MEET MLADEN ROŽANIĆ
The Roxanich winery, as well as the heritage hotel of the same name, are located in the medieval town of Motovun, in the very heart of Istria, Croatia. The philosophy of organic, natural production is the main focus of the Roxanich winery. The biodynamic agriculture and viticulture are actually the only way for winemaker Mladen Rožanić to go, in order to make honest wines.
No winemaker has shaped the natural wine scene like Mladen Rožanić in recentyears. With a maximum of knowledge, he brings wines to bottles with a minimum of intervention.
With a lifetime’s love of great wine, particularly the wines of the Rhône Valley, as well as a passion for the terroir of his native Istria, Mladen Rožanić searched for a long time to find the right terrain on which to plant his vines according to the extensive knowledge he had acquired as he travelled and learned from great winegrowers around the world.
Mladen Rožanić is perhaps best described as the first movie director of wine. He displays his own handwriting - outsider in the wine business - thinking honest but big, and creating equally honest but big wines. He creates spaces for taste-jumps never seen before, delicate and elegant, unified in one single glass of wine. His contemporaries yearn after formal perfection, but he forces no corset upon himself. He remains unsharp and unfinished by intention, as he considers his wines as stages. On those stages he directs plays inspired by his observations of nature and people: from comedies and entertainment, to dramas and big festival cinema, way above such definitions du jour as “natural” or “orange” wines. In Mladen’s wines you discover intensive personal experiences like the happiness of your first kiss, or the sorrow from your last break up. Or better even: Do you remember the taste of your first sushi bite, after growing up on pizza and hamburgers? Mladen’s wines are in constant movement, always dancing into the focal point, they simply alert your attention. A single glass of his masterpieces often catches the whole scene, transforming effortlessly from first to last sip.
Because Mladen paints real life with his wine, obsessed with exploring its soul and its love.
“Other wine makers hide their brush strokes, but I show myself.” - says Mladen. His reality is fluid, as if the world was created at this very moment in front of his own eyes, trickling from his pipettes, unstoppable and inevitable.
Like award winning festival movies lined up to each other, his 20 plus different wine labels and patiently aged vintages extend along his wine cellars. The collection is too plentiful to be experiences at once by a single wine lover. Like watching a movie from the grand era of Panavision, a simple snapshot is not possible: Each of the wines develops an own narrative, and plays a different role.
Mladen’s followers must take time and invest real dedication to travel between the different stages he offers to spectators, a travel for the eyes as well as for the taste buds. Just as he himself takes all the time in the world to develop these creations, stubbornly countering today’s fast, aggressive commercial production outputs. Mladen Rožanić goes the radically opposite path and gives his wines as much time as they need to harmonise on their own.
“Patience is a fantastic cellar technique”, he says. “Because wines need time to find each other.”
He works tirelessly on the completion of his vision of earnest natural wine created with minimal impact by long forgotten, ancient techniques for more than 25 years now.
“I need a new vision for wine making. To achieve that, I need to change the awareness of wine lovers. Why should wine-making always promise the ideal interpretation of reality, and not depict the reality itself? My wines are honest, raw yet delicate as nature itself.“
Only to be calm in the knowledge that - by his own design - it will never be finished. As his 6 daughters, the famous Roxanich Sorelle, are slowly but surely taking over the family legacy and opening a completely new chapter for the future, the same way as it was performed since the 1200’s, when this old Venetian family’s elegant, certainly understated but certainly exiting voyage through the soul and the culture of our times started. In the meantime, Mladen himself can’t stop searching for new ways in wine making:
„I want to awaken wine to life, as nature intended it. I want to understand its meaning, and transfer this cognition to wine lovers. I am returning to the origin, and discover suddenly something new.“