Croatia’s quickly become one of the planet’s most popular destinations. From its historic towns to its beautiful, expansive shorelines and alpine peaks, there’s truly something for each tourist in the little Balkan nation. It’s clearly no longer the concealed gem it as soon as was.
The same might likewise be said for its red wines. The secret’s out of the bottle about the nation’s lots of vintages, a few of which have just recently brought house big awards and distinctions.
Let’s get something straight right off the bat: I am a white wine fan, not a white wine snob. I consume what tastes excellent to me. In Croatia, all of it tasted wonderful. If you resemble me, here are 7 reasons the beautiful country should be on your travel list!
1. It’s House Of The Initial Zin
Croatia’s red wine tradition runs so deep, it’s where one of the world’s best-known varietals initially settled. A lot of red white wine fans have actually heard of zinfandel. The strong, big-bodied varietal is cherished in America, and the grape grows particularly well in California. It’s remained in the States given that the 1820s, however nobody was sure where it in fact originated from. As it ends up, among Croatia’s indigenous vines is actually the original zin!
Legendary California wine maker Mike Grgich was born in Croatia and had long thought zinfandel had Balkan roots. He partnered with Dr. Carole Meredith from U.C. Davis, who DNA tested samples from lots of Croatian vines. In the resulting analysis, she and her team proved that the native crljenak Kaštelanski grape was in fact zin, and had actually piggy-backed over to America centuries before with immigrants looking for to plant vineyards here. Crljenak Kaštelanski was near termination by the time that DNA discovery linked it to zin; it’s given that rebounded, with vineyards reviving the old standard. It’s great wine history, and today you can try a glass of the initial zin (its Croatian name is rather hard to pronounce) at a few wineries in Croatia.
Grapes grow in rows alongside olive groves off the coast of Brac, Croatia.Photo credit: Erika Ebsworth-Goold 2. The Perfect Climate
Similar to California or Italy, Croatia is the best place for growing grapes, and for enjoying the resulting red wine! The Adriatic Sea it borders is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean, after all, and is blessed with the exact same charming and temperate environment. Dry, hot summertimes eventually pave the way to cool and damp, but not cold, winter seasons on the nation’s Dalmatian and Istrian coasts. Simply remember that the further inland you move, and the more east from the nation’s spectacular Dinaric Alps, the chillier that weather’s going to be. Croatia likewise has a prolonged shoulder season, so anticipate charming temps starting in April before summer season’s heat, and heat well through October. The grapes enjoy it, and so do visitors who concern sample the resulting red wines. 3. There’s Something For Everybody As far as wine is concerned, there truly is something for everyone coming out of Croatian vineyards. The terroir is varied; grapes are grown on
the mainland’s Dalmatian coast as well as throughout the islands sprinkled across the sea. While you’ll discover worldwide standbys, including chardonnay, merlot, and riesling, why would not you attempt native alternatives too? The most typical of these is graševina, which can produce white wines varying from sweet(slatko)to dry(suho ), and even shimmering. I wound up consuming more than my fair share of pošip, a beautiful dry white with minerally notes made with a grape that’s belonging to the charming island of Korčula. Plavac mali is the offspring of the abovementioned crljenak Kaštelanski grape and makes a huge red wine with plenty of tannins and an alcohol kick to match. You’ll discover it in smaller coffee shops– called kornobas– up and down the Dalmatian coast. Bottom line: The names can be frightening, but the white wines deserve it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions– everyone enjoyed responding to even my ridiculous ones– and let your server understand your preferences. They’ll find the best sip for you
during your check out to Croatia. Croatia’s rocky seaside terroir is perfect for growing red wine grapes.Photo credit: Erika Ebsworth-Goold 4. Winemaking Roots Run Deep Here The history of wine in Croatia pre-dates the Romans. Artifacts left by the Illyrians, an Indo-European individuals who initially settled islands off the Dalmatian coast, show the existence of red wine in their
early culture. The Greeks likewise brought vines over prior to the Romans extended their empire into Croatia and continued the practice of planting and collecting white wine
grapes. When Rome fell, Croatians took control of production, and it has continued since. Through occupations from Venice, the Ottomans, and the Habsburgs, wine customs remained consistent. These roots really run deep, and you can taste that reality in every sip. 5. Harvests Stay Primarily Regional While Croatia’s rocky soil and favorable climate are terrific for grape and red wine production, supply for export stays low. Croatian wineries aren’t big money-makers like their French and American equivalents– rather they are on the little side, with minimal amounts launched. And the Croatians love their wine; I comprehend why they wish to enjoy it for themselves! This is not to say you
can’t find Croatian vintages in the States or somewhere else, but they’re not going to be at your local grocery store or really even readily offered. All the more reason to enjoy them on your vacation … and consider bringing some home.(More on that later on!)Erika takes pleasure in a glass of Pošip, a dry minerally white wine.Photo credit: Erika Ebsworth-Goold 6. It’s Been An Underdog The more I found out about it during my see there, the more I pertained to appreciate the really presence of Croatian white wine. That’s since fairly current catastrophes have actually really taken it to the edge. When the phylloxera scourge that wrecked French vineyards in the late 1880s at first struck, it appeared Croatia may have been spared. However the bug eventually revealed
up, ravaging the wine making craft there for many years.
Communism likewise took its toll, with personal ownership of wineries
all however forbidden and quantity worried over quality. Last but definitely not least, the Croatian War of Self-reliance likewise stalled the nation’s wine making capabilities. However, throughout it all, Croatian wine has actually kept recovering. Old customs might flex, but they have not broken, a minimum of not in this regard. It makes me value the white wines there all the more. 7. Coral White Wine And Other Unusual Offerings While on a current trip to Croatia, I was able to attempt a couple creative twists on the normal glass of vino. In Split, I visited the fabulous MoNIKa’s White wine Bar. It happily serves Croatian white wines, combining them completely with delicious tapas plates. I initially appeared to attempt a couple of puts
of rosé made with babić, an indigenous red grape grown in the northern part of Dalmatia. They were bone-dry and tasty, but then something else captured my eye on the white wine list.”Um, what’s coral
white wine?”I asked the bartender, who chuckled and
brought a weird bottle and accompanying glass to my table. That bottle was covered with a thin, lacy layer of coral(or some other kind of water animal), and the white wine within was a chardonnay that had been aged not in steel or oak, however by the Adriatic Sea. In the coral white wine technique, bottles are rested underwater at a depth of 45 to 90 feet for anywhere from several months to 2 years. About 15,000 bottles a year get this unique treatment. The wine-maturing conditions of the sea are said to soften the wine’s tannins and acidity while preserving the fragrant profile. I’m generally not a big chard fan, however this aging approach fit it well, mellowing
it out a bit. It was a fun thing to try! There are different methods the Croatians like to blend their red wine. I enjoyed gemišt, a revitalizing mix of dry, high-acid white wine(such as Graševina or Pošip)and seltzer water. The one thing I didn’t check out: bambus. It’s equivalent parts red wine and soda pop served over ice. I decided to skip the sugar and pulled out. Nevertheless, Croatians love this weird mixture.
The sparkling wine at Bol’s Stina Winery was a favorite on the trip.Photo credit: Erika Ebsworth-Goold Pro Tips Do not make the mistake I did. I wasn’t prepared for how scrumptious a few of the white wines in Croatia truly were, and discovered myself wishing I might take some house. Nevertheless, I crammed whatever into carry-on bags because I didn’t bring a red wine case carrier with me. I could have quickly examined an empty one and filled it up throughout my stay, and am still kicking myself that I didn’t. Strategy ahead to take some home for your cellar, and bring what you require to get it home safely. One more thing: I discovered the pours in Croatia to be significantly smaller sized than what we normally get in the
States. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, simply a difference in culture; and bottles weigh the very same 750 milliliters we’re accustomed to here
. No matter
the size of the pour, or the kind of Croatian red wine you choose, živjeli!