It was time to pick grapes on Brač Island! Berries hovered over the vines and many pickers at the vineyard worked diligently. Therefore, the Senjković wine cellar workers were ready to accept the crop. They turned grapes into tasty champagne, red and white wine, or prosecco drops.
Returning from the vineyard to the Dračevica in Brač, I started to explore the village. After a few steps, I heard the voices. I saw some men in the narrow street who transported grapes from the truck to the cellar. Although I didn’t know who they were, I entered a spacious courtyard located between the houses, and impatiently waited to start talking with them. Certainly, I liked similar places! They stirred the past and present times, traditions, customs, and habits of the local people.
A pleasant surprise! The hosts invited me to sit and taste the original homemade wine and food. Refined flavors alternated in nine courses of wine, champagne, and Dalmatian prosecco. Fifteen sequences of various delicacies were prepared from the highest quality island ingredients, and served in the most modern ways. It was a gastronomic feast created by Magdalena Senjković.
A layer of pate with a full, intense aroma in which the taste of liver parfait prevailed, dark chocolate, and bitter orange on toasted brioche was so delicious. “The island’s ingredients, tradition, and my living atmosphere are the base for all my prepared dishes. I also use modern techniques, and that gives the food a refined and sensual taste”- explained Magdalena, who led me little by little to the new Brač experiences. Her husband Saša Senjković, an excellent wine connoisseur and producer, joined us in our conversations, pouring wine in my glass. So I tried the best food and wine drops at this hospitable island’s family.
Along with liver parfait, Saša served me Pošip – Tristeca, vintage 2018. The wine was macerated for six hours during production and aged for a year in Bosnian oak.
“Wine with butter and peach notes aged in wood has a more decadent taste and a powerful character, and deeper taste. It goes better with more robust food” – said young Senjković. This unique wine has dedicated to his father, who has inherited his ancestors‘ huge wine culture.
I looked around the yard. It was partially covered with eaves overgrown with greenery. There were only a few tables with twelve seats reserved for the guests eager to taste good food and wine. I was thinking about Senjković family members who have been working hard for four generations, their work, and customs, but Saša’s voice moved me to reality.
“This is Spoža, vintage 2019, our best Rose made from Plavac mali, a very aromatic, aperitif wine. Aroma sets of light summer flavors of fruit, strawberry, and watermelon give it a sweet taste that goes the best with white fish, shrimp, and fruit. At the same time, Spoža, vintage 2018, characteristically loves more decadent foods.”
Magdalena served the fragrant food that went best with it. “Now you’re going to try the shrimp elements and turnip crude. The cappuccino made from shrimp shells is in the cup. On the plate are tails stuffed with mousse from the head and pliers. Crude, in its mild and delicate texture combined with bread toasted with pink pepper, prefers young wine from 2019. Cappuccino and tails go best with wine, vintage 2018.”
In such a pleasant atmosphere, Saša recalled his childhood and youth time. “I didn’t work in the vineyard, I ran more in the field and climbed the nearby olive branches. My family members worked hard all day arranging vineyard and picking grapes,” he said with a laugh. “But now as an adult, I know that staying and playing in the vineyard has determined me. Thanks to that, today I am what I am, a lover of viticulture and winemaking” – says Saša, briefly returning to his memories.
I watched him assess how deep he stepped at that time. I didn’t want to interrupt his memories. It was an excellent way to quench my curiosity. I wanted to introduce as much as possible to local people’s customs and traditions.
But Saša didn’t give to become confused! He started to present other pride – “This is red wine Bročka rič, vintage 2018, made of a mixture of Plavac mali, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine in its taste is powerful and elegant with fruit and summer flower aromas”. Saša served this wine with gnocchi prepared with sheep cheese and lamb.
“I inherited a passion for work from my father and great-grandparents, and the least my family and I can do to work hard and achieve our goals. We built a new winery and have renewed the plantations, knowing in advance what kind of wine we will make. We want to meet certain expectations of our guests. Their months-long pre-orders and desire to taste our wines are a confirmation of our good work and efforts. Honor, but also a big responsibility! In gratitude to my great-grandfather, we made Bosso, savory red wine, with a strong and musculin aroma of paper and tobacco. This wine goes well with Brač lamb and steaks.”
Dita is an intense and structured, full-bodied red wine. Senjković produced this sort of wine only in their most fertile years. Only twice in the last ten years, in 2012 and 2016. It was an honor! I tried the best wine whose collection consists of only 2000 bottles. The wine is kept for three years in French oak and almost the same number of years in bottles. The combination of Plavac mali, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon is wine nectar that is hard to find and repeat! It went so well with soft pieces of lamb stabbed and roasted on the spice, with potatoes fried into lamb fat. I was eating a lamb with my hands, like the locals. It was profound my connections with the island and its people.
After a series of milder and more salty dishes, Magdalena successfully surprised me with sweet delicacies. Creamy “princesses” were carefully served under a glass bell to keep all sweet flavors.
However, pear-shaped white chocolate was the queen of this gastro evening. In my opinion, it was a Magdalena gastro masterpiece. The chopped pear pieces, flambéed in pear and lemon juice, with almond praline, were shaped into a pear and topped in white chocolate. The soft texture, tenderness, and aroma can delight even the pickiest gourmet, additionally stimulated by the sweet drops of homemade Senjković prosecco.