Stari Hrast Stevanovic Wine Cellar Rakia House Kragujevac

Stari Hrast Stevanovic Wine Cellar Rakia House Kragujevac

Oak is holy tree of ancient Serbs, who venerated it as the holy tree and usually used to gather around it to listen wise speeches of their spiritual leaders, priests, mags, druids… who presented to people enlightened knowledge and consciousness of several hundreds thousands of years. This habit and belief of the ancient Serbs is pretty well preserved from the times after the Christianity was adopted. Today the oak tree has huge respect in the Serb population, as it is the part of their spiritual lives, the source of peace and calmness, and makes condition for life and creative work.

Greeks consider oak as the Zeus tree, Romans as the Jupiter tree, Germans have it as the Thor’s Oak or the Donar’s tree, Scandinavians as the Tor’s tree, while in the Slavic tradition it is the Perun tree, undoubtedly for it receives thunders and rain, making magnificence. The oak tree was in many ethnicities the habitat of deities, and place where the fairies used to gather. Legend has it that the oak features a soul, or someone’s soul lives in it. Those beliefs are transferred from ancestors to the offspring. By its long-standing or renewable greenery the oak represents life, its top is sky, and root is the underground world. We believe that the oak root connects us with our ancestors, and we carve the cross on the tree trunk and kiss it, while branches and green parts of the oak tree belong to God and the future generations.

The Stari hrast Cellar /Old Oak/ in Žirovnica village in Šumadija, 20 km northeast of Kragujevac marks its start in 2008. It was time of dedicated idea for creation of new “Wine Serbia”, when appeared some of present great names in wine production of Serbia. Strong vision was and remains until the present to run a family winery with own vineyards and capacities easily operated by family members, with involvement of the leading experts in the fields of wine and rakija production. This wine cellar and distillery of Stevanovic Family – the Stari hrast is named after 200 years old oak tree which is set in the vast vineyards, and remembered by the oldest inhabitants of this beautiful area of Serbia.

Diligent and persistent owners – the Stevanovic family members assigned their oak tree the role of the family productive and creative sanctity wishing to regain its divine, new and ever-lasting juvenility and youth. The old oak tree provided the name to the cellar in Zirovnica village and became the central entity, guardian of vineyards and orchards of the Stari hrast cellar, observing and taking care of each plant on the vast estate, with grape varieties of Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot i Cabernet Sauvignon. Ever since the old and noble oak got this status, simply everything in the Stari hrast company turned into different, and better, mystic forms, also strongly connected by root veins that deeply got into the soil, and came along with the terroir of Zirovnica village and the Sumadija area as well.

Under protection of the old oak tree of the Stari hrast Cellar, in years there were created and produced larger quantities of high quality wines, up to 30000 liters of yearly production coming from 10 hectares of vineyards, and excellent rakijas – brandies that come from 15 hectares of orchards. Here at the Stari hrast cellar are produced high quality wines of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Roze, Cabernet Merlot, Sauvignon Stari hrast and Merlot. Rakijas /brandies/ and wines of the Stari hrast Cellar in Žirovnica village are produced with lots of attention and love, and in time they attract more lovers of wine and spirits and gain the prestigious role of the symbols of Sumadija area!

Dligent owners of the Stari hrast Cellar in Kragujevac are especially proud to have all their products made exclusively and only from their own vineyards and orchards, from hand-picked grapes and fruits, with special attention paid to harvesting and vintage of fruits and grapes in its best optimal biological maturity.  Fruit and grape processing coming from the plateau above the Žirovnica village, opened to the wind rose from surrounding hills, is performed in own production units of the cellar. Within the Stari hrast cellar there is a comfortable tasting room accommodating some 50 visitors.

In Sumadija area there is a special relationship with rakija /brandy/ as it is the identity and sign of a host…. Diligent and dedicated owners of the Stari hrast Cellar and Distillery in Žirovnica village testify: “we dig the hole and put there the most precious things, as are bones of our ancestors lying deep in the ground. From the soil comes everything which feeds us and makes us humans. As a buried treasure we put a barrel with rakija deep in the hole, keeping it for some special occasion, more special than any other! The most valuable rakija is the one prepared by a host himself, and let to rest, and fill the bottles after, in order to present it to the whole world“. Rakijas /brandies/ of the Stari hrast Cellar in Žirovnica village near Kragujevac are exclusively made of fruits, that is as sweet and liquid as needed, and inspiring as much as possible…

When we in Serbia say rakija – we mean the plum brandy – sljivovica ! Also all who are the most obstinate, and the most attentive and the most dedicated to enjoyment in fruit distillate always think of the plum brandy. Here at the Stari hrast Cellar in Žirovnica the best plums age and mature, of which the highest quality of plum brandy – sljivovica is prepared, as the unique harmony or mother’s tenderness and father’s safety. The Šljivovica – plum brandy of the Stari hrast Cellar features dark golden to amber color, when smelled it is complex, with a note of excellent matured cognac, with distinctive aroma of vanilla and caramel, and traces of black chocolate, that in taste culminates and combined with fresh or dried plums provide unforgettable flavor. The Šljivovica – plum brandy of the Stari hrast Cellar best goes with the red meats, beef cooked under the pot, as well as with smoked pork and beef, but is also excellent as an aperitif.

In the past the William brandy – Rakija Viljamovka was prepared from wild pears, and was the wild rakija from wild fruits. However, the man developed by domestication, first by taming the nature, and later by subduing himself. The William brandy – Viljamovka rakija of the Stari hrast Cellar is produced from the softest, most beautiful and best cultivated pears of Sumadija region. The Viljamovka rakija is crystal clear, transparent, and amazingly aromatic in its richness, from wild and strong to moderate and harmonious and relaxing flavors. The surprise comes in the mouth, when the William brandy is melt with various flavors from sweet, to distinctively fresh, and ideally composed. The Viljamovka rakija – the William brandy best goes with white meats, complex flavors of various sauces, but also as a aperitif.

Apricot is magic fruit, so this planet would be much different without it. Owners of the Stari hrast Cellar in Zirovnica village near Kragujevac were considering and thinking for long time the apricot production, and decided not to make jam, juice from their apricots, but to use all for the Apricot brandy! The apricot brandy of Stari hrast cellar is transparent, crystal clear with distinctively fresh flavor of apricot, even featuring citruses of fresh notes, in mouth it provide flavor of a homemade apricot jam, of well-balanced acids and alcohol, and when sampled – one remains with pleasure feelings of a wonderful apricot aroma. The apricot brandy – the kajsijevača brandy of the Stari hrast is served as aperitif, and with white meats and salads.

Quince is nectar of sweet facts, of unbelievable smell. The Dunjevača – quince brandy must feature the true quince aroma, but not overdose… as it must be prepared from pure quince, likewise the dunjevača – Quince Brandy of the Stari hrast Cellar.

The first vinjak /brand of brandy/ was produced in 1933 by Dragoljub Marković from Aleksandrovac, after his return from studies in Paris. Today it is highly respected high quality drink for hedonists, as it is the exclusive product of the Stari hrast Cellar, which matures in oak barrows, that provides the finest amber color, and which is consumed in room temperature as aperitif, or after the meal, along with a cigar….

Visitors of the Stari hrast Cellar in Žirovnica in the heart of Šumadija have at their disposal various options for enjoyment in flavors and tastes of this wonderful part of Serbia – sightseeing of the cellar and introduction into the production process, tour of the vineyards and orchards, tasting of high quality rakijas – brandies below the famous old oak tree, tasting of all old and young wines from stainless steel storage, or from bottles, wooden barrows, tasting of wines and rakijas in tasting room with brunches – according to wish there are options to taste 3 or 4 wines and 1 or 2 rakijas-brandies, with finest tasty food – selection of cheese, smoked delicacies, along with hot dishes prepared of locally grown ingredients…. Welcome !