Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wines of Croatia Tasting



First a few maps, because, I like them. The first shows Croatia's location within Europe, important to those of us who are old enough to have grown up with a very different map of Europe, and the second, some detail of the country itself. As for the country itself, the CIA World Factbook (I couldn't resist) tells me that "The lands that today comprise Croatia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became a federal independent Communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998. In April 2009, Croatia joined NATO; it is a candidate for eventual EU accession."

As for the wine, Croatian wine is not something I know very much about. I've tasted a few here and there, but not enough to reach and conclusions. I would guess that statement puts me in with the majority of wine consumers. So pre-tasting I did some research. 
The internet told me that: Croatian wine has a history dating back to the Ancient Greek settlers and their wine production on the southern Dalmatian islands some 2,500 years ago. Today there here are over 300 geographically defined wine regions with 17,000 registered vine growers, 33,000 hectares of vineyard surface area and 61 million liters of wine produced each year. Although there are more than 200 varietals grown, 60 of them indigenous, the major three, Grasevina (welschriesling), Malvazija (Malvasia Istriana) and Plavac Mali account for 47% of what is planted.
With that background it was time to head to Sebastapol for a tasting courtesy of Marcy Gordon and Frank from http://www.bluedanubewine.com/:

1. CORONICA -- Malvasia--Istria  2009
2. KORTA KATARINA--Pošip--Island of Korčula 2008
3. KRAJANČIĆ--Pošip--Island of Korčula 2009
4. ENJINGI--Venje--Slavonia 2003
Graševina, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Traminac
5. TERZOLO--Teran--Istria 2008
6. PIQUENTUM--Teran--Istria 2008
7. MILOŠ--Stagnum Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 2005
8. KORTA KATARINA--Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 2006
9. SAINTS HILLS--Dingač Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 200
10. BURA--Dingač  Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 2007
11. ZLATAN PLENKOVIĆ--Crljenak Kaštelanski--Island of Hvar, Makarska 2008
Plus 3 add-ons: both a Grgic Pošip and Plavac and a Korta Katarina rosé

So what did I think? Well, in general, I found the whites and rosé more to my taste than the reds. The whites were fragrant and herbal with lots of minerality and acidity. Refreshing and crisp, they were perfectly suited to a warm day on Marcy's back porch.

In contrast, the reds were big wines. I found them very fruity, but also hot." Frank mentioned that some of the entry level reds have alcohol levels around 13% but everything we tasted was over 14% with some 15% and above. Indeed, the Saints Hills, with a 15.5% abv was designed as "designed to be the cult wine of Croatia."  Otherwise put, not a Sunday afternoon sipping wine. I thought they called out for a meal and think they probably show better with food, though am suspicious of the suggested pairing of the MILOŠ--Stagnum Plavac Mali and oysters. They were concentrated wines, reminiscent of zinfandel, which is not surprising given that researchers have found a connection between the grapes.
In all, an excellent introduction to a region. 

2 comments:

  1. Hey Amy-- Nice post. I'm glad you enjoyed the tasting. Thanks for making the drive up.

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  2. So good topic really i like any post talking about Ancient Greece but i want to say thing to u Ancient Greece not that only ... you can see in Ancient Greece AncientGreece.Me and more , you shall search in Google and Wikipedia about that .... thanks a gain ,,,

    ReplyDelete