The origins of Ilok’s viticulture and winemaking tradition date back to the Roman emperor Probus, who, reportedly, imported quality varieties of grapes from Greece. Already back then, winemakers realized that the region’s quality soil and the large number of sunny days during the year facilitate the production of high-quality wines. The tradition of wine production was continued by Nicholas of Ilok, who built a wine cellar underneath his manor.
The Odescalchi family further contributed to the upgrade of Ilok’s grape-growing and winemaking practices by continually expanding both the vineyards and Nicholas of Ilok’s old cellar, which is a special, must-see attraction. You’ll be amazed by its architecture from the 15th and 18th centuries, its barrels made of the famous Slavonian oak wood and huge amounts of various prized wines grown in and around Ilok.
Of course, Ilok’s famous Traminac − a wine of a uniquely floral, aromatic and exotic flavor − holds a special place amongst the rest of the wines. Wine connoisseurs and wine lovers say that, after as little as a single tasting, you won’t ever forget the sumptuous, indulgent and highly specific flavor of this special wine of an unusual and intoxicating aroma, which makes Traminac one of the world’s rarest and most special wines. Late harvest Traminac is even more special − it’s a true rhapsody of richness of taste and priceless royal experience!
The fact that Traminac has been regularly served at the residence of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, and this for decades, speaks volumes about how particularly prized this wine is. Moreover, for her 1953 coronation ceremony, 11,000 bottles of high quality, archive Traminac were ordered. Whilst celebrating her 90th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II reportedly said that one of the things that she owed her longevity to was, amongst other things, a glass of Traminac every day at lunch. The UK’s Royal Court has almost regularly been ordering archive Traminac, and so guests attending the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton also enjoyed this royal Traminac.
Many other notables and wine lovers have also been opting for Ilok’s irresistible Traminac to mark special occasions. Of course, besides Traminac, Ilok also boasts other widely known varieties of wine, such as Graševina, Pinot Gris, Rhine Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Frankovka and other well-matched blends of different wines. Adjacent to Ilok’s old wine cellar, there are a tasting room and a beautifully designed and decorated restaurant that serves great local specialties, including the famous Slavonian Kulen sausage protected as an original Croatian product on the EU market. In the Stari Podrum restaurant of Iločki Podrumi, make sure you also try freshwater fish, such as catfish, carp, pike, perch and other fresh fish caught in the Danube and its many tributaries near Ilok. You should also try the famous traditional freshwater fish stew called fiš paprikaš, which is a real treat even for the most discerning of palates. You’ll also surely enjoy the region’s traditional meat specialties, with Ilok’s different types of excellent wines complementing them beautifully − a complete and unforgettable dining experience.
To make your experience even more enjoyable and perfect, after lunch take a walk from Ilok’s Upper Town to its Lower Town. While strolling along a magnificent walkway lined with plane trees, you’ll surely enjoy the stunning view of the Upper Town stretching before you, its historic walls, the Church and Monastery of St. John Capistran, and the Odescalchi Manor. Should you decide to stroll along the Danube, Ilok boasts a romantic riverside promenade, where you’ll get to enjoy this beautiful river and its stunning greenery. Johann Strauss II and his waltzes may spring to mind as he too couldn’t resist the magic and beauty of Europe’s famous river. The Danube has been connecting and bringing so many peoples together throughout its history.
The sunset on the Danube is particularly impressive.
Author: https://www.ilok.hr/ / Slobodan Bukvić, Croatia Airlines, “Croatia”, zima 2019/20
Photography: Ivan Ripić