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