15-07-2016

Talking about Croatia

When living in Spain, it’s difficult to keep up with writing about Croatia, which was actually one of the first regions in Europe that I wrote about and traveled through extensively for the Dalmatia wine guide. It’s most definitely still on my radar and I write about it whenever the opportunity comes up so I wanted to share a couple of articles that I (and others) have recently written.

The first one came out this week and is a lengthy post covering the coastal wines of Croatia for the Guild of Sommeliers (see, What is the Guild of Sommeliers?). I was toying around with the idea of splitting it up in to an article on Istria and an article on Dalmatia as these two wine regions are completely different from one another and share no common soils, grapes, nor climates. They just both happen to sit on the Adriatic Sea and have Zagreb as their capital.

So why stick them together? It’s something like putting Northern and Southern Rhône in the same article but at least those two regions have some cross over in terms of grapes. The main reason for this Croatia article was firstly that I wanted to mention Kvarner. This coastal chunk between Dalmatia and Istria gets very little love and there are some decent wines made there, yet not really enough to make an article proper out of it. The second reason is that I though of it in terms of Croatia itself and these coastal regions do have a great deal more in common than the continental regions. Tie that in with the fact many people will swoop through both Istria and Dalmatia during a holiday stay and it made more sense in terms of practicalities. Such are the difficult choices that must be made in wine writing.

A few months back, Frank at Blue Danube Wine contacted me to write an article for their website. In recent years, basically since I moved out of the US, this company went from being something of a personal hobby to one of the main importers of wines from the Balkans and now Georgia. My history with them goes back many years and I was actually responsible for scraping up this crazy pile of single pages on the website that were impossible to update and turning it in to a modern website with a proper online store. Much of this has been rightfully rehashed to take advantage of modern software that’s emerged in the years after my work but in addition to the tech side of things I wrote there as well.

The most recent article was about the young wines of Dalmatia. It was a topic worth visiting as it’s a market segment they’ve started to properly grow in Dalmatia. The Istrians and those in other regions have been on to it for years. By “young” wines I of course means those wines that see no oak, are more fruit-forward and are meant to be consumed, well, young. Known as svježe vino I hope that these wines can continue to evolve alongside the aged wines.

Lastly, here on this site was a lovely article about the wines of Plešivica by Morana of Taste of Croatia and Zagrebites. For anyone who might have missed this article, I highly recommend going back and visiting it as it gives a great outline of what’s new and interesting in this wine region of rolling hills right next to Zagreb.

So a little hit of Croatia that’s maybe coming just in time for the height of summer holidays although I usually recommend not visiting the coast in July or August. And while you might stay clear, do enjoy a fine glass of Malvazija, Debit, or Pošip.