29-07-2011 ~ 1 Comment

On Hvar Island

The Croatian tourism mecca. The New Riviera. The New Saint Tropez. Whatever. The accolades for Hvar being geographically fortunate enough to be Hvar continually roll in from tourism promoters around the world. The New York Times put it in their bizarrely random list of “The 53 Places to go in 2008” for instance. The amount of superlatives can be pretty ridiculous. It wouldn’t be surprising if people starting giving Hvar awards such as, “Best New Destination in a Greater Post Conflict Area” or “Best Place to Call the New New Spain Without Overly Abundant Hyperbole”. It’s true though in that Hvar is indeed a beautiful place.

Much like other Croatian island such as Brač and Vis, the wine vines love the island for the same reason the tourists do. There is a massive, southern-exposed coast to the island that gets continual amounts of sunlight making for a great growing season. This produces deep-bodied wines approachable by almost anyone from casual sippers to true aficionados. Thankfully where the wine grows is not where the tourists go.

Also, like just about all of the other islands, tourists and visitors are concentrated in a few areas. In this case, it’s the west end of the island which comprises maybe 30% of the island. The rest is quite barren, minus the few small villages that spring up. It’s in these areas that you find the grapes, but it’s in the more developed places where you find the wineries.

One of the other characteristics about Hvar is the fact that it is very well known for its lavender. Rumor has it that a lot of the lavender might not even be completely grown in Hvar at this point, with larger fields of it growing in the area of Slavonia (the far eastern area of Croatia that touches Serbia) than anywhere in Croatia. These are only rumors, that are unfounded at best. However, it seems that many are finding that there is more money to be made in the wine than in aromatic flowers and thus lavender fields are now being removed to make room for grapes.

And what grapes they make on Hvar with wineries like Zlatan Plenković, Carić Vinar Hvar, and Ivan Dolac turning out one solid vintage after another of Plavac Mali.