Splendor of the Isles: Saveur’s Best Bottles from Croatia

Saveur's Best Croatian Wines

In the new issue of Saveur Magazine, writer and radio host Brendan Francis Newnam takes us to his family’s homeland: the tiny island of Murter in Northern Dalmatia, sharing family stories and traditional seafood recipes: Skampi na Buzaru (Langoustines in Tomato, Garlic, and Wine Sauce) Crni Rižoto (a Black Cuttlefish Risotto) Riba na Rostilju (Whole Grilled Fish with Lemon) and Brodet (a Croatian Fish Stew made with white wine). “In Croatia, a fish must swim three times: once in the sea, once in oil, and once in wine,” explains the author’s cousin.

While you enjoy reading the article, pour yourself a glass of one of Saveur’s wine recommendations from Dalmatia and Istria. We are proud to point out that 5 out of 6 are imported by Blue Danube Wine Co:

Carić Vina Bogdanjuša 2012:
If you haven’t heard of bogdanjuša, a grape from the Island of Hvar whose name means godsend, you’re not alone. Redolent of grapefruit peel and Mediterranean herbs, Carić Bogdanjuša 2012 ($17) is the first wine made from the rare grape to be exported to the U.S. Its citrusy flavor makes it a nice match for whole grilled fish.

Coronica Malvasia 2012:
Malvasia Istriana, one of Friuli’s favorite grapes, is named for the rust-colored soil of Istria in northern Croatia, where it originates. Like many of its Italian cousins, Coronica Malvasia 2012 ($20) smells of Meyer lemons and the sweet-scented acacia that blankets the countryside. The long mineral finish pairs nicely with the tang of a brodet.

Bibich R6 Riserva 2010:
As for reds, the country’s most promising grape is babić, according to Cliff Rames, founder of Wines of Croatia. Dusty and smoky on the nose, Bibich R6 Riserva 2010 ($20), made of babić and the local lasina and plavina grapes, tastes like a sunnier Rhône syrah.

Suha Punta Tirada Babić 2009:
Suha Punta Tirada Babić 2009 ($39), from the intricately walled “stone lace” vineyards in Primošten, a historic site, reveals the grape’s rich, dark, oaky side.

Miloš Plavac 2009:
The most widely planted Croatian grape is plavac mali (little blue), a purple descendant of zinfandel that thrives on the coast. Brambly Miloš Plavac 2009 ($27) has the aroma of dried figs and chewy mouth-coating tannins. It’s a foil for all sorts of game dishes.

Ready to plan a trip to Croatia this summer? Check Saveur’s Travel Guide to the Dalmatian Coast and don’t forget to visit our producers while you’re there.