My travelling adventures have taken me far and wide to the most exotic continents the world has to offer, but one of the countries that took me most by surprise was Croatia. Most people forget that this Eastern European outland resides along the coastline of the Adriatic Sea and has one of the richest archipelagos in the world. As a result, my past-time usually consists of a relaxing admiration of the shore whilst sipping on the best wine Croatia has to offer. What are those wines, you may ask? Well look no further because I have tried a fair few and these are the ones I most enjoyed and why.
Sladić Winery’s 2009 Marastina – If, like me, you prefer your your wine dry and full-bodied then I can guarantee that this is the white for you. The aromas of peach, honey and almonds come to play, mixed deliciously with a ripe fruit flavour and an oily texture that blends well with food. So this white is fantastic at dinner, especially with seafood. The marastina grape from which it is made from is most prevalent on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, most prominent on the island of Korcula. Grown in Krka National Park on mainland Croatia, just outside the city of Sibenik, Sladić Winery’s 2009 Marastina is very much the essence of Croatia in a bottle.
Matošević Winery’s 2008 “Grimalda” – An impressive hybrid made up of Chardonnay (50%), Istrian Malvasia (25%) and Sauvignon Blanc (25%). The wine is medium bodied and dry with aromas of buttered toast and dried flowers and flavours of luscious white fruit, especially peach. But it’s the acidity of the wine that really cuts through the toast and the butter. This is a barrel-aged white made from the Istrian malvasia, which is one of 84 different types of malvasia found in the Mediterranean.
Antun Adžić’s 2010 Graševina “Vallis Aurea” – The history of the graševina grape is unknown, so if you like a bit of mystery on your holiday in Croatia you should give this a try, it is now planted through central and eastern Europe. Verging on off-dry and medium-bodied the aromas of petrol, grapefruit, and bright fruit complement a honey-dew melon and crisp acidity, giving you a light and bright taste. These white grapes were grown in Pozega valley, an inland Croatia
Matuško Winery’s 2007 Dingac (100% Plavac Mali) – A holiday in Croatia should consist of becoming accustomed to the finer things that represent the country. This austere wine represents the growing region of Dingac like no other. Not only that, but unlike of Dingac’s this should fit well within your budget. Bone dry and full bodied, the wine is mainly rich and earthy with a dash of chocolate to balance the the aromas. An insider tip I can share is to make sure the wine is decanted before consuming to avoid the possibility of a cola flavour on your first sip. For you geographers, the growing region of Dingac is located on the Dalmatian Coast on the Peljesac peninsula, centering the town of Potomje.
BIBICh Winery’s 2005 Sangreal (100% Merlot) – Another from the famous Dalmation Coast, this red is dry and medium bodied and yet it’s acidity makes it light on the tongue. It’s long finish and a powerful tannic structure make this a very unique merlot – note that the wine is aged for two years in French oak. Historians will love to know that BIBICh’s merlot vines were in fact first planted in 1970.
PZ Svirce Winery’s 2007 Ivan Dolac Plavac Mali – Perhaps the trump card on the list because of a few reasons. Despite the alcoholic concentration of 14.5%, and even though it is full-bodied with a very rich ruby colour, this red is actually dry and pairs incredibly well with seafood. Another reason is that this plavac mali is unique. It comes from the island of Hvar and not the Dingac region like most do. The dark-fruit and floral aromas and the taste of lavender, chocolate, plum and cloves made this my favourite red on my holiday in Croatia, if not my favourite wine of the whole trip. The PZ Svirce Winery’s 2007 Ivan Dolac Plavac Mali is perfect with a meat dish. A top tip would be to try the Croation dish of pasticada. Connoisseurs will be happy to learn that Ivan Dolac is a Grand Cru vineyard found on the island of Hvar.