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Page 1: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming
Page 2: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming


Page 3: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming

croatian wines �

Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure.

First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming ever better and ever more competitive with the serious foreign wines, and also since the directions of further successful development of the Croatian wine industry are becoming ever clearer. In a nutshell, Croatian wine production is a business that is doing eminently well. In mid-2003, when the author was writing his first book about wines, the situation was somewhat different. It is only in the last few years that the Croatian wine industry has experienced its finest moments, a result, no doubt, of years of investment, of seeking the right methods and of the struggle for economic survival on the part of leading Croatian wine producers.

Secondly, writing about wines necessarily involves hedonism, particularly in a land such as Croatia, where enjoyment of wine is linked to a whole plethora of other factors which make for a more pleasant life, and which are, after all, one of the root causes of Croatia's growing attraction as the leading tourist destination in the Mediterranean.

Wine is an immanent part

of Croatia's attraction as a

tourist destina-tion, and

one which needs to be made still

more prominent.

The French and Italian media have agreed, not without a small dose of barely concealed regret, that in many respects Croatia overtook both the Côte d'Azur and Costa Smeralda in 2005. This is amply confirmed by the increasing number of inter-national celebrities to be found vacationing on the islands of Hvar and Brač and in Dubrovnik, many of whom had never previously visited the Adriatic.

Needless to say, wine is an immanent part of Croatia's attraction as a tourist destination, and one which needs to be made still more prominent.

And thirdly, Croatian wines are relatively easy to present thanks to the efforts of those people who have devoted a major part of their careers to pro-viding descriptions of grape wine and wine. This review would, for instance, be incomplete indeed without the monumental Ampelographic Atlas by Professor Nikola Mirošević, without the superbly informative guides of Croatia wines by esteemed colleague Srećka Mirošević, without the excellent book that tells of the oneness of the anonymous kaštelanski crljenac (red wine of Kaštela) and the famous Zinfandel of California, by the scientists Dr. Edi Maletić and Jasenka Piljac.

author's foreword

introduction 4-11 istria 12-19 20-21 Dalmatia Zadar & Šibenik


22-2� Dalmatia split &

Dubrovnik region


slavonia 48-�3 closing deliberations

�4-��Zagreb 40-43 northern croatia 44-47 �6-�7

Kvarner & Highlands

wine index

— Davor Butkoviæ

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introductionGlobal success of Croatian wines

The year 2004 proved to be the most success-ful for Croatian wines.

This was the year in which Croatian wines made their first serious appearances on the world stage. First, at the end of 2003, in his Pocket Wine Guide that is sold in huge numbers the renowned British publicist Hugh Johnson devoted the same amount of space to Croatian wines as he did to the long established Slovenian wines. And he gave some of our wines exceptionally good ratings.

In the spring of 2004 the Croatian Embassy in Paris organized a wine tasting of certain Croatian wines for the influential French maga-zine La Revue du Vin de France. The results of that event were excellent reviews for the 1999 Plavac barrique and for the Hectorovich pros-ecco produced by Andro Tomić, a wine maker of the island of Hvar, and good reviews for Plavac Murvica produced by Hrvoje Baković of Brač. Tomić's wines made the front cover of the May issue of La Revue du Vin de France.

And finally, in the summer of 2004 it became known that Ivan Enjingi, a Slavonian wine pro-ducer, was declared the absolute world champion in the category of coupaged white wines costing up to £10 per bottle by the most influential world wine magazine, the British Decanter. The same magazine awarded less illustrious awards to two other Ejningi

wines. At the 2005 Decanter World Championship, Enjingi again won several medals, as did the great producer of Slavonian wines, PPK Kutjevo.

These exceptional international successes demonstrate that world-class wines can be pro-duced in Croatia. And bearing in mind superb climatic predispositions, combined with the fact that this land has two wonderful indigenous varieties: Mali plavac, which can give great and expensive wines, and Istrian Malvoisie, which became an inseparable part of the tourist offer of this peninsula. International recognitions are the result of increased investments in viticulture and oenology, particularly over the last few years.

The Croatian wine industry could in the next few years become the next big thing on the world wine market, a market which is constantly look-ing for new and not too expensive producers. Its comparative advantage in relation to the compe-tition lies in the fact that Croatia has tourism as a vehicle for the direct promotion of her wines. However, the tourist industry should begin treat-ing wine as one of the main tourist attractions of Croatia; wine should simply become an important element of the overall Croatian tourist offer, as it already is in Istria, the best organized tourist region in the country.

That is one of the pre-conditions for Croatia to be included among the more prestigious wine countries of Europe in the near future and to be become readily recognizable for its wines. After all, the country has excellent natural potentials to attain such a position.

This land has two wonderful

indigenousvarieties: Mali plavac, which can give great and expensive

wines, and Istrian Malvoisie,

which became an insepara-

ble part of the tourist offer ofthis peninsula.

This review of Croatian wines includes those producers and wines which are already utilising the aforementioned natural potentials to the satisfaction of domestic and foreign lovers of the Croatian wine scene.

The system of assessment of individual winer-ies and wines relied upon in this text has been taken from the authoritative wine guide by Hugh Johnson, the Pocket Wine Book, an annual publication and which to date has sold over 7 million copies. Johnson is one of the most highly respected British writers about wine.

The system involves four stars: insignificant wineries or poor wines are awarded no star at all. Only superb wineries and quite exceptional wines are awarded four stars. Here, it needs to be point-ed out that a rating of an individual winery need not necessarily mean that all the wines it produces are deserving of the same rating; in short, the rat-ing of a winery is not necessarily identical to the ratings awarded to its individual wines.

For instance, the Vlado Krauthaker winery in Slavonia is one of the most important in Croatia. Krauthaker is investing a great deal of effort into the establishment of new production standards both in vineyards and in wine cellars and has had significant influence on other private wine producers. He is experimenting with new varie-ties, which might ultimately result in the revival of the production of red wines in the continen-tal parts of the country. All this ensures that Krauthaker is a prominent figure in the field of Croatian wine production. That, however, does not mean that all of his wines are equally good: some are of premium quality while others are no more than mediocre. In other words, winery

The rating of a winery is

not necessarily identical to theratings awarded to its individual


ratings do not relate only to the quality of their overall production palette but also to the role and importance they have in the development of the Croatian wine industry.

Another characteristic example in addition to Vlado Krauthaker is Mario Mendek. His winery, located near Dubrovnik, is probably the most important in Dalmatia. He is endeavouring to attain new, and in Croatia, still unrecognized criteria for the production of great red wines. For his achievements in raising the standard of production and for the quality of his prestigious wine (Selekcija) Mendek deserves four stars. But his wines of lower quality, particularly Enigma, do not as yet even approach the quality of Selekcija, and consequently his winery is rated with from two to four stars.

All the more prominent and better wines within the palette of individual wineries are, of course, specially marked with stars.

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Selection and criteria of assessment

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Famous wine makers of Croatian origin

As elsewhere in the Mediterranean, wine has been produced in Croatian lands since the times of Antiquity. There is a whole range of Greek and Roman quotations connected with wines from the Dalmatian islands. But the fact that in the last 100 years Croatian wine makers have had an exceptionally significant impact on the world wine stage is not so well known.

When, at the end of the 19th century, phylloxera, commonly known as wine pest, struck the Istrian and Dalmatian vineyards literally decimating local wine production, a mass exodus of Croats from those parts of the land to overseas countries resulted.

And so it was Croats who were among those who established the wine industry in New Zealand, where the houses of Nobilo and Babić are now running very successful businesses and are enjoying the benefits of a serious interna-tional reputation. Another New Zealand Croat is Jim Vuletich, author of the very expensive and almost unobtainable cult red wine, Providence, which is justifiably ranked among the very top of the world wines from the New World.

The most famous of the Croatian wine pro-ducers in the world is undoubtedly Miljenko Mike Grgić who, following his brilliant career in California, built a winery in Trstenik, near Dubrovnik, in the mid-1990s.

Mike Grgić, a short-statured, elderly and exceedingly self-confident gentleman who speaks

slowly but energetically, began his career as a winemaker for the great Robert Mondavi, the man who created the modern-day wine industry of California, and whose empire has been expanding for over thirty years. Having left Mondavi, Grgić began producing wines for Chateau Montelena, another very prestigious producer from the Napa Valley in California. In 1976, on the 200th anniversary of the American Revolution a tasting competition of the best French and Californian wines was organized in Paris. The winner in the category of white wines was the 1973 Chateau Montelena chardonnay, thus beating the immensely more expensive Montrachet, and on their own home ground. Thus, Mike Grgić earned his place in history.

Subsequently, Grgić founded “Grgić Hills Winery” in the Napa Valley which he manages in tandem with his daughter. For years now this has been where, with standard reliability, elegant and restrained wines are produced, stylistically very different from until recently the trendy Californian production with high alcohol content. In addition to Grgić Hills there is Dobra zemlja, another win-ery in California founded by a couple from Croatia in the second half of the last decade.

In South America, in Chile, many years ago the late Androniko Lukšić, a multi-billionaire originating from Croatia, bought the large, suc-cessful and highly rated San Pedro winery.

World successes achieved by wine makers of Croatian origin are the best testimony of how deeply imbedded, and immanently natural are both viticulture and wine making to Croatia.

The most famous of the Croatian wine

producers in the world is undou-btedly Miljenko

Mike Grgić who, following his

brilliant careerin California,

built a winery in Trstenik, near

Dubrovnik, in the mid-1990s.

Wine-growing in Croatia is divided into two main regions: coastal Croatia and continental Croatia.

The littoral belt is further divided into the sub-regions of Istria, Croatian Littoral, Northern Dalmatia, Dalmatian Zagora, Central and Southern Dalmatia.

Continental Croatia is divided into a number of sub-regions: from the Danube Basin, through Slavonia, Moslavina, the areas in the vicinity of Zagreb, to Međimurje and Zagorje.

Bearing in mind the actual state of the wine industry in Croatia there are three

main sub-regions: first, Central and Southern Dalmatia, where Plavac mali, the indigenous Croatia vari-

ety of grape, can produce unique red wines of potentially great export

significance. The second is Istria, which already sells most of its wine through tourism, and whose wine-boom in the last ten years has also been based on an indigenous variety: Istrian Malvoisie. And then there is Slavonia, which is blessed with ideal climatic conditions and superb soils for wine production from international varieties, as is so aptly confirmed by Enjingi's and Krauthaker's successes. To summarise, the regions which are definitely the most important for the Croatian wine offer are Central and Southern Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia.

Within those regions attention needs to be drawn to specific wine-growing locations such as, for instance, the Kutjevo area in Slavonia, or Pelješac and Hvar in Dalmatia, from which some of the best Croatian wines come. Furthermore, within those locations themselves the are unique localities, such as Dingač on the Pelješac peninsula, which has for over 100 years been regarded as the most exclusive vineyard for the cultivation of Mali Plavac.

Unfortunately, the disorder currently pre-vailing in land registers makes it impossible to say with any certainty how many hectares in total are today planted with grapevine in Croatia. In the older literature a figure of over 80,000 hectares is mentioned, but many experts now believe that this figure is sig-nificantly lower, and that despite the intensive programme of raising new vineyards which has been under implementation over the last few years.

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Wine-growing regions in Croatia

Definitely the most important for the Croatian

wine offer are Central and

Southern Dalmatia, Istria

and Slavonia.

Definitely the most important for the Croatian

wine offer are Central and

Southern Dalmatia, Istria

and Slavonia.

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The most important varieties in Croatia’s wine industryListed below are indigenous and international varieties, arranged exclusively according to their significance to the Croatian wine industry.

1. Babić - indigenous red grape of Central Dalmatia, which gives the homonymous, sometimes premium wine.

2. Bogdanuša - indigenous white grape, probably origi-nating from the island of Hvar, used in the blend for Prosecco.

3. Cabernet Sauvignon - the best, world-wide known red variety yielding relatively decent results in Istria.

4. Cabernet Franc - red-wine grape variety, used almost exclusively in Istria.

�. Chardonnay - one of the most popular white grape varieties yielding excellent Istrian and Slavonian wines.

6. Crljenak - indigenous red Dalmatian grape variety no longer grown in Croatia, but which is world famous; this is in fact the Californian Zinfandel that arrived in America from Dalmatia.

7. Debit - white grape variety found in Central Dalmatia, originating from Italy.

8. Graševina - or Welschriesling, white grape variety which is the basis of the contemporary wine industry in Slavonia.

9. Grk - indigenous white grape variety from the island of Korčula which could yield truly great wines; for the time being the only producer devoting himself to this variety to any serious degree is Branimir Cebalo of Lumbarda.

10. Hrvatica, or Croatina - despite its name this red grape variety is also widely found in Italy; at one time a very popular, homonymous rosé was produced from this variety in Umag.

11. Istrian Malvoisie - the most important indigenous white grape variety in Istria which the great English author on wines, Janis Robinson in her classic book Vines, grapes and wines, singled out as being different from other Malvoisies, raising the question of whether this particular variety is a Malvoisie at all.

12. Maraština - a white grape variety which probably came from Italy is grown on the Dalmatian islands and is fre-quently used as a component in a blend for a Prosecco.

13. Merlot - a black grape variety which has been cul-tivated in Istria for many years with mostly average results. Time will tell what Mr. Krauthaker of Slavonia achieves with his own Merlot.

14. Muscat of Momjan - the muscat grown in Western Istria is, supposedly, the white muscat or Muscat à

Petits Grains, the most highly regarded grape from the vast family of muscats. The Muscat of Momjan yields splendid dessert wines.

1�. Pinot Blanc - white grape variety relatively well rep-resented in Istria where, blending it with chardonnay, Matošević produces his excellent yet inexpensive Aura.

16. PinotGris - a grape variety with a greyish-to-pinkish skin colour; successfully grown in Istria and Slavonia. Enjingi's is quite something else.

17. Pinot Noir - a red grape variety long cultivated in Slavonia but with no spectacular results. Vlado Krauthaker could be the one in Croatia to produce from this, the best red grape in the world, a decent wine.

18. Plavac mali - the most important red grape variety in Croatia and the most important variety in Dalmatia. This is an indigenous Dalmatian variety which can yield truly great wines, but it should not be confused with a quite inferior variety of Veliki plavac.

19. Pošip - an indigenous white grape variety from the island of Korčula, which once produced premium wines.

20. Riesling - in Croatia (and Slovenia) the attribute Rhine is added to Riesling in order to differentiate it from Graševina. The only significant producers of wines from this majestic white grape variety are Ivan Ejningi and PPK Kutjevo.

21. Rizvanac - Croatian name for Thurgau-Müller, a high yielding but not too impressive cross between Riesling and Sylvaner.

22. Sauvignon Blanc - excellent white grape variety cul-tivated in Slavonia and Međimurje. In a few years time we shall be able to see its potentials in Istria where, in 2003, vineyards were planted by Ivica Matošević.

23. Škrlet - an indigenous white grape variety from Moslavina which is lately becoming rather fashion-able on a local level.

24. Teran - the most important black variety grape in Istria, internationally known as Refosco; although some experts and wine makers insist that there are differences between teran and refosco.

2�. Traminac - or Traminer, a white grape variety which could yield excellent wines in Slavonia, where is widely cultivated.

26. Vugava - a fine, aromatic white grape variety from the island of Vis which could, with serious invest-ments, yield excellent wines.

27. Zelenac - a white grape variety rescued from oblivion by Vlado Krauthaker.

28. Zweigelt/Zweigeltrebe - a red grape vari-ety, a cross between the St. Laurent and the Blaufränkischer varieties. Enjingi's Zweigelt is one of the few good red wines in continental Croatia.

29. Žlahtina - an indigenous white grape variety in the Croatian Littoral which gave rise to the growth of the wine industry on the island of Krk.

Page 7: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming

n the 1990s the Istrian political and economic elite decide to create a new image for this lovely parcel of Croatia. Instead of being a massive tourist zone, which Istria indeed was in the 1970s and 1980s, it was planned that this, the largest Croatian peninsula, was to attract foreign visitors with its hedonistic life style offer, of which wine is one of the main constituents. That this concept was more than justified has been proved by the flourishing of vineyards and wine making in Istria. Consequently, in a relatively small area

with a population not exceeding 200,000 there are more than 80 active wineries, with new ones being established on a regular basis.

Over 50% of the wine produced in Istria is sold through direct sale to tourists: in local restau-rants, hotels, bars and shops, while a part is sold in the wine cellars themselves. However, despite this boom over the past 10 years Istria is still not producing sufficient quantities of its most popular wines and so, sad to say, there are times when stocks of Kozlović’s and Matošević’ Malvoisie are exhausted.

It has to be pointed out that in the last five years the quality of Istrian wines has increased significantly. Since 2000, Istria has produced several wines of real world class (Kozlović’s 2002 Santa Lucia, Coronica’s 2002 Gran Mavoisie, Matošević,s Chardonnay Anima of 1999 and 2000). We believe that this trend will continue, bearing in mind that Istrian wine growers are investing hugely in vineyards and wine cellars, as well as in marketing.

The most important Istrian grape variety is, of course, the Istrian Malvoisie, but there are others the names of which absolutely must be mentioned, like white Muscat: in Istria known as the Muscat of


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the5.5km-longUčkaTunnellinkingIstriatothewidercroatia, the first thing that one sees – apart from the truly impressive land-




ia W H e N , H a V I N G P a S S e D T H R o u G H


Pionirska1,52440Porečtel.: +385 52 452 797Fax: +385 52 452 796

e-mail: [email protected]

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1�croatian wines

Momjan, and which is known to yield magnifi-cent dessert wines, and the extremely successful Chardonnay.

In this review we shall restrict ourselves only to the most successful and the most important Istrian producers. Due to shortage of space we have to omit some very good wine makers, such as Radovan and Poletti, but we believe that they will soon join the leading Istrian wine stars. The Istrian wine sub-region forms part of the coastal region of Croatia, comprising western, central and eastern Istrian wine- growing areas.

m a l v o i s i e Malvasia Istriana is actually a political-cum-economic project which has been materialized in the shape of several premium wines and a whole range of very good quality wines. In the mid-1990s young Istrian politicians assessed that Istrian tourism could, once the war had been left behind them, live, indeed thrive on wine, truffles and olive groves, and not just from the sea and the sun. The outcome was that the County of Istria began to systemati-cally stimulate the planting of vineyards and olive groves and to market Istrian wines.

Istrian Malvoisie was the only grape variety which Istrian politicians and the new Istrian wine makers had to hand and which could yield a great amount of good wine. Its cultivation in Istria dates back a long way. And so, through joint efforts by Istrian politicians, marketing experts, tourist workers, wine makers, restau-rant owners and pop and rock stars – all of whom did everything in their power to ensure the success of the project – Istrian Malvoisie was finally turned into a first class media-cum-political sensation, and rightly so. In addition to the oenological triumph and excellent economic results, Istrian Malvoisie became a distinguishing symbolic element of Istria, and a significant part of its identity.

The ambitious Istrians decided to expand the project of winning recognition for their Malvoisie literally throughout the world. It was on those lines that the World Congress debating this precious variety was held in Rovinj in the spring of 2005, after which the ever hyperactive Matošević embarked on a grand tour by sea of all those European destinations where this ancient variety, in all its variations, has been cultivated since the times of Antiquity.

Today, there are around five to six thousand hectares of vineyards in Istria, and some of the

Istrian Malvoisies, such as Kozlović’s Santa Lucia, have attained a standard of truly world-class wines.

Winemakers and wines

Thirty-nine-year-old Ivica Matošević is not only the man who revived the Istrian wine

industry but also the one able to make it commercially viable in European terms. And this is not a question only of his wines, but of an approach to both the production and the culture of wines which is totally new to Istria. Matošević is the innovator of the actual wine production in this area: he was the first to intro-duce the barrique as standard for individual white wines; he was among the first to insist on low yields; he consistently implemented cold fermentation...

The most important aspect, however, is that Matošević was the first to realize that on a market becoming increasingly competitive the only way a wine could be sold success-fully was to create a readily recognizable brand.

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01 istria

The Matošević Winery produces between 40,000 and 50,000 bottles of wine each year, with the standard Malvoisie, not aged in barriques, accounting for fifty percent of that quantity.

Over 50% of the wine produced in Istria is sold through direct sale to tourists. And not only for his own wines but, and mark

this - for Istrian wines overall. As the result, a campaign of promotional activities related to wine, combined with continual improve-ment of quality by the leading Istrian private producers, transformed Istria into a symbol for good white wines which are, for the most

part, exported without, so to speak, a middleman: they are consumed by foreign tourists during the course of the season. Incidentally, Matošević (who received a Doctorate in Botan-ics in Bologna and who, until mid-2004, was Director of the Kamenja National Park, near Pula), planted his own first eight hectares of vineyards as late as 2003 on the prime location of Brdo, above Pazin. Until his vineyards produce their first yield, Matošević will continue to make wine from procured grapes.

His prestigious wine is undoubtedly the distinctly barrique-finished Chardonay Anima (three to four stars):

the harvest of 2000 won the Silver Medal at the World Chardonnay Championship, in France.

However, the main product of Matošević

Winery, located in the village of Krunćići, right above the fascinating Lim fiord, is the Alba Malvoisie vinified in inox vats. The 2004 Malvoisie (three stars) is an exceptionally elegant wine with moderate alcohol content, but still with a strong body and with the typical aromas of almond, acacia and citrus fruits. It goes very well indeed with grilled white fish, but nor does it collide with sushi and sashimi.

At the time this text was being written the barrique-finished 2004 Malvoisie (three stars), produced from grapes grown in particularly good positions, appeared very promising (it was released onto the market only in the autumn of 2004).

Matošević's main trump card could become the Malvoisie allowed to age in acacia barriques and to mature sur lie, i.e. in its own sediments. The first bottles to arrive on the markets have, however, met with a mixed reception.

From time to time Matošević also bottles some red wines produced from teran and merlot grapes.

The Matošević Winery produces between 40,000 and 50,000 bottles of wine each year, with the standard Malvoisie, not aged in barriques, account-


Chardonay Anima (three to

four stars) of Ivica atošević - the harvest

of 2000 - won the Silver Medal

at the World Chardonnay

Championship, in France.

The most important Istrian

grape variety is the Istrian


M a t o š e v i ć

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17croatian wines

ing for fifty percent of that quantity. It needs to be stressed that all the Matošević wines represent excellent value for money.

Gianfranco Kozlović is the author of the best dry wine produced in Istria to date. All the wine experts

in Croatia have unanimously agreed that his 2001 Santa Lucia Malvoisie was convincingly the best Croatian white wine to appear on the market in 2003 (four stars). Santa Lucio is the name of the vineyard located close to Buje, a small town in the interior of Istria, close to the Croatian-Slovene border.

The 2001 Santa Lucia Malvoisie, of which only a few thousand bottles were produced, is one of the rare, but truly great Croatian white wines. By the combination of its fragrance (apricots, pears, yellow flowers, peaches) and by its structure, it was closer to a premium Condrieu than it was to a Malvoisie. And it demonstrated that Kozlović is able to deliver a very high quality indeed, provid-ing that the vintage is at least decent.

Kozlović, who is of the same generation as Matošević, is the largest private producer of Malvoisie in Istria. His picturesque winery, with a lovely view towards the forests of Istria, which he inherited from his father and went on to radically modernize, produces about 100,000 bottles every year. The standard Malvoisie produced in inox vats accounts for the majority of that production. His 2004 Malvoisie (three stars) is an exception-ally refreshing (unusual for that year, which was very hot and dry), but full-bodied. It goes equally well with shellfish and with prawns. Kozlović also produces Malvoisie in classic barriques, but also in barriques made from acacia. Special attention, however, must be paid to the superb Muscat of Momjan (four stars), a semi-sweet wine made from white muscat grapes (Muscat à Petit Grains) with the divine fragrance of grapes and honey, and with acids which, despite the high percentage of unfer-mented sugar, ensure that is not at all viscous and with a mildly oily structure.

Morena Coronica, wine maker from the village of Koreniki, near Umag in Western Istria, is the

favourite of two people who really, but really under-stand wines. One of these, Nino Dusper, President of the Croatian Association of Sommeliers and Marketing Secretary of the World Association of Sommeliers, is a great admirer of Coronica’s Malvoisie. He regards it as the most reliable wine of all those produced by Istrian wine makers. The

other, Danijela Kramarić, owner of Plavi podrum, an excellent restaurant in Opatija, and who is recognized throughout the world as a first class sommelier, is also very fond of Coronica’s Teran.

Morenao Coronica produces two main lines of wine: non-barriqued Malvoisies (two to three stars), Terans (two stars), Merlots

(two stars), and the much more ambitious line, Gran Teran and Gran Malvoisie, both of which are allowed to age for a certain period in barriques (three stars; four in the best years).

A quite special case is the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, which should be on the market in the summer of 2006. It is the most impressive red wine produced in Istria to date.

Gran Teran is undoubtedly the best Teran to be produced in Istria. The still present acid surplus, a characteristic of this particular variety, is camou-flaged by its velvety structure and the roundness of the wine, which blends perfectly with blue fish, prosciutto and ombolo (boned pork cutlet served as warm or cold hors d’œuvres).

Barrique-aged Malvoisies are rich, full bodied and very, very serious white wines indeed; they prove that Istrian Malvoisie possesses a much greater potential than being a mere easy tipple for tourists and the numerous local connoisseurs.

Coronica’s wines are, on the whole, worth more that their asking price. He is one of those rare animals among Istrian wine makers not to have raised his prices in the last few years, despite great demand. Sadly, neither Gran Teran nor Gran Malvoisie are widely available, but better Istrian restaurants, such as the Valsabbiona and the Milana, always seem to have them on their wine lists.

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Since 2000, Istria has produced several wines of real world class: Kozlović’s 2002 Santa Lucia, Coronica’s 2002 Gran Mavoisie, Matošević,s Chardonnay Anima of 1999 and 2000.

The 2001 Santa Lucia Malvoisie

of Kozlović is one of the rare, but truly great Croatian white


Giancarlo Kozlović, the author of the best dry wine produced in Istria to date.

The Pilato family of Vižinada in Western Istria has won a recognized place on the Croatian wine stage

with, in our parts, the often underestimated Pinot Blanc. And indeed, Pilato’s white Pinots (two to three stars) are solid, refreshing and elegant summer wines. The 2003 Pinot did not suffer in any way from the exceptionally dry conditions which marked the year.

Alongside the Pinot Blanc the Pilato label also includes a very good Chardonnay (three stars) and, of course, a Malvoisie (two stars). The Pilato 2001 Chardonnay won the title of Champion at Vinovita, the Zagreb Wine Fair.

The Pilato family owns about 6 hectares of vineyards.

Moreno Degrassi, a wine maker from Savudrija in the western-most part of Istria, enjoys the

reputation of being one of the most prominent representatives of the Istrian new wine wave,

shoulder to shoulder with Ivica Matošević and Giancarlo Kozlović. These three have appeared together at a number of public events, one such being the premiere of the production of King Lear at Brijuni in the summer of 2001 (which marked the return of the actor Rade Šerbedžija to Croatia) and where they served their own wines. Such and similar marketing activities paid off: today, Degrassi’s wines are a must on the wine lists of most Croatian restaurants and are particularly popular in inns and taverns through-out Istria. In fact, Veli Jože – one of the most charming trattorias in Rovinj – offers Degrassi’s red wines exclusively.

Moreno Degrassi is the only Istrian wine maker to base his production on black grape varieties. His Cabernet Franc (two to three stars) and Cabernet Sauvignon (two stars) are a rather fine example of cultivation and vinification of the classic Bordeaux varieties.

k o z l o v i ć

Istrian Malvoi-sie became a distinguish-

ing symbolic element of

Istria, and a significant part of its identity.

P I l a T o

The Pilato 2001 Chardonnay

won the title of Champion

at Vinovita, the Zagreb Wine


D e G R a S S I

C o R o N I C a

Moreno Degrassi is the

only Istrian wine maker to base his

production on black grape


Page 10: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming

19croatian wines

Chandonnay Ferme (two stars), vintage 2003, is an unusual wine with elements of frizzante, with a very specific and strong aroma which nevertheless perfectly matches grilled white fish. Moreno Degrassi obtains his grapes from a total of eight hectares of vineyards in Western Istria.

Marjan Arman, one of the hidden heroes of the Istrian wine revival. Arman, owner of five

hectares of vineyards in Western Istria, cannot be said to boast a media reputation in the same way as Matošević or Kozlović, nor the attention of wine specialists attracted by Coronica. However, Marjan does produce exceptionally good wines which occasionally win prizes both at Croatian and international fairs.

For instance, Arman’s Malvoisie (two stars) had been declared champion of the Zagreb Vinovita, while his Muškatel (dessert wine, three stars) was awarded a medal at a wine fair in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The author’s personal favourite from Arman’s palette is Chardonnay Zlatna vala: an elegant, gentle, restrained, floral wine, quite unusual as far as Istrian and Croatian Chardonnays are concerned. It goes well with cooked or uncooked scampi, with boiled lobster (without heavy sauces), or with cooked grouper. Arman’s Zlatna vala was one of the more pleasant surprises during weeks of wine tasting carried out for the benefit of this publication.

Đordano Peršurić of Poreč is quite definitely the best Croatian producer of sparkling wine. His

leading wines are undoubtedly of the same rank as the prestigious Spanish sparkling wines, as well as with the majority of better Italian ones, and can easily compete with such wines that come from California and England, and even with some from the Loire valley.

Pešurić’s Misal (four stars) effervesces very

well, possesses an optimum ratio with acidity extract, evokes the crucial champagne aromas and is very, very elegant indeed.

Misal Rosé (three stars) is possibly a little too sweet for the author’s personal taste, but it blends perfectly with food, while Misal Prestige (three to four stars) is an ambitious attempt at the produc-tion of a grand sparkling wine. Let us wait and see what the future will bring for Prestige.

With Pešurić’s Misals Croatia for the first time (discounting the Šempjen some ten years ago) has a sparkling wine worthy of international reputa-tion which although expensive is better than practically the entire spectrum of Slovene compe-tition, excluding Movia. Misal, which is produced from Malvoisie, black Pinot and Chardonnay, and points the way for development to other Croatian producers of sparkling wines. The example of Misal shows for the first time that certain wine growing areas in Croatia are, with correct vinifica-tion, able to produce excellent sparkling wine. It is highly possible that in a few years time Peršurić’s Misal will be regarded as playing an avant-garde role in what is at this point in time the negligible Croatian production of sparkling wines.

Marino Markežić is the owner of a restaurant of the same name, in the village of Kremenje, at the

foot of Momjan in Western Istria. The Marino restaurant is a Mecca for lovers of truffles: from early summer real black truffles are served there, and in the season of great white truffles Marino is

18 croatian wines

01 istria

Istrian Malvoisies, such as Kozlović’s Santa Lucia, have attained a standard of truly worldclass wines.

Arman's dessert wine Muškatel was awarded a

medal at a wine fair in Ljubljana,


where one can savour bruschette and beefsteaks, venison steaks and ombolo (spiced boned pork cutlet), sprinkled with a more than generous amount of grated white truffles. With his game and truffles Markežić offers not only wines from the chief Istrian producers, but also his own Teran and Malvoisie.

It was only as late as spring of 2004 that Marino Markežić released several of his wines onto the market for the first time. First and foremost, Kabola, the white Muscat of Momjan (three stars), which immediately impressed those wine professionals who had the opportunity to taste it. With Kabola he demonstrated that he was more successful as a

winemaker than he was as a restaurateur, which is the greatest possible compliment for this nice, modest and at first glance unambitious man.

Under the Kabola label Markežić also bottled his Malvoisie (two stars), but also a very good, full bodied, extracted, long Pinot Gris (three stars) with a restrained, sweet aftertaste and a somewhat oily structure.

With about 300 hectares of vineyards, Agrolaguna in Poreč is the largest Istrian winery. In

the former Yugoslavia Agrolaguna won medals at wine fairs, attempting to play the role of innova-tor in vinification; for example, they were the first in Croatia to use barriques. Today, their wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, represent sound value for money, but they cannot compare with the private Istrian producers.

Ortonero is a brand from the Istrian village of Brtonigla, which is owned by the Italian

company T.E.A. and the Italian Union of Rijeka.Wines bearing the Ortonero label are in fact

the product of local wine makers, and they are processed in the cooperative winery. The most important Ortonero product for the time being is the reliable, refreshing, relatively inexpen-sive and very dry sparkling wine produced exclusively from Malvoisie. In addition to the Ortonero line the Brtonigl cooperative produces Otium Coli de Verteneglio Malvoisie from the best local positions.

a G R o l a G u N a

Pešurić’s Misal (four

stars) is quite definitely the best Croatian

sparkling wine.

a R M a N

P e R š U R i ć

M a R k e Ž i ć

Markešić offers not only wines from the chief Istrian produ-cers, but also

his own Teran and Malvoisie.

o R T o N e R o

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21croatian wines




& h




T H e o N l y W I N e G R o W I N G a R e a of any significance in croatia’s littoral, i.e. from opatija up to northern Dalmatia, is the island of Krk.

he wine industry on that island experi-enced a boom some ten years ago when the whole country literally went mad for Žlahtina, the indigenous grape variety which yields light, relatively refreshing wines of low alcohol content and which are successful thirst quenchers. Suddenly, five or six pro-ducers of Žlahtina appeared on the market and in restaurants, both at the seaside and in Zagreb, the country’s capital, sold more Žlahtina than any other bottled wine. Over time, Žlahtina lost some of its popularity, but some of the major producers, such as PZ (Agricultural Cooperative) Vrbnik, Katunar

and Toljanić, are still doing quite a successful business. Žlahtina is a must on the tourist offer of the island of Krk.

Another island wor-thy of mention in the littoral area, alongside Krk, is Susak. Some 50 years ago, of the island’s total area of 375 hect-ares 288 hectares were under vineyards, and going still further back to the beginning of the last century over 300 hectares (87% of the island) was covered with vineyards. Today, the Italian winery Cosulich is cultivating Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, white Muscat and Cabernet Sauvignon on some 14 hectares.

Frajona is a company located on the island of Krk, although most of its vineyards are in Western Istria. On

the island the company produces one of the numerous local Žlahtinas, and a sparkling wine based on Žlahtina.

Of the Istrian varieties, Frajona vin-ifies Malvoisie and a relatively interest-ing Merlot which is allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation, matures in barriques and while young it has a raspberry aroma. This is one of the more drinkable red wines from that part of Croatia.

This is a relatively large producer (over 60 hectares), offering a stable

level of quality in the lower spectrum of the market at low prices.

The Katunar family were among the first private producers to appear

on the island of Krk. They capitalized on the once great demand for Žlahtina, a most definitely thirst quenching wine, and have built a modern winery and restaurant and tasting bar in Vrbnik. Katunar’s Žlahtinas are typical wines that Krk has been producing over the past ten years.

The Vrbnik Agricultural Cooperative is one of the largest

producers of Žlahtina. At the time when this wine was still very fashionable, Zlatna Žlahtina produced by PZ Vrbnik was the best selling wine in the restaurants of Zagreb. It is light, reasonably refreshing and easy going.

F R a J o N a

TouRIST BoaRD oF THe CouNTy oF PRIMoRJe - GoRSkI koTaR

n. tesle 2, p.p. 52, 51410 opatijatel.: +385 51 272 988Fax: +385 51 272 909

e-mail: [email protected]

For a detailed list of county tourist Boards, please refer to page 58.

k a T u N a R

P Z V R B N I k

Winemakers and wines t

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hose vineyards of the Babić variety are a protected world monument of cul-ture: planted on small terraces of red soil, fenced with step-like walls which, viewed from a distance, give the impression (as Professor Sokolić wrote in his Golden Book on Wines) of an orderly chess board. Sadly, the vineyards of Primošten, which once covered about 200 hectares, have been in decline for years, but they still remain undoubtedly the most attractive wine location on the whole stretch of coast between Zadar and Trogir.

But Northern Dalmatia, particularly the hinterland of Zadar, also possesses great potentials for wine production. There was a time when Maraština, a quali-ty white grape variety, was widely cultivated in the area of Benkovac and around Zadar and Biograd. It is interesting to note that it was around Benkovac that, in the 1980s, the first serious attempts were made to plant vineyards of Grenache

and Syrah/Shiraz in Croatia, from which wines of the same names were produced and bottled.

The Homeland War hit Zadar and Šibenik hard, as well as their hinterlands, effectively halting the deve-lopment of wine growing and the wine industry in that region. Nowadays however, bearing in mind a tourist industry which is growing from strength to strength, it is realistic to expect a revival and an advance in the wine industry in those two cities and in the areas close to them. Šibenik already has a large wine producing com-pany (Vinoplod) which, in addition to producing a pre-mium Babić, has the capacity to process over 100,000 litres of wine per year. In the spring of 2005, Badel, a Zagreb based wine industry, began a grapevine planting campaign involving an area of over 400 hectares in the Zadar hinterland, the area known as Ravni kotari.

Winemakers and wines

The company near Skradin, owned by Alen Bibić, produces a range of wines characteristic of

23croatian wines


t enjoyedthestatusofaworld

attraction of such significance that a large panoramic photograph of those vineyardsisdisplayedintheUNbuildinginNewYork.

o N C e u P o N a T I M e T H e V I N e y a R D S o F P R I M o Š T e N





r a






TouRIST BoaRD oF THe CouNTy oF ZaDaR

Sv.LeopoldaB.Mandića1;23000Zadar;tel.: +385 23 315 107

[email protected];www.zadar.hrTouRIST BoaRD oF THe

CouNTy oF ŠIBeNIk FraN.Ružićabb;22000Šibenik,

tel.: +385 22 219 072 e-mail: [email protected]


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2�croatian wines

Northern Dalmatia and the Dalmatian hinterland. Bibich riserva (two stars) is vinified from Babić

grapes, from the less known local varieties Lasina and Plavina, and from the international varieties Grenache and Syrah. Bibich riserva is allowed to mature in barriques for 12 months. This is a smooth, light, quite charming and correctly produ-ced red wine which could go well with grilled or salt pickled sardines, prosciutto, or with pasta served with tomato-based sauces. It is one of the rare Dalmatian wines which can be drunk as a thirst quencher. Regrettably, in the last few years we did happen across several bottles of very poor quality.

In addition to Bibich riserva, Alen Bibić also bott-les several types of Debit and a red, non-barriqued Bibich produced from grapes harvested from his three-hectare vineyards and from grapes procured from the areas of Promine and Benkovac.

Babić is unarguably the greatest wine attraction of Central Dalmatia, as much for its

famous vineyards as for the true potential of this indigenous black variety. The largest pro-ducer is Vinoplod, the Šibenik winery, which also bottles a whole range of other wines: red, white and rosé.

Barrique aged Babić with a white and red label can, in some years, be a very, very impres-

sive wine. This is the only Dalmatian wine which can be compared with wine produced from Plavac mali. Babić is also bottled in one-litre bottles, but such wine is totally inferior to premium Babić, a wine with a high alcohol content which can, at times, be not only rich but sumptuous too.

It is regrettable indeed that so far no private wine maker sufficiently ambitious has come forward either in Šibenik or Primošten who could realize the full potenti-als of this variety.

r e v i t a l i Z a t i o n o F v I N e Y a R d Si n n o r t H e r n D a l m a t i a Badel of Zagreb, whose range of wines offered to the market is restricted mostly to those of medio-cre quality, sometimes with labels of wineries from prestigious wine growing areas (like Ivan Dolac, a red wine from Hvar), has embarked on an exceptionally significant, almost revolutiona-ry enterprise of reviving vineyards in Northern

24 croatian wines

Babić is unarguably the greatest wine attraction of Central Dalmatia, as much for its famous vineyards as for the true potential of this indigenous black variety.

Dalmatia. Specifically, in the hinterland of Zadar Badel has initiated the planting of vineyards on an area extending to 400 hectares, which is pro-bably the most ambitious campaign for vineyard revival in Croatia, the grapes in question being mostly of red international varieties.

It will take five to six years for us to see whe-ther Northern Dalmatia, and in particular the areas around Zadar, does have a potential for the production of serious red wines. Whatever the case may be it is quite clear that wines from Northern Dalmatia will not be able to compare favourably with wines from Hvar and Pelješac for a long time, either in prestige or in price; in other words wines from the Zadar hinterland will play second fiddle within the

range of red Dalmatian wines for some time to come. Realistically speaking, the only (and very important) objective at this point in time is to plant vineyards and to establish reasonab-ly modern and clean vinification. Anything of a more ambitious nature is of secondary impor-tance. And so we stress once more: Badel’s investment in vineyards in Dalmatia is pos-sibly the most ambitious project of its kind in Dalmatia and deserves unconditional praise.

Barrique aged Babić, a wine

with a high alcohol, is the

only Dalmatian wine which can

be compared with wine

produced from Plavac mali.

b a b i ć

Northern Dalmatia,

particularly the hinterland of Zadar, also

possesses great potentials for wine produc-


dalmatiaZ a d a r a n d š i b e n i k r e g i o n

Page 14: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming

t is there that on hard, poor, stone based soils, but in ideal climatic condi-tions, Plavac mali is grown. This is the most precious of all Croatia’s indig-enous varieties, which yields wines that can become a prestigious Croatian export product. As luck would have it, those very locations, on which some

of the best Croatian wines are being produced, are at the same time the most attractive parts of this land touristically speaking. Notably, for sev-eral successive years now Hvar and Dubrovnik have been the champions of Croatian tourism and the most favoured Croatian destinations for the world’s jet set.

Private wine production in Central and Southern Dalmatia has been witnessing a seri-ous impetus only in the last seven to eight years, but already very good results are being achieved. Apart from the ever more varied range of Plavac wines on offer, with those from Hvar, Brač and Pelješac being by far the best, this part of Dalmatia also produces several premium white wines, mostly from Pošip, yet another indigenous variety. Two other indigenous varieties, Grk and Vugava, also possess great potentials. Prosecco is a special dessert wine from Dalmatia produced from dried raisins and/or cooked must, and can be absolutely fascinating.

With further investment in vineyards and relat-ed technologies and with continuing raising of standards, Central and Southern Dalmatia could become wine destinations of world significance.

P r o Š e K Honey sweet, sumptuously rich Prošek with high alcohol content is possibly the most valu-

27croatian winesdalm



t a







Hvar,Brač,Korčulaandvis,andthe PelješacpeninsulaisinfactthemostimportantwinegrowingzoneinCroatia.

T H e a R e a I N V o l V I N G T H e I S l a N D S o F


TouRIST BoaRD oF THe CouNTy oF DuBRoVNIk - NeReTVa

CvijeteZuzorić1/I,p.p.259, 20001 Dubrovnik

tel.: +385 20 324 999e-mail: [email protected]

www.visitdubrovnik.hrTouRIST BoaRD oF THe

CouNTy oF SPlIT PrilazbraćeKaliterna10/I;21001Split;Tel/Fax:+38521490032

e-mail: [email protected]


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able Croatian contribution to the world’s wine industry. How original a wine Prošek is and how great it can be is borne witness to by an almost ecstatic review given to Tomić’s Hectorovich, one of the best Prošeks, by La Revue du Vin de France. And that to a wine which, according to Tomić himself, has not been produced in accordance with the highest standards for such wine. If a Prošek that is made to less than the highest standards was able to delight French wine critics and sommeliers, we can only imag-ine what reaction an ideally produced Prošek

would cause.What, in fact, is Prošek?

Well, it is a dessert wine which, in ideal circumstanc-es, should be vinified from dried grapes, mostly a com-bination of white varieties such as Maraština, Grk and Vugava, but also from lesser known indigenous varieties. It contains between 15 and 17 vol. alcohol and over 100g of unfermented sugar. Prošek can also be produced from Plavac mali, as Zlatan Planković is proving with no small success. In practice, however, there are precious

few producing Prošek from dried raisins only. Even Andro Tomić makes his Hectorovich with 30% of cooked must. He does however say that he is soon to begin the vinification of Prošek exclusively from dried grapes, and goes on to suggest that there should be two categories of Prošek: a more expensive version, made com-pletely naturally, and a less expensive version to which cooked must could be added.

Whatever the case, Prošek, this great sweet wine of Dalmatia, which blends ideally with a range of cakes containing walnuts, almonds and dried figs, could become almost as important for the Croatian wine industry as Tokay is for the Hungarians. In short, Prošek possesses the potential of assuming the role of the most elite Croatian export wine.

P l a v a c m a l i When the great Mike Grgić returned to Croatia one of the main tasks he set himself was to prove the identicalness, or at least an affin-ity, between the American Zinfandel and the Croatian Plavac mali.

Subsequently, scientists established that Zinfandel is in fact Crljenac and that it is not directly related to Plavac mali, which ultimately might be better for Plavac, for it thus remains an absolutely indig-enous Croatian variety.

Wines produced from Plavac mali are not only the best that Dalmatia has to offer (with the exception of the sweet Prošek) but it can also become an important export product since they are truly unique both in aro-mas and in their structures. Owing to Plavac mali a sig-

nificant wine stage emerged in Central and Southern Dalmatia, dominated by producers from Hvar and Pelješac. While the Plavac wines from Hvar are less aggressive, more fruity and round bodied, those from Pelješac have a higher alcohol content, are more robust, with stronger, more pronounced tan-nins. There are, of course, exceptions, but generally speaking this division, also based on the type of soil, stands. An exception here is Mario Mendek, a Zagreb vintner recently turned wine-maker, who is now producing what is to date the most unusual French-style Plavac from Pelješac-grown grapes. Mendek’s wines are still too new and are generally unavailable, which is why we have not included them in the review of wines and wine producers.

The second important fact concerning Plavac mali is that it yields premium wines only on

Wines produced from Plavac mali are the best that Dalmatia has to offer since they are truly unique both in aromas and in their structures.Tomić’s Hecto-

rovich is one of the best

Prošeks, by La Revue du Vin

de France.steeply sloping locations; Plavac mali grown in the lowlands yields significantly inferior wines. The superior Plavac mali does indeed possess the character of Dalmatia: it is hot, tempera-mental, sumptuous, tart, somewhat rustic and, quite simply, unique.

d I N g a č Dingač of Pelješac is the best known wine-growing location in Croatia and there are mentions of it in foreign literature before WWII. There was a time when some 1200 hectares of the peninsula were under vine-yards with red grape varieties accounting for

90% of the area. Today it is not possible to say with any degree of exactness how much of the Pelješac peninsula is under vine-yards (as, after all, is the case elsewhere in Croatia). Dingač is located on the southern slopes, on calcified soil facing the sea, which means that all day they are exposed not only to direct sunlight but also to the reflec-tion of the sun off the sea.

In order to facilitate the har-vesting of grapes at Dingač, some thirty years ago a 380 metre-long tunnel was built through the hill linking the location with

the winery at Potomje, the site of the Dingač Agricultural Cooperative, until the emergence of private wine makers after 1990 the only producer of wine of the same name and the production of which at one time was limited to 1200 hectolitres per year.

Adjacent to Dingač is the locality of Postup, the second most valuable location on Pelješac, with similar characteristics and with a slightly larger production. Just as on Dingač the only variety grown here is Plavac mali.

Winemakers and wines

The most consistently constant red wine in Croatia produced, needless to say, from Plavac mali, is Zlatan plavac, produced in the village of Svetan Nedjelja on the island of Hvar, and which comes in three versions:

The standard, widely available Zlatan pla-vac with a light-blue label (two to three stars) which achieves the same quality practically each year and which has a similar taste and aromatic structure. This is a full bodied, rich and fruity, relatively finely rounded wine, enhanced by the typical earthy aromas of that variety, offering good value for money.

croatian wines28 croatian wines

04 dalmatias p l i t a n d d u b r o v n i k r e g i o n


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is, in better years, one of the best Croatian wines gener-ally speaking, but is particu-

larly applicable to the 1999 vintage which has a great potential for maturing but can, sadly, still be found only in the Sveta Nedjelja winery. Later harvests (as we write, the 2003 and 2004 vintages are on the market) were more than

satisfactory: these wines are exceptionally rich, expressive, slightly hard but already quite smooth, especially with red meats and hard cheeses like, for example, Pag cheese.

And finally, Zlatan plavac Gran Cru (four stars) with a white label which comes from the best selected locations above Sveta Nedjelja. Its vini-fication began only recently. This is an incredibly intense wine with high alcohol volume (over 15%), bottled in mini-mal quantities and one which should be allowed to age for at least three to four years before it is capable of showing its full potential. But bearing in mind

that Zlatan plavac Gran Cru is a totally original, unique and undoubtedly precious wine, one should taste it wherever its can be found.

Zlatan Plenković, a wine maker and wine grower on the island of Hvar, also produces two white wines: Zlatan otok and Zavala and Zlatan plavac rosé, but neither of these is worthy of any special interest. Besides his inferior white wines Plenković also produces and bottles an exquisite, thick, sumptuous Prošek. In contrast

to the majority of other Prošeks, which are based on a blend of white varieties, his is produced from Plavac mali. From about eighty hectares of vineyards the Zlatan Plenković Winery, founded in the early 1990s (one of its founders was oenologist Andro Tomić, the most prominent wine maker on the Dalmatian islands alongside Zlatan Plenković), produces around 400,000 bottles of wine per year, which even this is unable to meet an ever growing demand. We sincerely hope that market demands will not have a nega-tive impact on the truly high quality standards of Zlatan plavac.

Operating within the Plenković Winery is the Jidro Restaurant.

Andro Tomić of Hvar is the first Croatian wine maker whose wines received positive reviews

in the highly regarded French professional jour-nal La Revue du Vin de France. At a wine tasting held in the spring of 2004, French wine critics and sommeliers ranked two of Tomić’s wines among the best 100 wines outside France, and both found their way onto the front cover of the May, 2004 issue of the journal.

In describing Hectorovich Prošek (four stars), named after Petar Hektorović of Hvar, a well known Croatian poet of the Renaissance period, La Revue du Vin de France used only superlatives in reference to its richness and

thickness. Hectorovich is pro-duced from local white grape varieties such as Maraština, which are left to dry for from three to six months prior to vinification. Even though the wine is made wholly from dried grapes and containing one-third boiled mast it is still a wonderful dessert wine, replete with aromas of candied orange, honey, dried apricots, dried figs and walnuts. Tomić believes that in the not too distant future, when he is able to vinify Prošek exclusively from dried raisins, he will be able to achieve an even high-

er quality. Although in all honesty one must say that

Hectorovich Prošek as it is now is a beautiful wine with flavours of candied orange, honey, dried apricots, dried figs and walnuts.

Zlatan plavac Gran Cru with a white label, the wine with

four stars

30 croatian wines


Wines of Andro Tomić received positive reviews

in the highly regarded French

professional journal La

Revue du Vin de France.

Pošip and Plavac produced by Miljenko Grgić rate between three and four stars.

La Revue du Vin de France also gave very favourable reviews to Tomić’s 1999 Plavac barrique, which differs from other wines pro-duced from Plavac mali in its velvety elegance, mellow and integrated tannins, lower alcohol content (c. 13.5% vol.) and a somewhat less obvious, characteristic varietal aroma of Plavac mali. This is a wine produced almost in the style of a Supertuscan. At the time of writing the 2003 and 2004 vintages can be found on the market.

Regrettably, Tomić produces both his Prošek and his Plavac barrique in small quantities (less than 10,000 bottles each) and so they can be sound only in top-of-the range restaurants and in several leading wine boutiques.

In his Bastijana Winery Andro Tomić, for-merly the leading oenologist in Dalmatia for the Zagreb-based Badel barrique company and who spent six months in the wine cellars of France, also produces a dessert wine, Hektor, which in its method of production (addition of strong alcohol which arrests fermentation) and its aroma is a kind of Croatian Porto. His range of products includes several Plavac wines of lesser significance. Of late he has begun experimenting with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, which he grows on a small (total of 1.5 hectares) vineyard situated in the small, picturesque isles of Pakleni otoci, near the island of Hvar.

Both the Croatian wines pro-duced by the famous Miljenko Grgić (Pošip and Plavac) rate

between three and four stars and deserve a great deal of praise in what is unfortunately a still far too narrow spectrum of Croatian wine production.

In the second half of the 1990s Grgić built a modern winery in Trstenik, not far from Dubrovnik. He procures grapes for his Plavac from the Dingač and Postup locations, while grapes for his Pošip come from prime positions on the island of Korčula. His arrival to Croatia has undoubtedly set new, higher wine standards and has had a vital and positive influence on

croatian wines

P l e n k o v i ć

t o M i ć


M i l j e n k o g R g i ć

s p l i t a n d d u b r o v n i k r e g i o n

Page 17: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming


both the development of the Croatian wine industry and on the recognizable identity of Croatian wines on international markets. One innovation introduced by Grgić was his intro-duction of a system of the rigorous selection of grapes which local wine producers had not dared to implement. His popularity was cer-tainly unaffected by his habit of turning away

individual grape suppliers lit-erally from the doors of his winery if he considered their grapes not in a good enough condition. That is also among the reasons why his Pošips are vastly better that those pro-duced by any other Dalmatian wine maker from this same indigenous Croatian variety.

In the late 1990s, before the new wave of young Istrian wine makers had won recogni-tion and before Enjingi and Krauthaker raised their stand-ards to their present level, Grgić’s Pošip was the only Croatian dry white wine truly relevant in world terms.

The Plavac produced by this famous Californian Croat has shown great potential for maturing. Specifically, the 1999 vintage has now reached its full form, while the most recent vin-tages demand few more years of aging in bottles.

Grgić produces some 20,000 bottles each of barrique-matured Pošip and Plavac. Part of his Croatian programme is exported to the USA through his Grgich-Hills Californian Winery and still achieve rather good grades in American wine publications. His Cabernets consistently command relatively high prices

and his contribution to the development of the Californian wine industry will remain a part of the history of Napa Valley.

In the summer of 2002 the prestigious Bronstein wine boutique in Zagreb organized

a vertical tasting of Stagnum. Up until that point in time no other Croatian wine had either the honour or the opportunity to pass

through the test of time and changes obligatory for all the great wines of France, Italy or California. This wine tast-ing was also attended by the then Norwegian Ambassador in Croatia, a passionate col-lector of great and expensive Vega Sicilia Spanish wines; in other words a man who really knows wines. He was extremely impressed by the 1993 Stagnum, one of the very rare Croatian red dry wines to show a potential for maturing and which is therefore worth buying as an investment. Frano Miloš, an amateur wine

maker who until recently was of the opinion that tannins from a barrique only enhance the naturally high tannins in Plavac mali, is the author of this wine which, alongside Plenković’s Gran Cru, is probably the most original of all Croatian dry wines.

Stagnum (four stars from 1992 to this day) is a wild, utterly inelegant, but simply unbe-lievably rich and complex wine whose virtues more than compensate for its deficiencies. This is a wine to be savoured with heavy, hard old cheeses, for game, lamb chops and large, really, really rare steaks.

For this wine Frano Miloš com-mands the highest price of all Dalmatian dry red wines. Stagnum is a wine that once tasted is long remembered; a wine which provokes either distinctly positive or distinctly negative reactions, but it is also a wine which most definitely belongs to the few Croatian wine treasures of world relevance. It is produced from grapes grown in an impressive vineyard located on rock-based ter-rain above the village of Ponikve, on

The Plavac produced by this famous Californian

Croat Grgich has shown

great potential for maturing.

32 croatian wines


Fatiga, an ordinary Plavac,

quite light wine from


Grgić produces some 20,000 bottles each of barrique-matured Pošip and Plavac. Exported to the USA, they still achieve rather good grades in American wine publications.

Vedran Kiridžija of Potomje on the Pelješac peninsula is one of about ten wine producers who

have the honour of putting the name of Dingač on their wine labels. He owns a small vineyard in the locality of Mokale in the Dingač area where vines grow on gravel-based soil and from which he picks about 6.5 tonnes per hectare. And that is no small amount. But this relatively high yield by no means reflects adversely on the quality of his Dingač. Quite the contrary! Kiridžija’s wines are rich, concentrated, but at the same time exotic in their aromatic combi-nation, as Danijela Kramarić Tariba, Croatia’s leading female sommelier, observed.

Palate-wise his Dingač wines, in contrast to the majority other premuim Plavac wines from Pelješac, are are almost completely rounded, with a lingering, sweet and fruity aftertaste. In

croatian wines

F R a N o M I l o Š


Stagnum is a wild, utterly

inelegant, but simply unbelie-vably rich and complex wine.

the Pelješac peninsula. In addition to the dry version Stagnum is

occasionally vinified in a variety of semi-sweet or sweet wines (three to four stars).

Frano Miloš who, in the late 1990s was pro-ducing wines literally in his garage in Ponikve, thus quite unconsciously anticipated the trend of ultra expensive “garage” wines of the Bordeaux style.

Miloš also produces Fatiga (two stars), an ordinary Plavac, quite light and inexpensive, as well as Nadahnuće [Inspiration], an unu-sual white wine, a very heavy, rustic blend of the indigenous Dalmatian varieties, Pošip and Maraština.

k i R i d Ž i j a

s p l i t a n d d u b r o v n i k r e g i o n

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his cellar, which contains barriques, Kiridžija’s bottling plant produces around 5000 bottles of Dingač. These practically microscopic quanti-ties mean that this is a wine which should be bought and consumed wherever and whenever it can be found.

Vedran Kiridžija, who also produces and bot-tles about 6000 bottles of Plavac, is particularly and justifiably proud of his 2003 vintage.

The Dingač Agricultural Cooperative is the country’s biggest producer of Dingač

wines. The Cooperative possesses a large win-ery in which, alongside Dingač and Postup, less expensive wines such as Potomje and Pelješac are also produced.

Their Dingač, first with a brown and then a red label bearing a characteristic sketch of a donkey, has for decades symbolized the wine from what is indisputably the best posi-tion in the whole of coastal Croatia. Dingač produced by this Cooperative, which operates within Badel, a large, Zagreb-based company, has always been a thick, full-bodied, rich wine with a high alcohol volume. It is will be inter-esting to see the company’s response to the challenge posed by numerous private produc-ers of Dingač.

In 1990 a semi-dry version of Dingač won a silver medal at one of the wine fairs in France.

Postup was long regarded as the other face of Dingač, only slight-ly less expensive. But Postup

is also an exceptionally valuable area on the Pelješac peninsula, where Plavac mali is grown. The Postup Agricultural Cooperative of Donja

Banda produces wine of slightly lower alco-hol volume and is somewhat less rich than Dingač. In addition to their standard Postup the Cooperative produces Carsko vino, also Plavac from the area of Postup, very often somewhat sweetish although this is not a des-sert wine.

The Miličić Winery is one of the more successful producers of Dingač. Their 1994 vintage,

the first to be produced in a barrique, can still be found in some places and enjoys the status of a cult wine. This winery owns about 5 hectares of vineyards on Pelješac.

Like Kiridžija’s, Miličić’s Dingač wines also strive for elegance and roundness rather than mere strength and expressiveness. Their non-aggressive nature and complexity make them ideal for red meats in dark sauces, which would be in open dispute with Stagnum.

Ivan Dolac is both the name of probably the best vineyard on the island of Hvar and of

the brand owned by the Svirče Winery, which operates within Badel 1862.

Ivan Dolac barrique (two to three stars) is Badel’s attempt to respond to the success achieved by Plenković’s Zlatan plavac. Two or three years ago a great deal of effort (and most likely money) was invested in a pro-motional campaign to make this wine a must on the lists of virtually all leading res-taurants in Zagreb, as well as up and down Dalmatia. This wine is very reliable, relatively rich and has the aroma of the island of Plavac, which differs considerably from that of Pelješac. Ivan Dolac is also produced in a non-barrique aged version.

Here it is interesting to mention the fact that Andro Tomić, who now owns the

Bastijana Winery and who produces a bril-liant barrique-matured Plavac and the exquisite Hectorovich Prošek, was for many years the senior oenologist of the Svirče Winery.

34 croatian wines


Ivan Dolac is both the name of probably the best vineyard on the island of Hvar and of the brand owned by the Svirče Winery.

Hrvoje Baković of Brač is the only Croatian wine maker who, following the comprehensive

wine tasting event organized in the Croatian Embassy in Paris in the spring of 2004, qualified alongside Andro Tomić for a review in La Revue du Vin de France, an eminent wine journal.

Baković’s Plavac Murvica, produced on a mere two hectares of vineyards on the loca-

tion of Bratinska luka, and Gnjila on the island of Brač, received very good reviews from the French experts. Murvica (three stars) is a concentrated, warm and thick wine with an easily recognizable aroma. Regrettably, the small quantities in which it is produced make it relatively difficult to find.

Faros is a long established name for a Plavac mali wine from the island of Hvar produced by the

Hvar Wineries operating within Dalmacijavino, a large company in Split.

Faros, for which grapes are grown in the locality of Hvarske plaže, is produced in a bar-rique (red label, two to three stars), and a non-barrique version (white label, two stars). Both wines are typically of medium to high alcohol volume (13.5 - 14 vol.). They have the strong aroma of Plavac and produce a relatively sweet aftertaste.

The barrique version is somewhat richer, more rounded and ages well. It is still possible to find on the market the 1999 vintage, one of the best ever in Dalmatia, and the Faros of that year was, at the time this text was written (spring of 2006) in a rather decent form. It is a very good representative of Plavac wines from islands which are, generally speak-ing, soft wines that go well with grilled red meat and spit-roasted lamb.

croatian wines

M i l i č i ć


P z d i n g a č

P Z P o S T u P

I V a N D o l a C

Ivan Dolac barrique is very reliable, relati-

vely rich and has the aroma

of the island of Plavac.

b a k o v i ć

F a R o S

s p l i t a n d d u b r o v n i k r e g i o n

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with cigars. And with all due respect to Roki’s originality, for a wine like Matadur a barrique is practically essential.

In any event, it is going to be intriguing, not to say educational, to observe the progress of Matadur over the next three to four years.

Ivo Skaramuša of the village of Kuna on Pelješac is one of the first more important private

producers of Dingač. He was also a member of the association of private wine makers founded in the first half of the 1990s, and which also included Ivan Enjingi, Davor Zdjelarević and Vlado Krauthaker, although the association was short lived..

Skaramuša owns four hectares of vineyards, some of which are in the Dingač area. His Dingač, which he makes both from his own grapes and from those procured from other growers, is typically aggressive, rough and strong, just like the rock-bound land on which Plavac mali grows on the best locations on Pelješac.

The Agricultural Cooperative of Čara on the island of Korčula is one of the two main produc-

ers of wine from Pošip, a superb indigenous


Roki’s Winery on the island of Vis, owned by Nikša Roki, could metaphorically be described as

an authentic punk project among Croatian wine producers.

To wit, this winery produces a range of quite untypical wines from typical varieties, first and foremost from Plavac mali and Vugava (which, incidentally, until recently was regarded as being the same as Viogner, but that has been disproved by DNA analyses). Roki’s range of wines includes two sparkling wines and a Prošek. But his most important and most impressive product is Matadur, a wine pro-duced from Plavac mali and which in 2000 reached an enviable 16% (or to be precise, 15.93 vol), thus becoming the most potent dry white wine bottled in Croatia. Roki’s Vugava also reaches over 15% of alcohol content. Returning to Matadur, this to a degree is a still more expressive version of Miloš’s Stagnum: hot, fruity and sweet in fragrance, sumptu-ously sweet on the tongue (though actually dry), with tannins and alcohols raging wild to the same degree, but with acids also making themselves felt. It is quite unfinished but at the same time truly unforgettable. I am absolutely convinced that this is a wine to be drunk with desserts, with heavy, hard cheeses and, yes,

36 croatian wines


variety. The other producer is the Jedinstvo Agricultural Cooperative of Smokvica.

The prestigious wine from Čara, where the local win-ery procures grapes from members of the Cooperative, is Marko Polo Pošip which, in 2002, pos-sessed over 14 vol. alcohol. Although Čara Pošip wines are inferior to those produced by Grgić, they are still fine, modern wines, rather full bod-ied but relatively fresh, which tell a detailed story of

the variety from which they are made and the area from which they come. We believe that Marko Polo which, like other wines from PZ Čara, are distributed by Dalmacijavino, has a very good future, particularly in the direct tour-ist sale and particularly if one bears in mind that Korčula is one of the places central to the future of Croatian tourism. And Pošip wines from Čara do make a perfect companion to lobsters, the larger fish and scampi.

Mario Mendek, a Zagreb vint-ner, could bring about a total change in the production of

wine in Dalmatia. Born in 1962 in Zagreb, Mendek is both a “naturschik” and a perfection-ist. He possesses no formal oenological educa-tion but through his catering and trading career this absolute wine fanatic, owner of the “Kult Dioniza” (Cult of Dionysus) Wine Boutique, familiarized himself with the finest wines in the world by visiting the wine cellars of great winer-ies such as Domaine de Romanee Conti, while at the same time trading in slightly inferior prod-ucts such as Frajona’s Žlahtina. In the course of his, in the field, research of the world of great

Pošip wines from Čara are fine, modern wines, rather

full bodied but relatively fresh.

croatian wines

R o k I ' S


M a R I o M a N D e k

s p l i t a n d d u b r o v n i k r e g i o n

Impressive vineyard located

on rock-based terrain above the village of

Ponikve, on the Pelješac penin-


S k a R a M u Š a

P z P o š i P , č a R a

Winery of Mario Mendek near Dubrovnik is without any argument the most advanced and the most modern enterprise ever undertaken within the wine industry in Dalmatia.

Page 20: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming


wines he developed an almost flawless feel for assessing wines, particularly red wines.

In September 2002 Mario Mendek brought with him to Pula, Croatia, the great Angelo Gaja, the most prominent producer from Piemonte. During a meet-ing in Vasabbion, Gaja was seated between Mendek and myself. At one point in the proceedings Gaja said that he would like to produce wines at Pelješac, from either Plavac or from a blend of Plavac and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mario later told me how he and Gaja (Mendek has been importing Gaja’s ultra-expensive wines into Croatia for a consider-able period of time) had long dreamt of establishing a joint

winery on Pelješac and planting new vine-yards. Regrettably, that plan which, consider-ing Gaja’s incomparable reputation, would

have ensured the launching of Croatia’s wines to the very centre of the world’s wine stage, never came to fruition. But only two years elapsed from that hedonistic wines dinner in Pula to when Mario Mendek released his own first wines onto the market.

These are Enigma, Mozaik (two to three stars) and Selekcija (four stars). Grapes for these wines are picked at Dingač and Postup, in other words from the best positions on Pelješac. The wines were made by Roberto Cipresso, one of Italy’s leading winemakers. Among other things Cipresso was the author of some of the great Tuscany (La Fiorita from Brunello de Montalcino) and Argentinean wines. Cipresso belongs to that group of winemakers which is ever determined to emphasize the values of a particular area and micro-climate, i.e. the goût de terroir of, in this case, Pelješac. And he cer-tainly achieved admirable results with Selekcija, Mendek’s prestigious wine.

While Mendek’s Mozaik is just another of the better quality Plavac wines and which compares with Planković’s standard Zlatan

38 croatian wines


Selekcija, prestigious

wine of Mario Mendek, could

compete on theinternational

level in the high categories.

Plavac (although Zlatan Plavac is somewhat sweeter) Selekcija, with its prominent, but still unfinalized and quite unappealing black label, or perhaps despite it, truly is a wine which has altered standards in the Croatian wine industry. Although the 2003 Selekcija was released onto the market too early, it has still outclassed the ever increasing competi-tion. It is an elegant and strong wine with a very complicated bouquet and almost velvety in texture, one which completely alters the preconception of a Plavac mali wine as being necessarily rustic and aggressive. Furthermore, Selekcija has clearly shown that a premium Mali plavac wine need not be produced in miniature quantities. Quite to the contrary, the 2003 harvest produced 20,000 bottles, while the 2004 vintage (which, to judge from what I have tasted from the barrel, is even more impressive than the very good 2003) could give at least 30,000 bottles.

Mario Mendek’s winery is located in a large warehouse of the former tourist complex “Vrtovi sunca” [Gardens of the Sun] some 15 minutes’ drive from Dubrovnik in the direc-tion of Pelješac, extends for as much as 6000 m2 and is a combination of a factory hall and a pharmacy (cleanliness being one of the cru-cial criteria in wine production!). Particularly impressive are the lines of altogether 140 bar-riques in which the 2004 Selekcija is aging.

croatian wines 39

s p l i t a n d d u b r o v n i k r e g i o n

Grapes for Enigma, Mozaik

and Selekcija are picked at Dingač and

Postup, the best positions on


Southern Dalmatia could

become an attractive wine destination in

the world terms.

Private wine production in Central and Southern Dalmatia has been witnessing very good results in the last seven to eight years.

This winery is without any argument the most advanced and the most modern enterprise ever undertaken within the wine industry in Dalmatia.

If only some of the more ambitious Dalmatian winemakers were to adopt Mendek’s work-ing methods (which include hand selection of grapes on tables in the winery) Southern Dalmatia could become an attractive wine des-tination in world terms. For now it is a pleasure to state that Mendek’s Selekcija is one of only two or three Croatian red wines which could, without any complexes, compete on the inter-national level in the high categories.

Page 21: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming

he amount of wine produced in the vicinity of Zagreb is relatively unambi-tious, or is based on poorer varieties such as Kraljevina and Portugieser which can be good for a spritzer (or, as they say in and around Zagreb, a “gemišt”) or as a thirst quencher, but it cannot compare with the main wines from other Croatian wine regions. However, there are several dedicated winemakers and wine growers around Zagreb listed in this review whose examples show that hills surrounding Croatia’s capital city

can indeed produce premium wines. For instance, the Chardonnay produced by Korak and by Tomi, or the sparkling wine Šenpjen, can become a tourist trademark of Zagreb. It is to be hoped that many more winemakers will opt for producing ambitiously serious wines, which the soils around Zagreb make possible.

Winemakers and winesŠ e n P j e n The story of Šenpjen, one of the first Croatian sparkling wines, is unique, exciting, even tragic, but with the possibility of having a happy end.

In the early 1990s, Ivan Turk, an electronics expert of Zagreb, began producing sparkling wines as a hobby in his vineyard hut above Šenkovec, towards the Slovene border. Having travelled through France, Turk became an admirer of Krug. Using the grapes from his small vineyard, where over ten different varieties are still being grown,

41croatian wines



Kaptol5;10000Zagreb;tel.: +385 1 4898 555Fax: +385 1 4814 340

e-mail: [email protected]

include Zelina Hills, Plešivica Hillsandvukomeričkegorice.Theareaproducesrelativelylargequantitiesofwines,whichiswhywinemakersoftheCountyofZagrebsometimesclaimtobe




T H e W I N e G R o W I N G a R e a S a R o u N D Z a G R e B

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43croatian wines42 croatian wines


of sparkling wine. But one cold winter day at the end of the 1990s, Ivan Turk slipped and fell in his vineyard and died instantly. But despite this tragedy Šenpjen did not disappear. The business was taken over by Turk's daughter, Lidija Volovec, after whom he had named his rosé sparkling wine.

Of late the quality of Šenpjen has fallen dramatically in comparison to that produced in the early and mid-1990s. However, the wine that the author of these lines tasted this summer, having purchased haphazardly off a shelf in one of the local supermarkets, was a very pleasant surprise. After Peršurić's unparalleled Misals, Šenpjen is today certainly the second-best Croatian sparkling wine, having a solid body, typical Champagne aromatic compounds (yeast, brioche, a tinge of citrus) and fine effervescence.

Šenpjen is produced from a whole range of varieties, including Graševina, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon, Rhine Riesling, Tramin-er, Pinot Noir and Frankovka. From a vineyard less than one hectare in area, eight to ten tonnes of grapes are picked every year, sufficient for some 9,000 bottles of Šenpjen. It remains a relatively expensive wine but its quality is coming ever closer to justifying its price.

Velimir Korak is a quite untypical Zagreb winemaker. Notably, the majority of wines produced in

the hills around Zagreb have high acidity, thin body and negligible aromatic compounds and are mostly used for “spritzers”, and those that can be unreservedly recommended with a clear conscience are few and far between.

Korak's wines are at the very top of that short list, part of which is Šenpjen. His barrique-aged Chardonnay (three, possibly four stars) is a classic Californian, and not a Zagreb or even a Croatian wine, with unusually dominant traits of butter and butterscotch. Big, heavy, muscu-lar, uncompromising, it goes very well with cholesterol-rich creamy sauces and with veal in versions like Saltimbocca Romana. After two hours of breathing it acquires a fragrance, even the gently oxidised taste of a fine sherry.

Korak's Sauvignon Blanc (two to three stars) in one of the recent harvests attained over 14% of alcohol, but regrettably it has lost the elegance and vibrancy characteristic of that variety. Nevertheless, it remains one of the better Croatian Sauvignons and which most certainly deserves to be tasted.

and with the help of the Slovene oenologist Janez Istenić, Turk attempted to produce a sparkling wine according to the traditional méthode champenoise. His friends liked it so much that they persuaded him to enter the wine at the once eminent Ljubljana Wine Fair. Turk did send his wine to that fair in bottles without any label worthy of the name (in fact, at that time the

bottles had no label) and won the gold medal! And so, almost overnight, Šenpjen became one of the Croatian wines most in demand. Among his permanent clients were INA and the Office of the President of the Republic. Despite its relatively high price (in terms of Croatian circum-stances then obtaining) of about DM 50 a bottle Šenpjen was also doing very well in retail sales, while the more ambitious restaurants always included it on their wine lists.

Thus a hobbyist-come-enthusiast and admirer of Krug and Bollinger came close to realising his life dream: to become a successful, indeed eminent producer

The area produces relatively large quantities of wines, which is why winemakers of the County of Zagreb sometimes claim to be the leading wine producers in the country.

The Mladina Winery in Jastrebarsko near Zagreb produces wines from grapes picked on its 75 hectares

of vineyards. The location of Mladina, from which the winery takes its name, is one of the best within the Zagreb wine growing area. The varieties grown in these vineyards include Chardonnay, Riesling, Graševina, Traminer, Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc and Muscat Ottonel. The winery produces about 300,000 bottles of wine which are light and refreshing and offer good value for money. Standing alone in the range from others in terms of quality is Traminac.

Vinogradarstvo Tomac [Viticul-ture Tomac], as the small and interesting winery in Jastrebarsko

is officially called, is another example of a success story from the wine growing hills around Zagreb.

The Tomac family owns 4.5 hectares of vineyards, with Čipkovica and Bresnica being regarded as the most valuable localities. The family is at pains to point out that all their wine is produced from grapes grown in their own vineyards and they are particularly proud of their barrique-aged Chardonnay Premier (three stars) stored sur lie (i.e. on its own sediment). However, they continue to filter it because they consider that the market is

not yet ready for unfiltered wines with a very pronounced taste and aromatic compounds.

A point of interest is that alongside the French barriques, Tomac also uses barriques produced by the Croatian cooper, Mijlenko Golob. The fact that professional wine growing and wine making has a 200-year tradition in their family is a source of great pride to them. Today, they produce around 35,000 bottles, with sparkling wines accounting for almost one-third of that figure. One of their sparkling wines (1994 vintage) won an award at a wine exhibition in France.

k o R a k

Šenpjen, produced from a whole range

of varieties, is one of the first Croatian

sparkling wines.

M l a D I N a

T o M a C

Viticulture Tomac, the

small winery in Jastrebarsko, is an example of a success story from the wine growing hills

around Zagreb.

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t the time, Štrigova in Međimurje was renowned for being one of the most important wine centres

in continental Croatia. The wine growing country in Međimurje

still provides several premium wines, primari-ly by the Bobnjar family and which are akin to Slovene wines from the far bank of the Mura River (fruity, high level of acidity, moderate alcohol content). However, economically well developed Međimurje is still awaiting the arrival of its first great wine ‘guru’ to inspire local winemakers to modernize production and to more efficient exploitation of what are unquestionably very good natural potentials.

Winemakers and wines

The Bobnjar fa-mily is numbered among the

pioneers of private wine production in Croatia. Their wines are in fact a Croatian-Slovene family joint venture: their vineyards are on the location of Globočki vrh, in Međimurje, Croatia, while the cellars are across the border in Slovenia. Bobnjar wines regularly win

4�croatian wines


CouNTy oF kRaPINa - ZaGoRJe Zagrebačka6,49217KrapinskeToplice

tel.: +385 49233653;Fax: +385 49 233 653e-mail: [email protected]

TouRIST BoaRD oF THe CouNTy oF SISak-MoSlaVINa S.ia.Radića28,44000Sisak

tel.: +385 44 540 163 Fax: +385 44 540 164

e-mail: [email protected] a detailed list of county tourist

Boards, please refer to page 58.


Pinot Blanc from Štrigova.

l o N G a G o , o R S o I T S e e M S ,

B o B N J a R






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47croatian wines46

06 northern croatiaprizes at Croatian wine competi-tions and offer excellent value for money. They also carry the designation “Recommended for Diabetics”, which makes them unique in Croatia.

Avgust and Albina Bobnjar have for a long time been the producers of the best Croatian Sauvignon (three stars), full of distinct fragrances of grass and green currants, markedly fresh, crisp and crystal clear. Their Chardonnay (three stars) and Graševina (two stars) are also reliable wines with a character-istically light body, high acidity

level and certain elegance. The Bobnjars own three hectares of

vineyards and their wines are readily available in supermarkets and in the majority of Zagreb restaurants. Their Sauvignon makes a perfect

companion to almost all summer salads, but especially with oysters and mussels. More is the pity that they are not attempting to produce more complicated wines but have preferred instead to stick with one and the same stand-ard vinification of simple, clean and refreshing wines for fifteen years, albeit successful ones.

To reiterate, Bobnjar's wines are very good and readily recognizable but it would be interesting to see what their grapes could do in different stylistic expressions.

In 2001 the 1999 vintage Sauvi-gnon (two to three stars) produced by the Belović family of Štrigova

won the title of champion at the Zagreb Vinovita, when this national exhibition of wines enjoyed a greater reputation than is the case today. That same year their 1999 Traminac was awarded the gold medal. Their victory at Vinovita ensured a place on the wine lists of the better Zagreb restau-rants for Belović Sauvignon: a distinctly aromatic,

Bobnjar wines regularly win prizes at Croatian wine competitions.

grassy, very full bodied wine which needs to be drunk as young as possible.

In addition to the Sauvignon and Traminer varieties grown on the six hectares of vineyards in Međimurje (of which the locations of Businščak and Železna gora are considered particularly valuable) Belović also cultivates Riesling, Šipon, Green Sylvaner, Graševina and Chardonnay, with a yield of around 7 to 10 tonnes per year. Production is about 15-20,000 bottles, 6500 bottles being Sauvignon and 4000 Traminac.

The family expects a great deal from the 2004 harvest which, they point out, produced grapes of excellent condition and with an optimum ratio of sugars to acids.

Professor Franjo Lovrec is one of the originators

of private wine making in Međimurje. In the first half of the 1990s his wines were a must on the wine lists of the majority of the better Zagreb restaurants and hotels. On six hectares of vineyards he grows Pinot Gris, Chardon-nay, Sauvignon, Riesling, Graševina and Traminer. The Lovrec wines are simple, light and refreshing.

Avgust and Albina Bobnjar

have for a long time been the

producers of the best

Croatian Sauvignon

(three stars).

On six hectares of vineyards

Lovrec grows Pinot Gris,

Chardonnay, Sauvignon,

Riesling, Graševina and


b e l o v i ć

l o V R e C

Page 25: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming

uring Communist Yugoslavia, Slavonia was used as a source of grapes for Slovene producers. For instance, Vinag of Maribor was using Graševina from Baranja, and Riesling from Baranja and Srijem to make vintage wines, some of which are still (now fifty years old) being sold at local auctions.

After all, Slavonia is the birthplace of Croatian private wine production. It was Ivo Enjingi, the man who in 2004, on September 15, was presented with

a gold medal as the absolute champion in his cate-gory for his 1998 wine, Venje, and who was the first Croatian private producer to be given the right to add to the label of his late harvest Graševina the desi-gnation of premium wine. That was back in 1988.

Slavonia does indeed have excellent potentials for the production of large quantities of superb wines, particularly white wines. One is presented with a difficult decision as to which of her viney-ards are of better quality and more challenging: Srijem and Baranja in the Danube basin, Đakovo in Eastern Slavonia, or Kutjevo in Central Slavonia.

The epicentre of Slavonian wine making is the area around Kutjevo. Ejningi, Krauthaker and PPK Kutjevo are the most important Slavonian pro-ducers, while Enjingi’s and Krauthaker’s ongoing experiments with new varieties are definitely divo-rcing modern-day Slavonia from its image of a mono-cultural Grassevina, i.e. Welschriesling, as it seemed six or seven years ago.

Together with Dalmatia, Slavonia could beco-me the second great Croatian exporter of wines, but not indigenous as is the case in Dalmatia (because there are in fact no indigenous varieties in Slavonia) but produced from international varieties.

49croatian wines



Slavoniaisthemostimportantwineregionandwhichisrapidlyrestoringitsworldreputation.Itneedsbepointedoutthatinthe 19thcenturySlavonianwineswerewidelydrunkintheCourtsofeurope,

particularly the Habsburg court.

T o G e T H e R W I T H D a l M a T I a a N D I S T R I a ,



TouRIST BoaRD oF THe CouNTy oF oSIJek - BaRaNJa

ŠetalištekardinalaF.Šepera1d/II,31000 osijek

tel.: +385 31 214 852 Fax: +385 31 214 853

e-mail: [email protected]

For a detailed list of county tourist Boards, please refer to page 58.

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�1�0 croatian winescroatian wines

07 slavoniaG r a s s e v i n a The majority of professional literature on wines regards Grassevina as a mediocre variety wit-hout specific varietal characteristics, one which cannot yield premium wine. In practice, there are numerous examples to the contrary, and the most important world advocate of Grassevina is the great Austrian winemaker Alois Kracher, whose Grasevina is consistently awarded bet-ween 95 and 100 points in the Wine Spectator and is commanding prices of 50-100 Euro for a small bottle. However, Kracher’s Grasevinas are sweet and botrytised, whereas the Croatian product is dry or semi-dry.

Slavonian winemakers have used this osten-sibly mediocre variety and have shaped it into their main means of survival, earnings and investment. It can be said that without any doubt Grassevina has created the new wine industry of Slavonia. All prominent winema-kers, Ivan Enjingi, Vlado Krauthaker and Davor Zdjelarević, earned their first serious money with Grasevinas, and it was only later that they moved on to more pretentious wines. Of them all only Ivan Enjingi remained completely loyal to Grassevina: his late harvest Grasevinas are constantly the best such wines produced in Croatia. The 2002 harvest received an award at the Decanter’s Global Wine Tasting, which lasted almost a year.

A whole range of smaller Slavonian producers continue to base a large part of their production on Grassevina. Only time will tell whether their loyalty to that variety which, incidentally, originates from France (although its alternative name is Laski, i.e. Italian Riesling) is a restrictive factor in the development of the Slavonian wine industry, or whether Grasevinas of Slavonia are going to establish themselves also as wines of international interest.

Winemakers and wines

Ivan Enjingi is a Croatian winemaker who has won the largest number of trophies and

to be producing his wines exclusively in Croatia. The London-based magazine Decanter, whose title rightfully carries the words World’s best

wine magazine, has decla-red Enjingi the overall champion in one of the categories that were being assessed during the course of a year-long wine tasting organized by the magazine, and which involved several thousand producers from wine making countries around the world.

Enjingi won the cate-gory of white blended wines (a blend of several

varieties) costing less than £10 He won the cham-pionship title with his truly glorious 1998 wine Venje (four stars), of which some 20,000 bottles were produced. Venje is a blend of barrique-nur-tured Riesling, Traminac, Pinot Gris, Grasevina and Sauvignon, and it fascinate with its fullness, elegance, oily structure and maturing capacity. Soon we are to see Venje 2002 (four stars) on the market, and Enjingi considers it to be even better than the champion version. Needless to say, Venje is produced only in the best years.

Apart from Venje, Decanter also rewarded, although with lower category awards, two other Enjingi wines: late harvest 2002 Grasevina (three stars) and Pinot Gris (three stars).

The story of Ivan Enjingi is paradigmatic for the development of the Croatian private wine indu-stry. When he appeared on the market towards the end of the 1980s Enjingi gave us a hint of his

ability to take advantage of superb wine growing areas of Slavonia. Some of his first bottles were simp-ly excellent, although many ended up being merely mediocre. But having established relatively large- scale production Enjingi managed to accrue a certain amount of funds which he invested in impro-vements of both the vineyards and his wine production.

Today, Ivan Enjingi produces a relatively wide range of wines, outstanding among which is an unusual Traminac with a very high alcohol content, vinified in the Alsace style (three stars), and Zweigelt from barrique (three

stars), one of the rare red continental wines of Croatia to deserve attention.

Slavonia has excellent potentials for the production of large quantities of superb wines, particularly white wines.

Enjingi owns 47 hectares of vineyards, which is an exceptionally large area for a private producer in Croatia. His vineyards include some of the best locations in the Valis Aurea [Golden Valley] around Kutjevo, such as Hrnjevac, Mitrovac and Venje, after which Decanter’s world champion was named.

Vlado Krauthaker is arguably the most important and most ambitious winemaker in present-day Croatia.

Just like Ejnigi’s career, Krauthaker’s can also be divided into two distinct periods: a period of accumulation of capital, when his Grasevina became a brand so prevalent among wines in Croatia (as is Ožujsko among Croatian beers) and a period of improvement in quality, setting of new standards, experimentation and production of premium wines.

Today, Krauthaker obtains his grapes from over 50 hectares of vineyards around Kutjevo and is producing between 280,000 and 350,000 bottles per year. Some of the white wines are fermenting and aging in barriques while the reds are first fermented in large barrels built from Slavonian oak (which Krauthaker refers to as “badanj”) and which, after fer-mentation, are stored for up to a

year in small, oak kegs.Krauthaker’s best locations

are Rosenborg and Mitrovac, which is where he also grows the Chardonnay variety which, a few years ago, won him a silver medal at the World Championship of Chardonnays in France and which really is one of the best Croatian white wines produ-ced lately. In addition to the brilliant Chardonnays bearing the names of those two viney-ards (four stars) Krauthaker’s standard Chardonnay marked as unfiltered (three stars) also deserves complimenting, while

his Sauvingon, also unfiltered and with a strong barrique aroma (three to four stars) requires no small amount of understanding and patience; it is an unusual, original wine produced without

Magazine Decanter has

declared Enjingi the overall

champion in the category of white blended wines costing less than £10.

k R a u T H a k e R

e N J I N G I

Krauthaker is produ-

cing between 280,000 and

350,000 bottles per year.

Enjingi's Zweigelt from barrique, one

of the rare red continental

wines of Croatia to deserve attention.

Krauthaker Merlot Rose, probably the most reliable dry Croatian


A few years ago, Krauthaker won

a silver medal at the World

championship of Chardonnays.

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07 slavonia

�3croatian wines

any compromises, which has achieved a certain degree of success on the market.

Standard Grasevina continues to be a perma-nent fixture on the wine lists of the majority of Croatian restaurants, while the semi-dry Zelen (made from a very rare but by no means indigenous variety) is a characteristic example of Krauthaker’s innovativeness. Merlot Rosé (three stars) is pro-bably the most reliable dry Croatian rosé, and Grasevinas from selection harvests (four stars) are at the very peak of dessert wines on offer.

Besides not filtering his best wines Vlado Krauthaker was among the first to begin picking green grapes, which should further enhance the structure, aromas and taste of Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs, and most certainly enrich the standard Grasevina. He has also planted a whole string of varieties which have so far not been commercially cultivated in Croatia, including Syrah and Viogner.

It is to be hoped that Krauthaker will soon achieve at least similar success with his red wines as he managed to do with his main white wines.

Until some ten years ago Kutjevo Grasevina was the symbol of Slavonian white wines and the most sought after item on the wine lists of the majority of restaurants in Croatia.

Kutjevački podrumi, producer of the Kutjevo Grasevina brand, have for decades functioned as a typical socialist giant in a country in which private individuals were not permitted to produce wine

for the market. The company, privatized in 2004 (the owner is Enver Moralić, oil businessman and a personal friend of Croatia’s President Mesić), owns 450 hectares of vineyards, which is an incredible amount given the circumstances in Croatia, addi-tionally procures grapes from about 700 vineyards.

In their mass production Kutjevački produ-mi have often neglected quality but their dessert wines rank not only among the best in Croatia but also among the better ones in the world. This is particularly applicable to their Traminac and Grasevina wines from the selection and ice-harvests (four stars), whose concentration and richness equal the premium Hungarian Tokays, while their elegance com-pares to that of the Sauternes and Barsac. In good years these are the best Croatian wines of all and although they may be quite expensive (50 euro for a small, 0.375 l bottle) they are worth every cent.

Kutjevački podrumi have recently promoted a line of superlative barrique-stored wines under the appellation De Gotho (Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay), while in their standard offer the ever solid Pinot Blanc (two stars) always deser-ves to be singled out.

For decades Đakovačka bis-kupija has been known for its mass wines produced from gra-pes coming from the location

of Trnava, where Đakovačka biskupija owns about thirty hectares of vineyards. The fragrant Traminac of Trnava, the best known product of the heir of the great Bishop Strossmayer of Đakovo, is a distinctly aromatic, heavy, some-what old fashioned white wine which neverthe-less bears witness to the potential of Traminac in that part of Slavonia. In addition to Traminac Đakovačka biskupija produces and bottles Chardonnay and Grasevina.

A view of the countless grape vines of the vineyards is always impressive, just as is the history of this area which tells us that

here, the tradition of wine growing reaches back to the times of Antiquity. Soil in Srijem is very rich and almost ideal for some of the most impor-tant international varieties, primarily Riesling and Traminer.

The company Iločki podrumi, which - like the whole of that area - suffered massive damage in the war, today owns over 250 hectares of viney-

�2 croatian wines

Together with Dalmatia, Slavonia could become the second great Croatian exporter of wine. Kutjevo, the epicentre of Slavonian

wine making. ards and their light and clean wines are, with regard to Croatian criteria, very inexpensive.

After Kutjevački podrumi this agricultural complex is the largest Slavonian producer of

wines, owning 350 hectares of vineyards which include locations on Trnava and Mandićevac, one of the more famous Slavonian vineyards. The most important wine produced by this Đakovo-based company is Traminac from Mandićevac, with which they regularly supply the Holy Father. Some years ago the vintage Grasevina from Đakovačka vina won the title of champion at a fair in Ljubljana. They also produce Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

Željko Adžić, one-time player for the Zagreb soccer club Dinamo, is one of the citizens of Kutjevo who

profited from the growing demand for Slavonian Grasevina some ten years ago.

His Graševina (two stars) is a reliable, smooth, daily wine, and its quality changes from harvest to harvest. It is often found in restaurants and coffee bars. In addition to Grasevina Adžić also produces Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir on a total of eight hectares of vineyards.

Davor Zdjelarević of Brodski Sutpnik is one of the first dedicated Croatian and Slavonian private winemakers.

Although just like other Slavonians he earned

his first serious money from Grasevina (two stars) his most successful wines are Chardonnays, which won him two silver medals at the French competition, Chardonnay de Mond. His wines are full bodied, clean, with fine acidity and at times resembling a standard Chablis in style.

In addition to Grasevina Sv. Klara and Chardonnay Reserve (which are being improved in barriques) Zdjelarević, who obtains his grapes from over 20 hectares of his own and leased vineyards, also produces a sparkling wine that goes by the name of Grof, as well as Pinot Noir and Merlot; a wine from the Incrocio Manzoni variety, a cross almost unknown in these parts which, in Zdjelarević’s version, attains over 14% of alcohol, as well as several blended wines.

The Zdjelarević family also owns a restaurant and a hotel in Borski Stupnik.

After Kutjevački podrumi Đakovačka vina is the largest

Slavonian produc-er of wines.

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Page 28: Croatian wines - Blue Danube Wine · croatian wines Writing about Croatian wines today is a pure and unadulterated pleasure. First and foremost, because Croatian wines are becoming

��croatian wines

impressumFüR DeN VeRleGeR: KroatisHe Zentrale Für tourismus



mirjana BraBec

TexT: ReNeBaKaLovIć

DeSIGN: meDia KoncePt FoToS: ivo Pervan, Damir FaBIjaNIć,SaŠaPjaNIć,RoMeoIBRIŠevIć,MILaN

BaBIć,daMILKaLogjeRa,jasminKa juG, miljenKo KLePaC,STIPeSURać,dagoRŠIć,MaRKoeRCegovIć DRuTTCk: rotooFFset - TISKaRaMeIć ZaGreB, 2005.

*Der verleger garantiert keine absolute Genauig-keit der hier veröffentlichten informationen und haftet nicht für eventuelle ungenauigkeiten oder Änderungen dieser informationen.

�4 croatian wines

closing deliberations

Development direction of the Croatian wine industry International successes achieved by Ivan Enjingi and Andro Tomić, and the excellent reviews given to Vlado Krauthaker and Ivica Matošević by Hugh Johnson, demonstrate quite clearly which way the Croatian wine industry should be going.

We are, of course, talking of constant improve-ment in quality.

Croatia can become an important and highly regarded wine country only if it dedicates itself to the production of wines of uncompromisingly good quality, preferably from indigenous varieties (which is why Dalmatia, with its Plavac mali and Istria with its Malvoisie, have a certain advantage over Slavonia). For several years now the trend on the world markets has been a growing demand for indigenous varieties, particularly with regard to the smaller wine producing countries.

Responsibility for a continual rise in quality rests primarily with the producers themselves. Just as the Istrian wine makers have set certain quality standards for Malvoisie through the annual fair Vinistra, so should Dalmatian pro-ducers set up a competition for Plavac, or an association which would continuously monitor the quality of individual Plavac wines and which would categorize wines not only based on their geographic origin but also on the basis of regu-lar annual wine tasting. This system has been implemented in Austria over the past 15 years and in that very same period the country has experienced a veritable wine renaissance.

Furthermore, procedures for the production of individual wines should be clearly defined. Andro Tomić, author of the exquisite Hectorovich Prošek, has proposed that production methods for several types of Prošek, one of the more important Croatian wines, and the qualitative differences between them, be defined by law.

In addition to constant insistence for higher criteria and continual tasting, control and assess-ment of wines, the second main direction of development for the Croatian wine industry must be urgent privatization of the remaining large estates owned by wine producers. There is no denying the fact that the best Croatian

wines are produced by private winemakers. In 2004 Kutjevački podrumi, a large and important company, has been privatized, but there are thousands of hectares of excellent vineyards in Slavonia which are still state-owned, and they could be providing grapes for some of the best wines in this part of Europe.

Finally, one of the essential directions in which the Croatian wine industry must develop is closer cooperation with restaurateurs: gas-tronomy and wine production are businesses that naturally go together. Considerably more must be done to ensure that restaurant own-ers know which Croatian wine to offer with a particular style of cuisine, and what it is that makes those very wines specific. Restaurants and hotels should, just as they are in Champagne or Tuscany, become permanent exhibition-come-information points for the Croatian wine indus-try. Added to all this is the necessity to plant new vineyards before Croatia becomes a member of the European Union, whereupon the expansion of vineyards will be legally limited.

Restaurants and hotels should,

just as they are in Champagne

or Tuscany, become perma-nent exhibition-come-informa-tion points for

the Croatian wine industry.


The missing links In order to ensure still better sales of Croatian wines through the tourist offer, in other words through restaurants, hotels, bars, wine bou-tiques, and also through direct sales from wine cellars along the wine roads, and to ensure their successful promotion on world markets, it is necessary to overcome several obvious structural problems that exist in the Croatian wine indus-try. This relates primarily to the accessibility of certain wines.

As we have already said (and as the Slovene example demonstrates), quantity is not the main precondition for good export results in the sphere of premium wines. However, notwithstanding a desirable penetration into Western markets, where wine could play a great role in promoting Croatian tourism, the Croatian wine industry does base itself on domestic consumption, which increases significantly during the tourist season.

We cannot stress strongly enough that Croatian wines must be a part of Croatia's image as an increasingly popular tourist desti-nation, and that they must become an integral element of the Croatian tourist product. In order to achieve this, the main Croatian wine brands must be relatively widely available which, however, must not reflect negatively on already achieved standards of quality.

The leading Croatian winemakers, particu-larly those from distinctly tourist-oriented areas such as Istria and Dalmatia, are facing a complex task: not to give in to the challenge of hyper-pro-

We cannot stress strongly enough

that Croatian wines must be a part of Croatia's

image as an increasingly

popular tourist destination.

duction, which necessarily results in a reduction in quality, while at the same time ensuring that there is no shortage of their main wines. This is particularly pertinent during the tourist sea-son and which was known to happen in 2004, in even some of the most popular Istrian and Dalmatian tourist centres.

Besides ensuring sufficient quantities, which in future can be ensured only through the plant-ing of new vineyards, the second most crucial issue is the introduction of quality standards. With the exception of several Istrian Malvoisies and Plenković's Zlatan plavac, Croatia does not have reliable brands in its tourist areas which, if rectified, would achieve at least a similar quality every year and which would ensure that such wines would be widely available. Quality stand-ardization is a precondition for recognizability and long-term market success of Croatian wines, especially those of medium level, which are mostly served in restaurants.

And thirdly, Croatian winemakers, with the exception of those from Istria, are not as yet investing enough in the promotion and market-ing of their wines. So far, the Croatian wine industry cannot claim to have implemented sys-tematic marketing methods, or to have achieved individual marketing successes which could be used as a general model of promotion. It is to be hoped that this brief wine guide will constitute a contribution towards a positive breakthrough that will serve to change the current situation.

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�7croatian wines

wine index

�6 croatian wines


MalvazijaMaraštinaMarkežić, MarinoMatadurMarko PoloMeđimurjeMendek, MarioMerlotMisalMitrovac,MiličićMiloš, FranoMirošević, NikolaMladinaMomjanski mućkat (bijeli muškat)MomjanChateau MontelenaMoralić, EnverMozaik


Nadahnuće (Miloš)Napa ValleyNobiloNovi Zeland




PelješacPeršurić, GiordanoPorečPilato

Piljac, JasenkaPlavac maliPlavacPlavac MurvicaPlenković, ZlatanPonikvePostupPosipPotomjePrimoštenski vinogradi,ProšekProvidence


Ravni kotariRefoškLa Revue du Vin de FranceRizlingRizvanacRobinson, JancisRoki, NikšaRosenbergrukatac


Santa LuciaSauvignon blancSivi pinotSkaramučaSlavonijaStagnumSusakSv. NedjeljaSvirče, PZSyrah





TeranTokajTomacTomić, AndroTraminacTrnavaTurk, Ivan


VenjeVinagVinoplodViognerVisVišinada,VrbnikVrbnik, PZ

Vugava,Vuletich, James


Zagrebačko vinogorjeZdjelarević, DavorZelenacZeleni silvanacZinfandelZlatan plavacZlatan plavac barriqueZlatan plavac grand cruZlatan otokZlatna valaZweigelt




Wine Spectator


Adžić, ŽeljkoAgrokorAgrolagunaAlbaAnimaArman, MarjanAura


Bastijana (Andro Tomić)BabichBabićBadel 1862Baković, HrvojeBelovićBibich, AlenBibich, ReservaBijeli pinotBobnjar,BogdanušaBračBrodski StupnikBronsteinBrtoniglia


Cabernet FrancCabernet SauvignonChardonnay

Chardonnay PremierCebaloCipresso, RobertoCoronica, MorenoCosulichCrljenacCrni pinotCroatina (Hrvatica)


Čara, PZ


DalmacijaDalmacijavino, SplitDecanterDebitDingaDingač, (Poljoprivredna zadruga)Degrassi, Moreno


Đakovačka vinaĐakovačka biskupija


Enjingi, IvanEnigma



FarosFatigaFermeFrajonafrankovkaFume Blanc


Gran MalvasiaGran TeranGraševinaGrenacheGrgich Hills,Grgić, MiljenkoGrk


HectorovichHrnjevacHvarHvarske plaže


Iločki vinogradi,Incrocio Manzoni,Ivan Dolac,

Ivan Dolac barriqueIstra


Johnson, Hugh


Kabola,Katunar,Korak,VelimirKorčula,Krk,Kiridžija, VedranKracher, AloisKramarić, DanijelaKrauthaker, VladoKutjevo,Kutjevački podrumiKrunčići


Laški rizling (graševina)Lovrec, Franjo,Lukćić, Androniko


Ljubljanović, Srečko


� Enoteka „Vinotrade-Vinum“, Vlaška 40, Zagreb, tel: 01 4836 003, fax: 01 4836 647, [email protected]

� Enoteka „Vivat i partneri d.o.o.“, Prisavlje 2, Zagreb, tel: 01 6195 968, fax: 01 6196 221,

� Enoteka „Badel 1862 d.d.“ Vlaška 116, Zagreb, tel: 01 4609 555

� Enoteka „Bornstein d.o.o.“, Kaptol 19, tel: 01 4812 361, fax: 01 4812 353 i Pantovčak 9, Zagreb, tel/fax: 01 4823 435, [email protected],

� Kult Dioniza, Kaptol centar


� Enoteka VINO ALPE ADRIA, hotel Excelsior, F. Supila 12, t. 020 312 618, 20 000 Dubrovnik, e-mail:[email protected],

� Enoteka-wine bar VINO ALPE ADRIA, hotel Dubrovnik Palace,

Masarykov put 20, 20 000 Dubrovnik, t. 020 430 485, e-mail:[email protected] ,


� Vinoteka „Bouquet“, vl. Edi Kantar, Trg. F. Tuđmana 3, Split, tel: 021 348 031

� Enoteka „Terra“, vl. Edi Kantar, Prilaz braće Kaliterna 6, Split, tel: 021 314 800


� Vinoteka „Exclusive wine Kerum“, vl. Željko Kerum, Fabrika bb, Hvar, tel: 021 717 034


� Baccus Carerra 5, 812-154, 098829282, Paolo Markulin, Grožnjan� Enoteka «Zigante tartufi», Grožnjan, 052/776-099, Zigante


wine shops

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�9croatian wines

general information

tourist offices

�8 croatian wines

TRaVel DoCuMeNTSPassport or some other identity document recognised through inter-nationalagreementwhichprovestheidentity and citizenship of the bearer.information: diplomatic missions of the republic of croatia abroad or the ministry of Foreign affairs and european integrations of the republic of croatia. Tel:0038514569964;e-mail: [email protected]);

CuSToMScustoms regulations of the republic of Croatiaareharmonisedwiththestand-ards of e.u. member states.Foreign currency may be freely taken inandoutofthecountry;localcurrencyup to an amount of 15,000.oo Kuna. more valuable professional and technicalequipmentmustbedeclaredat the border.when leaving the country, foreign citizens are entitled to tax refund for purchased goods exceeding 500.00 kuna (for each single item) on presenta-tionofacertified"TaxCheque"form.Pets (dogs, cats and animals of the martenfamily)whichareeithertravel-ling through the republic of croatia inthecompanyoftheirowners,orwhicharestayinginthecountryonatemporary basis, must, prior to entering thecountry,befittedwithamicrochiporbeclearlyandlegiblymarkedwitha number prior to being entered in the international certificate issued in accordancewithlegislationvalidintherepublic of croatia.after the first vaccination against rabies carried out at the age of three months, animals must be vaccinated at least

six months and no more than one year prior to undertaking the journey, and inthecaseofsubsequentvaccinations(boosters)theperiodbetweenvaccina-tion and the journey undertaken shall not be greater than one import into, or temporary residence in, the republic of croatia shall be permitted in the case of possibly dangerous dogs of the terrier breed, ofthebullterriertype,whichhavenotbeen entered in the register of the international Kennel club (Fci) (pit bull terriers) or their cross-breeds.information: customs administration, republic of croatiaTel:016102333;

CuRReNCythe official currency in croatia is the Kuna (1 Kuna = 100 lipa).Foreign currency may be exchanged in banks, exchange offices, post offices, tourist agencies and hotels.

PoST aND TeleCoMMuNICaTIoNSPost offices are open from 7 a.m. to 7p.m.onweekdays,insmallercentresfrom7a.m.until2p.m.;someofficesworkasplitshift.Inmosttownsandtourist centres, on-duty post offices are open on saturdays and sundays.Phone cards are used in all public telephones and may be purchased from postofficesandfromnewspaperandtobacco kiosks. international calls may be made directly from all public telephones.

MeDICal SeRVICeSthere are hospitals and clinics in all largertownsandcities;inthesmallercentres there are dispensaries and pharmacies.Foreign visitors are not obliged to pay for medical services if a convention on health services has been signed betweenCroatiaandvisitors'countryof origin. expenses incurred as a result of health services rendered to persons comingfromcountrieswithwhichnosuch convention has been signed are charged directly to the user, as per price list. For patients in a life-threaten-ing situation, emergency air transport (helicopter) and sea transport is avail-able (speedboat).Powersupply:220v,50HzTapwaterispotableinallpartsofCroatia.

PuBlIC HolIDayS1 JaNuaRy -NewYear'sday6 JaNuaRy - epiphanyeaster sunday & easter monday1 May - labour Daycorpus christi

22 JuNe - anti-Fascist resistance Day2� JuNe - statehood Day� auGuST - victory Day and national thanksgiving Day1� auGuST - assumption Day8 oCToBeR - independence Day1 NoVeMBeR-allSaints'day 2�/26 DeCeMBeR - christmas Holidays

IMPoRTaNT TelePHoNe NuMBeRSinternational country code for

croatia: +385Police: 92Fire Brigade: 93ambulance: 94roadside vehicle assistance: 987;[email protected](whencalling from abroad or by mobile phone, call +385 1 987)national search and rescue

centre: 9155.asinglecountrywidenumberforall

emergency situations: 112weather forecast and road

conditions: 060 520 520croatian automobile club (HaK): 014640800,, [email protected] - local and intercity

numbers: 988information - international

numbers: 902General information: 981

croatian anGels - a single telephone numberthroughoutCroatiafromwhichtourist information can be obtained: 062 999 999From outside croatia: +385 62 999 999. this service is available in croatian, english, German and italian.

CouNTy TouRIST oFFICeSBjelovar-Bilogora, trg eugena Kvaternika 4, 43 000 Bjelovar tel.: +385 43 243 944 Fax: +385 43 241 229 e-mail:[email protected],www.tzbbz.hrBrod-Posavina, Petra Krešimira iv br. 1, 35000 slavonski Brod Tel.:+38535408393;Fax:+38535408392 e-mail: [email protected] CvijeteZuzorić1/I,20001dubrovnik,p.p.259 Tel.:+38520324999;Fax:+38520324224e-mail: [email protected] www.visitdubrovnik.hrIstria,Pionirska1,52440Poreč; Tel.:+38552452797;Fax:+38552452796 e-mail:[email protected];www.istra.hrKarlovac, a. vraniczanya 6, 47000 Karlovac Tel.:+38547615320;Fax:+38547601415e-mail:[email protected];www.tzkz.hrKoprivnica-Križevci,antunaNemčića5,48000 Koprivnica tel.: +385 48 624 408

HRvatSka tURiStička zajedniCaIblerovtrg10/Iv,p.p.251; 10000 ZaGreB, HrvatsKa tél: +385 1 46 99 333Fax:+385 1 45 57 827Internet:www.hrvatska.hre-mail: [email protected]

kRoaTISCHe ZeNTRale FüR TouRISMuS1010 wien, am Hof 13, Österreichtél: +43 1 585 38 84Fax: +43 1 585 38 84 20e-mail: [email protected]

kRoaTISCHe ZeNTRale FüR TouRISMuS60311 Frankfurt,Kaiserstrasse23,deutschland;tél: +49 69 23 85 350Fax: +49 69 23 85 35 20e-mail: [email protected]

kRoaTISCHe ZeNTRale FüR TouRISMuS80469 münchen, Rumfordstrasse7,deutschland;tél: +49 89 22 33 44 Fax: +49 89 22 33 77e-mail: [email protected]

eNTe NaZIoNale CRoaTo PeR Il TuRISMo20122Milano,PiazzettaPattari1/3,Italiatél: +39 02 86 45 44 97 Fax: +39 02 86 45 45 74e-mail: [email protected]

eNTe NaZIoNale CRoaTo PeR Il TuRISMo 00186 roma, via Dell’oca 48, italiatél: +39 06 32 11 0396Fax: +39 06 32 11 1462e-mail: [email protected]

CHoRvatSké tURiStiCké SdRUŽení 110 00 Praha 1,Krakovská25,českárepublika;tél: +420 2 2221 1812 Fax: +420 2 2221 0793e-mail:[email protected];[email protected]

CHoRvátSke tURiStiCké zdRUŽenie 82109Bratislava,Trenčianska5,Slovakiatél: +421 2 55 562 054Fax: +421 2 55 422 619e-mail: [email protected]

HoRVáT IDeGeNFoRGalMI köZöSSéG 1053 Budapest, magyar u. 36, magyarország Tél./Fax:+3612666505e-mail: [email protected]

oFFICe NaTIoNal CRoaTe De TouRISMe75116Paris,48,avenuevictorHugo,France;tél: +33 1 45 00 99 55 Fax: +33 1 45 00 99 56e-mail:[email protected]

CRoaTIaN NaTIoNal TouRIST oFFICe london w6 9er, 2 lanchesters, 162-164 FulhamPalaceRoad,UnitedKingdom;tél: +44 208 563 79 79

Fax: +44 208 563 26 16e-mail: [email protected]

CRoaTIaN NaTIoNal TouRIST oFFICe NewYork10118,350Fifthavenue, suite 4003, u.s.a.tél:+1 212 279 8672 Fax: + 1 212 279 8683e-mail: [email protected]

naRodowy ośRodek infoRMaCji TuRySTyCZNeJ, RePuBlIkI CHoRWaCJI IPCBusinessCentar,ul.Koszykowa54, 00-675,Warszawa,Polandtél: +48 22 828 51 93 Fax: +48 22 828 51 90e-mail:[email protected]

kRoaTISka TuRISTByRÅN 11135 stockholm Kungsgatan 24, sverigetél: +46 853 482 080Fax: +46 820 24 60e-mail: [email protected]

kRoaTISCH NaTIoNaal BuReau VooR ToeRISMe1081 GG amsterdam nijenburg 2F, netherlandstél: +31 20 661 64 22 Fax: +31 20 661 64 27e-mail: [email protected]

oFFICe NaTIoNal CRoaTe Du TouRISMe1000 Bruxelles, vieille Halle aux Bles 38, Belgiumtél: +32 255 018 88Fax: +32 251 381 60e-mail: [email protected]

ХОРВАТСКОЕ ТУPИCtИЧeCkoe CooБЩeCTBo Krasnopresnenskaya nab. 12, Moscow,1502,Russiatél: +7 095 258 15 07 Fax;+70952581508e-mail:[email protected]

HRvaška tURiStična SkUPnoSt1000 ljubljana, Gosposvetska 2, slovenijatél: +386 1 23 07 400 Fax: +386 1 230 74 04e-mail: [email protected]

kRoaTISCHe ZeNTRale FüR TouRISMuSBadenerstr. 3328004Zürich,Switzerlandtél: +41 43 321 8211Fax: +41 43 321 8213e-mail: [email protected]

oFICINa De TuRISMo De CRoaCIacalle claudio coello 22, esc.B,1oc28001 madrid, españatél: +34 91 781 55 14Fax: +34 91 431 84 43e-mail: [email protected]

Fax: +385 48 624 407 e-mail: [email protected],Zagrebačka6,49217KrapinskeToplice; Tel./Fax:+38549233653,e-mail:[email protected],,Bilajska3,53000gospić;Tel.:+385053574687;Fax:+38553574687;e-mail: [email protected] www.lickosenjska.comMeđimurje,RuđeraBoškovića3, 40000čakovecTel./Fax:+38540390191e-mail:[email protected];www.tzm.hrosijek-Baranja, Šetalište Kardinala Franje Šepera1d/2,31000osijektel.: +385 31 214 852 Fax:+38531214853;e-mail: [email protected] www.tzosbarzup.hrPožega-Slavonia,Županijska7,34000Požega;Tel.:+38534272505 Fax: +385 34 271 465, e-mail:[email protected];www.tzzps.hrPrimorje-gorje,N.Tesle2,51410opatija;tel.: +385 51 272 988, Fax: +385 51 272 909 e-mail: [email protected] www.kvarner.hrSisak-Moslavina,S.ia.Radića28,44000Sisak;Tel.:+38544540163 Fax:+38544540164;e-mail: [email protected],PrilazbraćeKaliterna10/I,21000Split;Tel./Fax:+3851490032,21490033,21490036;e-mail: [email protected]Šibenik-Knin,FraN.Ružićabb,22000Šibenik;Tel.:+38522219072; Fax:+38522212346;e-mail: [email protected]ždin,Kratka1 42000varaždin;Tel./fax:+38542301036e-mail: [email protected] www.turizam-vzz.hrvirovitica-Podravina, trg kralja tomislava 1, 33000virovitica;Tel.:+38533726069;Fax:+38533721241;e-mail: [email protected] vukovar-srijem Glagoljaška 27, 32100 vinkovci Tel./Fax:+38532344034,e-mail: [email protected] www.tzvsz.hrZadar,Sv.LeopoldaB.Mandića1,23000Zadar;Tel.:+38523315107 Fax: +385 23 315 316e-mail: [email protected] www.zadar.hrZagrebRegion,Preradovićeva42,10000Zagreb;tel.: +385 1 4873 665 Fax: +385 1 4873 670 e-mail:[email protected];www.tzzz.hrZagrebCity,Kaptol5,10000Zagreb;tel.: +385 1 4898 555 Fax: +385 1 4814 340 e-mail: [email protected]

PuBlISHeR: croatian national tourist BoarD

FoR THe PuBlISHeR: NIKoBULIć,M.Sc. eDIToRS: vIvIaNavUKeLIć,davoRBUTKovIć,MIRjaNaBRaBeC,veLjKooSTojIć

TexT: davoRBUTKovIć

TRaNSlaTeD By: volGa vuKelja-Dawe

laNGuaGe eDITING:aNTHoNYj.daWe

DeSIGN: meDia KoncePt CoVeR DeSIGN: Ko:Ke Kreativna Farma

PHoToGRaPHy: stiPe SURać,MaRIoHLaća, miljenKo KlePac, arHiva HtZ-a


PRINTeD By: rotooFFset - TISKaRaMeIć

ZaGreB, 2006


*the publisher cannot guarantee the complete accuracy of the information contained herein, nor be held responsible for any errors as may be contained in future amendments or changes to such information.