British-born and wine lover Paul Bradbury — who has made the island of Hvar his adopted homeland — recently launched Total Croatia Wine, a new website dedicated to Croatian wine tourism, winemakers, wine festivals and wine shops and bars. The site has also a useful section on indigenous Croatian grapes, including this article on Bogdanjuša, a unique white grape varietal native to the island.
If you’ve never been on the Croatian island of Hvar, you’ve probably never had Bogdanuša wine, an autochthonous white wine, found almost exclusively on that island – that has been, as legend has it, grown there since the time of the ancient Greeks. Originally found on the Stari Grad Plain, a cultural landscape protected by UNESCO that has remained practically intact since it was first colonized by Greeks in the 4th century BC and where vines were one of the major crops, along with the olives. It is a white wine of a very rich greenish-yellow colour, unexpectedly fresh taste (with just the right amount of bitterness that is rarely found in other wines from the Croatian islands) and quite low alcohol content, almost always around 12%. Those that like bogdanuša will tell you that its taste reminds them of the lavender that has also been traditionally grown in Stari Grad Plain, alongside the vines.
Vina Carić is one of the best Bogdanjuša producers on Hvar. It was nice to retaste its 2015 Bogdanjuša with other Blue Danubians and friends this weekend. With less than 11% alcohol, the wine is light and airy, fresh and crisp, with a smell of dried mediterranean herbs.