Travel/wine writer and founder of Writing Between the Vines, Marcy Gordon loves Croatia, especially the wines. Check out what sparked her interest and read about her first visit to Croatia. Thank you for sharing with us, Marcy!
The first time the wines of Croatia came across my radar was through a random Tweet I saw by Cliff Rames (founder, Wines of Croatia). Until that point I’d never tried any wine from the region and knew little about Croatian varietals. I was directed to Blue Danube Wines as the place to start. Through the Blue Danube Portfolio I was given a wonderful overview of what Croatia had to offer. I found a rustic elegance in the wines with flavor profiles both bright and deep, and a briny kiss of salinity that was intriguing and enjoyable. One producer that stood out for me was Bibich.
My love affair with Bibich wine began with that tasting and shortly afterwards I had the opportunity to visit Alen Bibić at his winery in Skradin, outside of Šibenik on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. It was there that my simple infatuation with Croatia bloomed into lust — an appreciative lust for the wine and food and the enviable coastal Croatian lifestyle.
Often we build things up in our heads and the reality leaves us disappointed. But my visit to Bibich far exceeded my expectations in the most delightful and unexpected ways. At the winery we sat at a small table and began an eight wine & seven course degustation. Here are my notes and some photos from the tasting:
Bibich Brut Sparkling wine paired with Oysters 2 ways: Raw Oysters and Oysters with Lemon ice and Worchester Foam.
Debit 2010, paired with a cucumber sorbet topped with trout caviar and granita of smoked trout. The Debit was dry and lively with a mineral chalky quality and nose of flowers granite dust. The cucumber sorbet was an unexpected flavor sensation but it really made the Debit come alive.
R5 Riserva 2008 a blend of Debit, Pošip, Maraština, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay –all the flavors in harmony. Paired with Sea bass tartar w/ olive oil, pepper, chili, and an “orange roof”.
Lučica 100% Debit paired with scallops grilled with goat cheese & black sesame seeds. The Lučica is a limited production wine from vines close to 50 years old. It had a light perfume of honeysuckle, and violets with notes of apple and apricot. I was entranced by the presence of granite, limestone and vanilla, a touch of caramel with a golden amber color. Seductive and captivating as if a chorus of angels was singing inside the glass, lulling you into complete surrender.
Riserva R6 2008 paired with Cuttlefish Pasta balsamic reduction and olive oil dust. The R6 is a blend of Plavic, Lasin and Babić with a floral rosy vanilla nose and full rich flavors. The pairing dish was a play on black and white, a deconstructed take on cuttlefish as a pasta with paski (cheese) cream, almonds, and a reduction of balsamic vinegar with olive oil dust. Deconstructed and delicious!
Sangreal Merlot 2007 and Bas de Bas Crno paired with Lamb Filet with hazel nut, chili oil and Mediterranean spice “glass top” brittle. This pairing was almost surreal. The Bas de Bas Syrah was an unexpected pleasure with oak notes on the nose and palate and a deep ruby color.
Ambra (100% Debit) paired with Baked Chocolate Mousse and Cream Cataluña. The Ambra had awesome fig and apricot flavors.
I drifted out of the tasting fully under the Bibich spell. Today I’m still enthralled by the wines and marvel at how one winery; one man, can create such essential wines that epitomize the essence of place.
We will be revisiting Dalmatia with Marcy in April 2016! Look for our stories and photos from the trip.