Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe
Vineyards in front of Čara
Built in 1983, the company that is now Pošip Čara on the island of Korčula, started as one of the Yugoslavian wine making collectives. All of the grapes from the surrounding area in the town of Čara fed in to this one factory to produce the wines of which 90% were whites. There were 100 hectares of land which over time became dedicated to the production of Pošip. In standard Communist thinking, this centralized production made sense as there were plenty of areas that produced reds, so why not focus this region on just whites as they grew extremely well there? Well, the result of this today is that the region is still primarily growing only whites and while there are a few private growers in the region, the now privately owned Pošip Čara still dominates production with 300,000 bottles a year leaving their doors.
This is all done with a scant 10 people on staff, of which, one is Toni Tomić who was actually a mechanic, showing us around as he spoke the best English. But, even though he worked on the equipment that made the wine, he knew a considerable amount about the wines and the history of the company. Later we found out that he is one of the people who has been with the company since the first day they started to produce.
The most likely reason for Pošip Čara’s success is that they focus on just a few wines. They have a little bit of table Plavac that they produce, but the real meat is in the Pošip. We tasted the 2006 varietal which was pleasant and much like most standard Pošip wines. There are some nice fruit aromas, but it has a bit of a Sauvignon Blanc finish to it. But, it did work as a good entry point for the Marko Polo, which is their flagship wine and what a wine it is with a honeysuckle and flowery nose that leads in a body full of strong fruits. Amazingly, neither of wines are aged in oak. They reserve that for a mere 200 liters that no matter how much we begged, we were not able to get at. We assume that they are also not available for sale as they are undoubtedly quite remarkable.
Jedinstvo’s Quality level white
In a sharp contrast to Pošip Čara is Jedinstvo PZ which is a bit down the road outside of Smokvica. They were also a collective, but started earlier in 1954. Their privatization went much differently and they focused on producing a greater number of wines, but at a much lower rating level that ranges from wines you buy by the liter to low-end ‘quality’ level wines that are mostly suitable for drinking with a meal.
It is interesting to see how these two wine making companies with similar roots in such a small area have diverged so much in the tastes of wines that they produce. But, if you’re a white wine lover and haven’t tried Pošip yet, we highly recommend Pošip Čara.