I am off to Croatia (Dubrovnik) on holiday next month and am already thinking, possibly even worrying about what to drink there! I am pretty clueless about Croatian wines and would greatly appreciate any tips on which wines to look out for and which to avoid.
Sounds like you could do with some pre-holiday warm-up wines …
Ha ha! Good plan! Might just pop them in my basket. Are you personally recommending these?
Thanks for your reply.
I recently had the Istria Malvazija and can highly recommend it. It’s not a super sophisticated wine, but everything about it screams ‘holiday!!!’… floral nose, with notes of peach and jasmine, and really lovely, fresh taste with stone fruit on the palate and a nice lemony finish. If I remember correctly, my other half asked me if he could bathe in this wine, he liked it so much!
Haven’t tried the Merlot blend, though.
Hope you have a fantastic time- I’m yet to visit Croatia, but it’s certainly on our ‘to see’ list!
Great - thanks Inbar. It certainly sounds good.
I do like the red in particular - warming yet fresh, and the blend of teran and blaufrankisch, along with the merlot is novel and moreish!
I believe the grape to look out for is called Plavac Mali - they claim it’s the original zinfandel and produces Croatia’s best wine qualitatively. Apparently… Malvazija makes the best whites.
My parents are off to Novigrad tomorrow, funnily enough. Get on a boat and head for the islands they say!
Only been to Istria, so much of what is said above is correct from my POV.
I would say that there’s much to explore in the area of skin contact Malvazija Istriana (I tried some fantastic versions) which elevates it well above the more simple quaffing versions.
The other red grape, if you like something more earthy (!) is Teran
Indeed it is. You can definitely draw the parallel to Zin, which given its supposed heritage is to be expected. It ranges from mid weight to heavy in style and is lovely with the local (land based) cuisine. Lovely BBQ wine too
On my last trip I found my favourite was from a producer called Stina. Distinctive as the labels are completely white and embossed so at a glance it looks like there is no text. The Dingac ‘appellation’ is the local full version that needs a bit of age but you’ll find it just described by grape as well. I tried the Milicic Dingac which I have to admit I found a little full and stewed. Milicic are a recommended producer and have a shop within the city walls of Dubrovnik, just near the Pile Gate. Worth stopping in there as they do a range of wines and the lady i spoke to was knowledgeable and enthusiastic. There is a wine bar round the corner from there that serve their wines and another cracking wine bar the other side of the city that serve Stina wines. A word of warning - Dubrovnik is a touristy city and after I bought the Dinac from the producers shop I found it in other shops for up to double the price
The white revelation we found was Posip. They make it in a Sur Lie style which adds complexity and interest and is worth seeking out. One of my favourite dining experiences was on an island outside Dubrovnik sharing a whole baked sea bream with my wife to be and sharing a bottle of this lovely, cold fresh white. Producer quality varies but Korta Katerina are very good
They do also do many of the more popular varietals, but where’s the fun in that?!
I hope to return to Croatia later this year - let us know what gems you find!
Lovely! I’ll make a note to look out for those varietals, thanks.
I am very much up for the idea of some Island hopping whilst we’re there!
Fantastic! Some great tips here - thank you! I shall indeed report back.
From Dubrovnik you can easily get boats out to Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. All tiny places but have cafes, restaurants etc. Its a very pretty place. The first time we went we stayed on Sipan for 10 days. There was nothing to do other than hire bikes or kayaks and take boat trips. It was wonderful!
We were staying in Dubrovnic in Autumn last year, and I wrote a bit about the wine scene in that region. You can find links to what I wrote here:
I hope you find something of use, and you have any more-specific questions, please do ask.
It is indeed the grape to look out for. But if they claim it’s the original Zinfandel they are wrong
Zinfandel is the same variety as Crljenak Kaštelanski of South Dalmatia, and also known as Tribidrag. Plavac Mali is a cross between Crljenak Kaštelanski and Dobričić
As we’re off to Croatia on Tuesday I’ll be studying this link with interest and would happily take any further recommendations for producers to look out for
Happily we have 6 nights in Bol en route from Split to Dubrovnik and apparently the Stina winery is very close by so that’ll be a good start
As it happens, we returned yesterday from a week in Split. Temperatures in the high 20s, and sunny with a little cloud some days - pleased to have efficient AC in the bedroom!. Nothing much new to report winewise. We down-played the wine aspect on this trip, but did drink local wines with meals.
My favourites were
“Antičević Dingač Traditional 2015” with a mere 16% ABV. HKR 410 in a restaurant. Big and tannic. Dark fruit, savoury and spicy. Slightly sweet, but with a bitter finish. Great with steak!
The house white at a fish restaurant. HRK 90 for 75cl. We asked for a recommendation from the waiter and this was it, despite their having more expense stuff. Everyone else seemed to be drinking it. We were told the variety was Žlahtina, and when we returned a few days later I asked for more details. It was from a 10li catering bag-in-box, and was “Dry White Wine” made by Gospoja, 12%. No mention of the variety on the box. Highish acidity and dry, Maybe a little astringent. A little musky? Tingly citrus - lemon and lime. Better IMO than many more expensive whites we had, and good with the fish.
Let me know if you are spending any time in Split, and I could give some reccos there. Have fun!
That’s great @SteveSlatcher, thank you. We fly to Split on Tuesday, head to Brac after a couple of nights before finishing im Dubrovnik. More of a boat trip than a road trip but one we’re very much looking forward to
Any further recommendations appreciated. Might check out the BBQ place your previous link mentions but otherwise sorted for meals in Dubrovnik
OK, here are a few comments on restaurants in Split:
Villa Spiz - Just outside the Palace (The area in the centre where Diocletian’s place stood). They buy in fresh food every day, and when it runs out it they stop serving. You have to turn up and queue for a table. Last week we waited around 30 mins but the queue soon grew to an hour. For both those reasons it is best to go for lunch or early evening, when it is quieter and they have ingredients for all the dishes. Seating can be cramped. So what is so great about it? The food was simultaneously the best and the cheapest we found in Split, and although the staff were busy they were attentive and friendly. This is where we got the Dingač mentioned above. It was served at room temperature (mid 20s!) but when I asked for a bucket of ice and water, the bucket appeared unquestioningly within the minute. We only visited once because we did not feel like queuing on other occasions, and wanted a more relaxing evening.
Konoba Fetivi - A bit further out, but still only 10/15 mins walk from the Palace. Nothing fancy, but good quality food and reasonably priced. Best known for the fish and sea food, but they serve meat too. This is where we got the house white. Last week you needed to book to get in for dinner. This place and Villa Spiz were recommended by the owner of the rooms where we stayed, as two of his personal favourites. We visited Konoba Fetivi twice.
Gallerija - Right in the middle of the palace, but a bit hidden away down a side alley from an already very narrow street, in a small courtyard. Good food at a decent price, with good service and a very pleasant location. We were staying so close to this place that we could use our rooms’ WiFi, so perhaps we were a bit biased, but we had dinner there twice, and a few breakfasts too! Not as busy at the other two places above, but probably still worth booking for dinner if you can.
Those were my firm reccos. Now for some places you might be tempted by if you check out wine places in Split. Zinfandel had great service and food, but was way too expensive. And the hasselback potato on their menu was nothing like a hasselback in reality. A lot of effort obviously went into the shiny black modern design, which was not to my taste. Nevertheless, overall we came away feeling we had a good experience. The lunch we had at Uje Oil was disappointing considering the praise it seems to get. There were many minor annoyances with the place and the service, which together gave a bad impression. Booking needed for these two places also - in fact we twice tried booking Uje Oil around midday for dinner, and failed both times.
Thanks @SteveSlatcher, great to have a bit of inside info. I’ve found the “booking” culture in Croatia can get a bit militant at times and long ago learnt it was best to be organised or be scowled at!
We’ll certainly check out Villa Spiz and Konoba Fetivi if we can get in. Thanks again!
My family is part Croatian and we go down to an island of Korcula every summer as we have place there. Wines in this region are fantastic, and the opportunity to visit the wineries should not be missed. From Dubrovnik one should drive 1-2 hours to Peljesac peninsula which is home to some of the best red wines in Croatia. In particular, one should try Dingac and most famous appellation in former Yugosoavia, made from Plavac Mali grape and located near the town of Potomlje.
The top wines/wineries to visit include Kiridzija, Bura, Boris Violic and PZ Dingac (Co-Op). Expect to pay from 100 HRK to 200 HRK for top Dingac at the winery.
Cross over to Korcula, and you are in white wine heavan. There are two grapes local to the island, one is Grk and other Posip. Head over to town of Lumbarada and try the Grk grape which is only grown on Korcula. Most famous winery there is Bire. Then head to the middle of the island towards Cara and Smokvica, to try the Posip wine. Take the Posip wine route (that’s where I got engaged this summer) and stop by the wineries of Torreta, Krajancic and Nerica. The Nerica Posip (80 HRK) I think won 95 points at Decanter this year.
Lots of more local recommendations, including restaurants to try out, if anyone is interested please let me know I love this part of the world and its wine.