Updated: Mar 19, 2020
#Croatia has a long history of winemaking which dates back in time when Greek settlers recognized the favorable soil and climate conditions - the viniculture started on the Dalmatian islands of #Hvar, #Vis, and Korcula about 2500 years ago.
Diversity of the regions
Croatia now counts over 300 geographically defined regions combining the coastal and mainland parts, all of which deliver different styles of production and grape varieties.
Central Croatia leads in white wine production but is turning towards evening out the red/white ratio as wine producers started recognizing the god-given geographical location, suitable for the cultivation of reds. The Baranja region, located in the north-easternmost part of Croatia shares the same latitude and climate benefits as the Bordeaux region in France (also, both bordered with two rivers in the same way) and the Piedmont region in Italy - both known for producing the highest quality of wines.
Rule No.1: Toast with the hosts
Vino in Croatia represents a special significance in the everyday life of a Croatian. The reason for this could lie in the long tradition of viniculture that instilled the need to consume it daily, or simply the omnipresence of wine as a consequence of fertile terroirs everywhere along the Country. Croatians will have their #wine in every occasion, but mostly accompanying the meal, sometimes diluting everyday table wine with still water (called Bevanda), or sparkling water which is known as Gemist.
The mild Mediterranean climate which stretches on the entire coast from #Istria to south #Dalmatia benefits the winemaking and ensures unique, hight quality whites and reds. These are the wines that you will be mostly encountering during your summer trip.
We have prepared a brief introduction to these praiseworthy varietals.
Posip: Full-bodied white wines with subtle almond notes
Croatian-born Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, who produced the winning wine at the Judgement of Paris in 1976, went back to Croatia in 1996 and started a winery dedicated to producing the finest wines with Dalmatian grapes. What did he choose? Plavac Mali and Pošip! This white wine is often crisp with flavors of apples, vanilla spice, citrus fruit, and subtle almond note. In the past, Pošip used to grow only on the island of Korcula, but thanks to its early ripening, today it is spread around Dalmatia – Pelješac peninsula, islands of Brac and Hvar, Pakleni islands, Korlat region, and the Biokovo slopes.
Grk: Dry white wines with a peppery pear note
To pronounce Grk just pronounce the three letters in a row. Grk produces dry white wines with notes of white pepper, melon, herbs, and sliced pear. The variety is indigenous to Croatia and is only found in sandy soils close to Korčula, on an island within the Srednja-Juzna Dalmacija. Grk is often called “the most feminine of all grapes” because it only has female flowers and must to be planted next to other varieties in order to pollinate (most wine grapes are self-pollinators).
Malvazija Istarska: Refreshing white wines with a spice note
Malvazija Istarska is one of the main white wines of Istria and the northern Dalmatian coast. Sometimes it’s called Malvasia Istriana, although it’s not actually the same grape as Malvasia from Italy. These wines are refreshing and usually dry, with lower alcohol content and aromas of fennel, quince, honey, apricot, and spice. Malvazija Istarska grows in Istria, one of Croatia’s popular wine travel destinations.
Plavac Mali: Bold red wines with blackberry notes
#Plavac Mali is the primary red wine of Croatia and grows mostly along the Dalmatian coast. It is a wine that is rich and full of flavor, higher in both alcohol and tannin, with lower acidity, and has flavors of blackberry, dark cherry, pepper, carob, dry figs, and spice. Plavac Mali translates to “small blue,” and this grape is so important in Croatia that it was the first to have its own appellations – Dingac and Postup, which are both located on the Pelješac peninsula in South-Central Dalmatia.
Teran: Earthy, full-bodied robust red wines
This is a red grape that grows happily in Istria and seems to absorb the mineral, iron-like quality of the soils in the wines. Expect bold flavors of forest berries and violets with smoky meat and game-like notes. Teran generally has high tannins, and should evolve over a few years. In Italy, Terran is called Terrano.
Babic: Juicy red with well integrated alcohol and tannins
One of the most balanced and unique Dalmatian wine that reaches its full potential in a harsh environment of limestone soil near the Sibenik-Knin county. It has a perfectly balanced and round body with velvety and integrated tannins. The typical aromas include dark fruits, juicy cherry, Mediterranean herbs, and spices that come from the oak aging, Its preserved acidity makes this wine enjoyable even on the hottest summer days.