3 Croatian red wines for you to taste next
Croatia with its circa 300 grape varieties grown and more than 50 being indigenous can be overwhelming when you are in search of what wines to taste next. The offer has never been wider, going well beyond better known varieties such as Plavac Mali, Teran, Pošip (Poship), Malvazija or Graševina (Grashevina). To help you out, we bring you tasting notes of 3 excellent red wines that could narrow down your search for something new from Croatia.
One of the main reasons why the wine industry in Croatia is so dynamic and diverse lies in the difference within the wine regions in such a “small country”. We created a simplified Croatian wine map that could help you discover beyond the wines you already heard about or tasted.
Roughly you can divide Croatia in half, in terms of winemaking and the climate conditions. Coastal Croatia with the Mediterranean influence, warm and dry summers. Plavac Mali, the most potential black variety of the coast, along with crisp and refreshing white Pošip, Grk and Malvasia are the most recognizable wines of this region.
Continental Croatia with moderate continental climate is best known for aromatic and refreshing whites. Some of the best Croatian sparkling wines are made in this part of country. International white varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer thrive in this cooler, moderate conditions but you should experience Graševina (Grashevina) as the most diverse grape variety found here. Red blends are common as well as fabulous Pinot Noirs.
Here is a cheat sheet, if you want to try something different – and maybe not always on the top of your mind, when you think about buying Croatian wines. Two indigenous grape varieties and one international blend, lets start.
SANSIGOT, Šipun winery
Very rare to find, pure varietal Sansigot makes interesting light to medium bodied red wines. Although this red shows more primary fresh red fruits like cherries and floral aromas, it has a touch of slightly developed nose with meat, oak and vanilla. The nose makes Sansigot very interesting wine to taste. On the palate you discover vivid acidity that makes it perfect for drinking all year round and pairing with food.
Šipun winery, with its owner and winemaker Ivica Dobrinčić, made quite an effort in reviving this almost extinct indigenous variety and they are now one of only few producer of varietal Sansigot on the island.
The winery is located in historical town of Vrbnik, surrounded by the most important wine producing area – the valley of Vrbnik, famous for the golden white wine of Krk – Žlahtina.
CUVEE CICONIA NIGRA SUPERIOR, Josić winery
Blend of international varieties; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah planted in the continental part of Croatia where the Josić winery is situated.
This Slavonian cuvee is powerful and deep red wine. Nose is covered with ripe and dark fruits with oak and vanilla aromas to follow. Balanced and enjoyable on the palate with medium to long finish.
Production of the Superior cuvee is limited.
Josić family restored old wine cellars in Baranja, dating back to 1935. and now they offer dining experience inside the renovated, tunnel shaped old wine cellar. Unique experience if you are visiting Slavonia wine region and one of the most interesting wine cellars in Croatia.
CRLJENAK KAŠTELANSKI (TRIBIDRAG), Matela winery
Fermented on its natural yeast, this Crljenak Kaštelanski has its uniqueness and you will feel it right away on the nose. Sour cherries and dark plums on the nose open you up to a lighter style of red wine from the Coastal part of Croatia. There is an interesting note to the character of this wine, a bit of wilderness and rustic feel which makes it quirky.
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