Serbia has a long and strong wine-making tradition, and across the country, there are various wine routes and regions. One of the most famous ones is Fruska Gora and picturesque villages located on its hills. Even though it’s considered a village from an administrative perspective, Sremski Karlovci has a glorious spirit with fancy buildings and squares leftover from some other time when it was an important cultural center of a prosperous kingdom. Curiously, even the wine from this place has a special exclusive feel to it - locally produced bermet is world-renowned, original Serbian wine that even made it to the iconic Titanic, to be served as a delicacy.
Bermet is a unique kind of locally-produced aromatic dessert wine. Its delightful sweet taste is easy to underestimate, but beware, it holds around 15-18% of alcohol! Mostly prepared as red wine, it was extremely popular within the royal European families in the 15h century, and it was exported to the United States in the late 19th century.
The legend goes that during the Habsburg monarchy rule of the area, the village Karlovci was an important river harbor, from which the wines were exported to Vienna and the rest of Europe. Maria Theresa was extremely fond of bermet, repeatedly ordering substantial quantities, and wanted to know where it came from. When she learned that it comes from a small village from a region often at the spotlight of international conflicts of the time, she released the men from this region of joining the army and taking part in wars in order to allow them to concentrate on wine-making.
Although the ingredients are widely known, the process of making bermet remains a well-kept secret of the locals. The specific aromas differ from producer to producer and include adding healing plants and natural spices found in Mt. Fruska Gora, during the fermentation process. The main idea behind the origin of bermet is credited to monasteries of the area, while the current taste has evolved during the years of experimentation.
Most of the wineries in Sremski Karlovci offer their own version of bermet. With slight differences in making and flavors, it is totally individual which one you’ll find to be the best. Maybe a wine tasting day at the village could help you with the decision, as most traditional and established wineries like Kis Winery, Bailo Winery, and Cellar Veritas welcome tourists. While the original Serbian wine bermet can easily be found elsewhere in the world, needless to say, that it doesn’t get any better than straight at the source - in the picturesque village of Sremski Karlovci. Some attribute its heavenly sweet taste to the pure air and unspoiled nature of Fruska Gora National Park, and whatever may be its secret, it’s no surprise it made it to the iconic Titanic!
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