Let's talk about wine
Very special harvest 2020 has just started and I thought how this is the right time to talk something more about wines in Croatia. Many people before they visit our country don't know much about the long wine growing tradition. They usually know much more about French, Italian, Australian, South African and all others world wine regions. The fact why we are not so famous comes from our small size and we like to keep it for ourselves. Almost all the wines made in Croatia have to be drunk in Croatia! This is also one of the reasons to visit us and try our local wines directly on spot.
Socialist regime until the 90’s didn't allow winemakers to have their private wineries, to bottle and label their own wines but that doesn't mean the vineyards are young and that we are new in this business. Already the Greeks were the first who were growing wine grapes all along our coastline, especially on the islands of Hvar and Vis. Just until private ownership had become possible winegrowers were selling their winegrapes to state cooperatives. State made a few different wines. Usually the best wine grapes they never sold but always kept as family wine. So the best wine was always that which you could pour directly from the barrel into the jug hidden under the coat. Yet after the privatization process in the early 90’s winegrowers turned to be very respectable winemakers.
Lots of Croatian wines have names hard to pronounce as they are authentic sorts such as Maraština, Kaštelanski crljenak, Grk,Pošip, Graševina, Žlahtina, Malvasija, Dingač, Plavac.....You don't even have to bother with trying to say it properly, just remember some to recognize them when you wish to order it in the restaurants and bars.
Some of our favorite drinks are considered to be the worst crime against the wine (according to the finest sommeliers and wine connoisseurs):
Bevanda – mix of red wine and plain water often drank in the south
Gemišt – mix of white wine and sparkling water drank in the north. Version of German spritzer
Whole Croatia is one big wine region with rich wine diversity. The most known world wines such as Zinfandel from California have origins here, his parents are Dobričić and Kaštelanski Crljenac, ancient wine sorts grown near Split. If you want to go deeply into the X Wine Files you should check the documentary „Dossier Zinfandel“. Like French have their Champagne region we have our Dingač. It is a protected area on Peljesac peninsula where vineyards are located at the decline of 45% slopes. Just by visiting that magical place makes you appreciate wine more. Hard work, dedication and love for wine are engraved in every bottle.
And finally why the wines are so closely connected with the food. Many of our traditional dishes are impossible without adding some wine: Dalmatian pašticada, mussels buzzara, cuttlefish risotto, mantala, wine goulash, brodetto...In Dalmatia people were raised on ancient cocktail „bikla“ – special mix of red wine and goat milk . They believe it is also an aphrodisiac. In Istria they cook „supa“ – authentic specialty prepared out of red wine, over fried bread , zested with olive oil, sugar and pepper. It is food for the soul served in traditional jug called „bukaleta“. And yes we drink lots of wine, it is in our blood for centuries but we are still sober.
Which wine to look for in Croatia:
Reds(or Blacks how we call them)
Malvasija , it is not spelling mistake, they are two white wine sorts with one letter different.