medals that our Coupage 2011 and Coupage 2012 won throughout 2014.

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StoryCafe Magazine April 2015: Serbian Wine Adventures by a British Bodyguard!

Livening up the local wine scene recently is quite an unusual participant, Don Makalok (Don McCulloch) who once worked for the British Royal family came to Fruska Gora, Serbia, after his retirement to make organic wine!

For connoisseurs of local wine, the biggest surprise of the last "Big Vino.rs test", where most foreign experts assess the quality of Serbian wines, were the gold and silver medals won by a red wine Coupage, from the Fruska Gora mountains whose owner was this Scottish man with his "McC Wines".

It is Makalok Don (Don McCulloch), that is not only the first winemaker from Great Britain who started making wine in Serbia, but this man can also say that he has made the first fully organic and biodynamic wines in Serbia and thus opens a new chapter in a future history of the local wines. And to make things extra interesting, before he became a winemaker in Serbia, Makalok spent most of his professional career as personal security to the British Royal family, and then as a detective in the special unit of Scotland Yard for counter-terrorism.

After 30 years of a stressful career, he welcomed the benefits and the achievement of a long-standing dream to peacefully grow grapes and make wine. And out of all the wine-growing regions of the world, he chose - Fruska Gora!

Why Serbia and why Fruska Gora?
For me it was an easy choice because my wife was born in Novi Sad. Also, I am familiar with the wine tradition of the region, particularly Fruska Gora and their history of winemaking that goes back to the Roman Emperor Probus. For me, that fact alone was good enough, since the Romans had never bad choices in  their choice of terrains and their cultivation of wine.

"I believe in using specific methods in the production process, which include experiences from three major world wine regions - Bordeaux, Ribera del Duero and New Zealand. These methods are significantly different from how wine is produced in Serbia " says Makalok.

You bought a house in Erdevik
I immediately fell in love with the village and the surrounding landscape. I learned that there existed a large winery, at that time closed, but it suggested to me that there must be people with experience in winemaking around there.

What was your previous experience of making wine?
All my previous experience until 2011, when we had the first ever harvest here, was what I got from New Zealand. My good friend of the which is the largest local wine producer there, with 65 million litres produced per year. There I learnt the technologies of making wine, especially in biodynamic production from several local winemakers.

What you Englishmen usually ask when you say you're making wine in Serbia?
Most of them out there thinks I'm crazy as I ever embarked on this adventure! Why would someone from England, which do not speak Serbian, went to make wine outside the European Union? Indeed, obstacles, legal and all other, were numerous. But as soon as he tasted the wine, they became clearer. In a world more and more people who are looking for some unknown wine them and I was particularly pleased to be able to meet them with Serbian wines.

What do Englishmen usually think when you say you're making wine in Serbia?
Most of them think I'm crazy as I ever for embarking on this adventure! Why would someone from England, who does not speak Serbian, want to make wine outside the European Union? Indeed, obstacles, legal and all other, are numerous. But as soon as they taste the wine, they become clearer. In this world more and more people are looking for some unknown wine and so I am particularly pleased to be able to introduce them to Serbian wines.

What are your future plans?
It's still early, the winery practically only started in 2011, but due to the fact that our wines were warmly welcomed from the start and we've already won three important awards, we have a big incentive to continue. In fact, I'm still at the stage of improving the production process, and the final goal is to spread the wine as far as possible so more people will enjoy them.

What Serbian wine do you like?
Honestly, I enjoy most of them. They have authentic character and an enviable quality that has not been sufficiently recognized in the wine world. I especially enjoy the gorgeous aromas and tastes of Triumph Gold winery "Alexandrovich", it is wonderfully made wine. But, honestly, in Serbia there are many excellent wine producers, so it is difficult to single out just one.

What are the favorite wines of the Royal family?
It is difficult to say, because the Royal cellar is so diverse. I think they have more than 1,000 different wines! Many of the wines they drink are from Australia and New Zealand for obvious reasons, and of course French wine and German wines too.

Do they show a special interest in wine?
For the royal family wine is an integral part of the meal and served with every meal, so that everyone can drink. But not the way we do, say, we were to drink one whole bottle of wine together. Wine is simply something that is served with dishes like salt and pepper on the table.

McC Golden red blend Coupage 
"McC Wines" produces about 15,000 bottles of wine per year, and all exported to the UK. The portfolio consists of six labels - red McC Coupage, McC Merlot Malbec, Cabernet Franc McC-Caber- net Sauvignon and Pinot Noir McC and white McC Gewurztraminer and Riesling Riesling McC.

Red wine McC Coupage 2012, gold medal winner at the "big test Vino.rs 2014", made from Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, matured for 12 months in oak barrels of Serbian and then another 14 months in bottles.

It is obtained exclusively from grapes grown from a biodynamic vineyard, without the use of fertilisers, pesticides, insecticides or herbicides.

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Latest Vino.rs Magazine Interview with Don McCulloch

After awarding McC Wines with a Gold and Silver last year, Vino.rs Magazine wanted to know more, naturally, about McC McCulloch Wines

Don Mek Kaloh (Don McCulloch): Serbian organic wines with a Scottish signature

If not the greatest, then certainly the most pleasant surprise of the Great test Vino.rs 2014 Awards were Gold and Silver medals for two new wines from FRUŠKO GORSKA winery McC , whose owner – Scotch!  It is Don Mek Kaloh ( Don McCulloch ) , " Serbian -law " that not only the first winemaker from the UK who started making wine in Serbia , but the man can be said to have done the first fully organic biodynamic wine in Serbia , and thus opened a new chapter in a future history of the local wine production.

McCulloch was born in 1956 in London, and before he became a winemaker in Serbia most of his professional career was spent as personal security to the British Royal family and then as a detective in the special unit of Scotland Yard for Counter-Terrorism.  After 30 years of stressful service, he achieved his of long-standing dream to peacefully grow grapes and make wine. From of all the wine-growing areas of the world, he chose a big mountain to climb! 

Why in Serbia and why Fruska Gora? - For me it was an easy choice because my wife was born in Novi Sad. Also, I am familiar with the wine tradition of the region , especially Fruska Gora and the history there of winemaking that goes back to the Roman Emperor, Probus. For me, this was sufficient, since the Romans had never made mistake when it comes to a choice of terrain for growing grapes.

You bought a house in Erdevik ... - After the first visit to Erdevik, I immediately fell in love with the village and the surrounding landscape. I noticed that Erdevik has a large winery, at although that time it was closed, it suggested that it was a substantial wine area and so around it, it certainly has people with experience in winemaking .  

What was your previous experience with making wine? - All my previous experience until 2011, when we had the first harvest here, was taken from learning in New Zealand in the Marlborough region, well-known for its wine production. I was also lucky that my good friend there was also the largest producer of NZ’s wine , producing 65 million litres per year! This experience was useful with the technological side, and gave me the opportunity to get to know the methods of biodynamic production of several local producers there, where I experienced all aspects of this production during the three completed harvests.

Who helps with your wines and how is it influenced? - I'm truly involved in all stages of production, right from harvest to bottling. Of course, I have oenologist and the people with whom I work in the winery . I have special methods of production , which include experiences from three global wine regions - Bordeaux , Ribera del Duero and New Zealand. These methods are essentially different from how the wine is produced in Serbia. 

Coupage red blend
McC Wines produces about 15,000 bottles of wine per year . The portfolio consists of six labels – in reds McC Coupage , McC Merlot - Malbec , McC Cabernet Franc - Cabernet Sauvignon and McC Pinot Noir and in whites McC Gewurztraminer and McC Riesling Rhine . The Red wine McC Coupage 2012 won Gold at the Great test Vino.rs 2014 Awards, which made rom Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon , matured for 12 months in Serbian oak barrels of and then another 14 months in bottles. McC Coupage 2012 received a Silver in 2014 and a Bronze medal at Decanter,the World's Most Admired wine competition. 

Other grape varieties from which the McC label are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir , Riesling , Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc. It is obtained exclusively from grapes grown the biodynamic vineyard , without the use of artificial fertilisers , pesticides , insecticides or herbicides.

How complicated was it to start your vineyard in Serbia? - It was difficult at first, because the vineyard land was divided into a multitude of different pitches owners , some of whom do not live in Serbia .  

What do most Englishmen ask when you say you're making wine in Serbia and and what do they think about the wines? - Most people in the UK thought I was crazy to even embark on the adventure of wine production in Serbia! Why would someone from England, who at the same time does not speak Serbian want to make wine outside the European Union? Indeed, there are obstacles , legal and all other , numerous problems . But as soon as people taste the wines they see why I wanted to do this. More and more people are looking for an interesting wine these days and I’m particularly pleased to be able to introduce them to Serbian wines. At the same time, some of the leading experts such as Jamie Goode , Julia Harding , who is a Master of Wine , or Monty Waldin , expert in biodynamic wine , gave excellent reviews of my wines , to which I am very proud.

In which markets are your wines so far? - All the wines are exported to the UK and also the Serbian market is absolutely my focus. I sent samples to New Zealand for evaluation, where the wines are also well received, and there are several requests from many the European countries, but in small quantities, so slowly growing.

What are your future plans? - It's still early, the winery practically only started since 2011. Although, given the fact that our wine was immediately warmly welcomed and that we have already won three important awards , makes it feel like we’ve already been in the business long. In essence , I'm still at the stage of improving the production process , and the final goal is to get the wine enjoyed by as many people as possible.

What Serbian wines do you particularly like? - Honestly, I enjoy so many. They have authentic character and an enviable quality that has not been sufficiently recognized in the wine world. I especially enjoy the gorgeous aromas and taste of Triumph Gold winery Alexandrovich, which I think are all wonderfully-made ines . Also I enjoy the wines the winery Vinum, Belo Brdo , Temet and Jelic . But, truly, in Serbia there are many excellent wine producers , so it is difficult to decide on a favourite.  

And in general what are your favourite wines? - It's hard to single out a favourite wine because I see a lot of good points in many different types of wines, varieties , production methods etc. Especially since I started to produce wine, and now understand the difficulties in the production first hand. However, I really do enjoy some of the superb Sauvignon Blanc wines from the Marlborough region in New Zealand , particularly from the winery TWR.

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McCulloch Wine: A Documentary

Mira Adanja-Polak- internationally recognised freelance journalist and presenter, researcher, activist and author, was keen to know more about the Englishman making Serbia’s award-winning wine, so she made a 30 minute documentary!

See edited English-Speaking version here, showing how it all began. Along with the high and lows of Biodynamic wine-making.

Mira Adanja-Polak is an independent producer in Belgrade, Serbia – where she is seen on her own exclusive weekly Talk Show which air’s `live’ on national television.
www.adanja-polak.com/en/homepage/

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Jamie Goode's Wine Blog Features McC Coupage

McCulloch Wines is the venture of Englishman Don McCulloch and his Serbian-born wife Seka Nikolic. McCulloch was previously a special protection police officer for the Royal Family (he retired after completing 30 years’ service in 2009), while Nikolic has a natural-health practice in Hampstead, London (she describes herself as a ‘bio-health practitioner with exceptional healing powers’). They decided to plant 3.5 hectares, purchased in small parcels, in the Fruška Gora region, which is just north of Belgrade. This region has a history of winegrowing dating back to 296 AD. These vines are tended biodynamically and this 2011 Coupage is the debut vintage of the flagship McC wine.

It’s a Bordeaux-style blend made from two separate co-ferments of Merlot and Malbec, and Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that’s aged in Serbian oak barriques for 12 months. I was really impressed. Other wines are made, too: in addition to the Bordeaux red varieties, McCulloch has also planted Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

Coupage is available for sale directly from the website for £20 a bottle. It’s very encouraging to see such an interesting wine emerge from Serbia, a country that has lots of viticultural potential.

McC Vino Coupage 2011 Serbia
13.5% alcohol. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s a leathery, herby, spicy edge to the berry fruits nose, with some savoury cedar notes. The palate is spicy and grippy with a leathery character under the sweet cherry and berry fruits, as well as a fine spiciness. Lovely balance and texture here, combining sweet fruit and savoury spiciness really well. Subtle reductive notes but also lovely fruit. 90/100

Read the full blog here 

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