“I want to bathe in this. I would like to frolic in this wine. Where’s my toga?”
– Anthony Bourdain on Croatian wine.
Croatian wine is on the rise and fast becoming a premier wine tour destination.
With over 17,000 registered growers, working 60,000 acres of vineyard, supplying over 800 wineries, the Croatian viticulture is massive compared to its diminutive size.
Pošip and Plavac Mali are the most famous Croatian varietals. However, the small Balkan country proudly boasts over 60 different indigenous grapes with 60% of that production going to white wine.
There are four officially recognized regions of winemaking in Croatia: Dalmatia, Istria & Kvarner, the Uplands, and Slavonia & Danube. These areas are split up again into 12 subregions and 66 appellations.
These regions have come to symbolize the versatility and dynamism of Croatian wine.
Southern Croatian coast
Located on the southern coast of Croatia, Dalmatia is considered the dominant winemaking region of the country.
With a diverse range of soils, the region is perhaps best known for Plavac Mali as well as many other indigenous varietals.
The hot, arid climate in the summer is similar to other Mediterranean regions and the winters are mild, with moderate rain in the low season.
Whites include: Pošip, Kujundžuša, Maraština, Debit, Bogdanuša, Grk and Vugava (all indigenous varietals).
Reds include: Plavac Mali, Plavina, Tribidrag and Babić (all indigenous varietals).
Istria & Kvarner
Northern coast of Croatia
The climate in this idyllic winemaking region is considered warm sub-Mediterranean with hot, arid summers and mild (and rainy) fall and winter.
Like Dalmatia this region also includes a large number of islands where winemaking is very important, these include Pag, Lošinj, Cres, Krk, and Rab.
Because of its northern Adriatic geography, cool winds provide a unique layer to the region’s climate.
Whites include Malvazija Istarska and Žlahtina.
Reds include Teran, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Refošk.
Northwestern inland of Croatia
As the name suggests, most vineyards in this region are located at higher altitudes (100-400 meter range) and are positioned south-facing for ideal exposure.With annual rainfall distributed evenly, the region’s climate is consistent with mild continental, conditions favorable to European varietals.
Whites include Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and the indigenous varietals Škrle, Kraljevina, Moslavac.
Reds include Frankovka, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and the native Portugizac red.
Notable locations include: Pokuplje, Plešivica, Međimurje, Prigorje-Bilogora and Moslavina.
Slavonia & Danube
Eastern Croatian mainland
Croatia’s breadbasket, this relatively flat region, boxed in entirely by rivers, is the primary driver of Croatian agriculture. The wine has been produced here since ancient times, mostly in the hills surrounding the lowlands.
With annual rainfall distributed evenly, the region’s climate is consistent with mild continental, conditions favorable to European varietals.
Whites include Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling and the indigenous Graševina.
Reds include Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Frankovka, a native varietal.
Notable regional locations: Srilem, Kutjevo and Baranja.
Living of the land and with the land…
living off Istria and with Istria…
living off wine and with it…
“The conditions of soil and climate of a winegrowing area influence, in many respects, the organoleptic characteristics of the grapes, and therefore the wine.
In the area of Koreniki, the crucial role in this respect is played by the red soil characterised by white calcareous stone, as well as the impact of the sea, dense forest with ancient oaks and rich fauna.
All of which belongs to the landscape of Koreniki in Istria. Buzzing tractors, rattling scissors in the vineyards, winegrowers singing, the bura (bora) wind whistling through the rows – all these are the sounds of the cycle of the seasons.