Wines from Central and Eastern Europe are turning American heads

Check the story called “East goes West — Wines from Central and Eastern Europe are turning American heads” in the latest issue of Imbibe Magazine. With interviews of Jeff Berlin, sommelier at À Côté, Michelle Polzine, owner of 20th Century Cafe, Paul Einbund, wine director for Frances and Octavia in San Francisco, Henry Beylin, sommelier of Los Angeles’ Gjelina, and our own Frank Dietrich, wine writer Jennifer Fiedler explores how wines from Central and Eastern Europe—what she calls the older Old World—are steadily making their way westward to some of the best restaurants’ wine lists. Twenty years ago, a Plavac Mali or Rebula would have been a rare find on an American wine list of any stature, much less at a tiny local bistro or neighborhood wine shop. But what began as a small trickle of quality Central and Eastern European wine into U.S. markets—a Hungarian dry Furmint here, a Georgian Saperavi there—has gradually grown to a steady stream, buoyed by support from dedicated importers, enthusiastic sommeliers, and a public eager to explore wines outside of the traditional canon. “[These wines] are very unique, and very expressive of where they come from,” says Jeff Berlin, sommelier at À Côté in … Continue reading Wines from Central and Eastern Europe are turning American heads

Taste Croatian Wine, Admire Croatian Inspired Artwork

This last September three member artists from Viewpoints Gallery, Los Altos, CA, spent a week painting in Hvar, Croatia on a retreat organized by our friend, Marion Podolski. Marion and her husband, Zdravko, have a home on the island and spend part of the year living there. This exhibit is a collection of the paintings begun at various sites around the island and celebrates a week of friendship, food, wine and the natural beauty of Hvar. We hope you can join us at the opening reception Friday, November 6th 2015 5-8pm. The exhibit, consisting of watercolor paintings, will be hung on one front wall of the gallery. Of course the best way to enjoy Croatian inspired artwork is with a glass of Croatian wine! Look for our table for a taste of fine Croatian wine. Viewpoints Gallery – 315 State Street, Los Altos, CA 94022  Phone: (650) 941-5789 To learn more about the artist retreat and the Podolski’s adventures on Hvar, read their blog: Go Hvar.   Photo Credit: Dave Zittin

Hungarian Wine Regions: Szekszárd and its Elegant Reds

Get to know Hungary’s premier red wine region, Szekszárd. The wine region of Szekszárd, known mostly for its famous Kadarka red wine, has been noted for its wine culture since Roman times and became one of the main centres of Hungarian red wine production in the 15th century. As the climate of the sunny wine region is rather balanced, excellent red grapes can grow on the mostly loess lands. Szekszárd reds are known for their velvety texture, and often show a lot of elegance. Szekszárd, along with Eger, is also one of the two regions that produce the famous Hungarian Bikavér. Read the rest of the guide, written by Hungary Today, here. For an excellent example of the region and its signature Kadarka grape, try the sophisticated wines from the Eszterbauer family.

Bibich R5 as reviewed by Nenad Trifunović

The Bibich Winery is located in the hills of Skradin, 5 miles east of the idyllic port city of Šibenik, along Croatia’s island speckled coast. Across the Adriatic from Italy, it is roughly in line with the wine hills of Tuscany. With a focus on indigenous varietals as well as international ones, the Bibich winery produces a range of fine wines for every palate or mood. Nenad Trifunović, founder of Wine Drinker Journal, has generously shared his recent review of Bibich R5 2012 with us. His description will surely peak your interest in this unique white blend. Bibich, R5, 2012 Wood & Herbs in all`antica (the manner of the ancients) style… Dry structure with firm, grippy tannins on the palate. At the same time, the wine is juicy, at a perfectly drinkable 13% alc with acidity as smooth as silk. A crazy dance of fresh fruit (some quince and apricot) and exotic spices interconnected by oxidative character. Its hard to tell if you are in the fanciest restaurant imaginable or in a genuine Dalmatian “konoba” (traditional restaurant) at the start of the century. Unthinkable combination of flavors and yet they come together so very naturally, like sea salt and olive … Continue reading Bibich R5 as reviewed by Nenad Trifunović

Piquentum Blanc 2013 & 2014: A review by Nenad Trifunović

Ever wondered about the distinctive characteristics of Malvasia from Istria, Croatia? Respected Croatian wine writer Nenad Trifunović explains what to appreciate from the varietal, why Piquentum Blanc is one of his favorite examples, and the key differences between the last two vintages. Piquentum, Blanc 2014 vs. Piquentum, Blanc 2013 Soft aromas on the nose with gentle acacia and light, very mild oxidative hints from un-typical Malvasia Istriana, a clone of the varietal that is quite different from others. Different from dominant styles, Dimitri Brečević always tries to present the native and true character of Malvasia Istriana. Despite the fact that 2014 was an extremely difficult vintage, this wine shatters expectations. Although the fruity Malvasia Istriana wines can be drunk upon release, the wines benefit from a little aging to allow the bracing acidity to integrate completely. That being said, the 2014 is still green and raw in comparison to 2013. However, both wines are on the same track. The 2013 vintage exhibits the calm, supple side of Malvasia consistent with Dimitri Brečević’s sensibility. Persistent on the palate with a high level of extraction. Such beautiful simplicity makes a man wonder why not all Malvasia Istriana`s aren`t like this. Of course, … Continue reading Piquentum Blanc 2013 & 2014: A review by Nenad Trifunović

Eszterbauer Kadarka Sogor – Reviews About Wines at its Best

The Eszterbauer family has farmed the chalk and loess hills of Szekszard since 1746. “Sogor” is Hungarian for brother-in-law and is so named for the close relationship between the two that existed in this family. Michael Zeebroek, who’s goal it is to “get the world to respect Hungarian wines”, recently reviewed this wine for his personal blog. This wine is almost close to perfection for me. It has class, elegance and style. The wine is in the budget range but could easily be worth double it’s price. Read the whole review here. We cannot agree more! Purchase a bottle to experience perfection for yourself: https://www.bluedanubewine.com/wine/615/

Curious & Thirsty: Wines of Croatia

Our friend, and sommelier Cliff Rames of Wines of Croatia, put together a fantastic article about the key wines of Croatia for Travel Curious Often. From the balmy banks of the Danube to the crystalline shores of Istria and Dalmatia, from the historic hills of the Croatian Uplands to the ancient walls of Stari Grad Field, and from the tables of Manhattan to the tasting rooms of Napa Valley, Croatia offers a diverse selection of wine styles and native grape varieties to suit every palate. Croatia may be a small country but it is rich in tradition and deeply rooted in the production and consumption of wine – an alluring pastime that is increasingly available for the adventurous wine lover to discover. Read the whole article here. Wines and grape varietals mentioned in the article: 1. Dubrovački Podrumi Crljenak Kaštelanski 2012 2. Carić Vina Plovac Ploški 2008 3. Piquentum Blanc 2013 (Istrian Malvasia) 4. Piquentum Rouge 2012 (Teran) 5. Dingač Vinarija Pelješac 2012 6. Dingač Vinarija Dingač 2009 7. Suha Punta Tirada Babić 2009 8. Šipun Žlahtina 2013 Browse all our Croatian wines here.