Apr 19, 2021
Croatia is a small country with unlimited wine potential. With a 2,500-year history of winemaking, this beautiful nation has coast, islands, and inland hills, all with unique soil types that make its growing conditions unlike anywhere else in the world. The four main regions make distinctive wines using indigenous grapes and although the industry is just getting back on its feet after a century of war, socialism, and poor viticulture, Croatia is a country on the ascent, and one you should know about!
Dubrovnik in Dalmatia
These show notes really have to be a list of places and grapes, to help you figure out what the heck we were saying on the show. So here it is, as promised:
Source: Croatian Chamber of Economy and Croatian Premium Wine Imports
Croatian Uplands: The cool, hilly areas around the nation’s capital of Zagreb
Slavonia: A flatter area that goes east from Zagreb to where the Danube hits Serbia. It has Gently rolling hills but the area is famed from the Slavonian oak for (especially Italian) barrels.
The Dalmatian Coast and Istria
Dalmatia and Croatia’s Islands: The southernmost region of Croatia, the area has a mild Mediterranean climate – with dry, hot summers, mild winters with rain. This is the big tourist area, it lies on the coast and includes Split and the city of Dubrovnik (the city of King’s Landing in the HBO Show “Game of Thrones.” Yes, I did read all 6 books).
There is island viticulture here and we mention some specific places: Brač, Vis, Korčula, Hvar (where the world’s oldest continuously cultivated vineyard can be found at Stari Grad Plain). Also home to the great wines of the Peljesac (pell-yer-shatz) Peninsula
Istria is the dynamic, outward looking, northern-most wine region. Throughout history it belonged to Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia and that means it has a influences in food and wine from these nations. Istria has a Mediterranean climate, like Dalmatia but it is slightly cooler. It has rocky soils, rolling hills, and iron rich red soils (terra rossa like the Coonawarra of South Australia).
Graševina: Welschriesling, Laški Rizling, Riesling Italico, Olasz Riesling): Croatia’s most planted white and grape variety overall
Malvazija Istarska: Malvasia grown in Croatia with no relation to the Malvasia from Greece or Italy. Croatia’s second most-planted variety, can reflect terroir well
Whites of Dalmatia
Pošip: Originally from the island of Korčula (CORE-chu-lah) where it was shielded form phylloxera as it grew on sandy soils. It also grows on the Pelješac Peninsula and on Brač and Hvar, and other islands
Debit is like minerally Sauvignon Blanc but with more lime than grapefruit flavor. With oak age this wine can be like a medium bodied Chardonnay.
Maraština is dry and full-bodied with peach, nut, and floral aromas and a full, viscous texture.
Vugava: Mostly found on island of Vis in central Dalmatia, which has steep hillsides.
Plavac Mali: The third most planted variety, it is grown mostly in southern Dalmatia, in bush vines on rocky soils and steep south-facing slopes. Dingač and Postup on the Pelješac peninsula are famed.
Babić: A small percentage is grown but some is imported to the US. It is grown Northern Dalmatia, NE of Split, some on the island of Korčula
Teran: Grown in Istria, this lighter style, thin-skinned grape was grown in Istria for centuries, replaced with French varieties but is making a comeback
Sources: Vina Croatia, Wine Anorak, The Buyer, SevenFifty, Wine Enthusiast
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