#WineWednesday Spotlight #141: An Homage to Anthony Bourdain

In April 2012, Antony Bourdain toured Croatia’s Istria and Dalmatia regions and literally got knocked off his feet as he is treated to the finest Mediterranean cuisine and wines. “Why are the wines so good here?” asks Antony Bourdain while tasting Alen Bibić‘s red blend R6. “Is this a restaurant?” he asks later after being served a delicate scallops dish topped with goat cheese paired with BIBICh R5. “What’s going on here, really?” After the meal, he will thank Alen’s wife Vesna, a trained chef, on his knees for this impromptu meal “of epic quality accompanied by equally epic wines.” Let’s raise a glass of BIBICh wines in memory of Tony. Here is a moving homage from our friend and New York based sommelier and Wines of Croatia founder Cliff Rames: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bjx87sSBsTb/?hl=en&taken-by=cliff_rames And also from our friend wine writer and Founder – Writing Between the Vines Marcy Gordon: The sun sets on another day—let’s seize the moment while we can. Pay the debt with Debit. Pouring one for Mr. Bourdain tonight—cheers to the explorers who seek out great adventure and wine in life. I love the many expressions of Debit, an indigenous grape of Croatia. Alen Bibić knows how to … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #141: An Homage to Anthony Bourdain

Border(less) Regions are Great for Wine

Take a good dose of nationalism, a slightly larger dollop of history, and fuse it with taking the best from what’s around you and creating something new. This Slovenian and Istrian container is emblematic of changing flags and political systems forcing winemakers to make something that can’t be taken away from them. New co-fermented liters from Štajerska and Dolenjsko. Sanguine Teran, Refošk, Malvazija and Vitovska from both Istria and the Kras. The singular (and extremely limited) Batič wines from Vipavska Dolina. And finally, an iconic example of the most planted grape in Croatia. The borders move around, but the land and people often don’t. In 1993, Željko Adžić scored for the Croatian National soccer team and helped defeat Ukraine 3-1 — hero status in Croatia! In 1998, he left soccer to follow his larger passion for making wine in Kutjevo (interior Croatia), working with his father Antun full time. Slightly prior to 1993, Cistercian monks founded a winery in Kutjevo in 1232. It still stands and produces Graševina (Grash-eh-veena), the most planted grape in Croatia. The Adžić family continues this tradition. Graševina is high in acidity, has great weight, and carries both residual sugar and botrytis well. In Kutjevo, where … Continue reading Border(less) Regions are Great for Wine

Balkan Wine Box

As you drive up and down the Croatian coast and up into the Karst ridden hinterlands of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is one constant smell: the combination of herbs and rocks. What “Garrigue” is to the French, “Friškina” is to the Balkans – herbs, rocks and salt baking under the sun. It’s also oddly refreshing. Maybe it’s the ocean air, and maybe it’s the super counterintuitive acidity of the wines and olive oils. Whatever it is, very few smells trigger our olfactory memory so violently. We want Brudet (fish stew), Crni Rižoto (squid ink risotto), octopus cooked under “Peka,” Palačinka (crepes) filled with small fish, and everything bathed in Dalmatian olive oil. Focusing on the Dalmatian coast with a quick jump into Bosnia and Herzegovina (Istrian and Slavonian wines arrive in June), please consider these wines as ideal lubricates for our transition into Spring. Starting on the Island of Korčula off the Southern Dalmatian Coast, three new Pošips from Frano Banicević’s Toreta winery. Pošip is a white grape that can muster a ton of acidity and alcohol if left unchecked. Farmed well on the windy island it can produce salty, aromatic and lively wines. From stainless steel to acacia fermented, … Continue reading Balkan Wine Box

#WineWednesday Spotlight #136: Miloš Stagnum

A couple of months ago, Cliff Rames, founder of Wines of Croatia and also Contributing-Editor-at-Large for The SOMM Journal, led the SommCon San Diego attendees though a Wines of Croatia presentation, pointing out the connection between Croatia and California and recalling the quest for Zinfandel’s origins: Geographically, Croatia appeared to be a plausible source and once researchers began testing, they found numerous varieties that shared Zinfandel’s genetic material—including Plavac Mali. After years of study, they traced an exact match: seven vines that were locally called Crljenak Kaštelanski (historically known as Tribidrag) in the Dalmatian region of coastal Croatia. Plavac Mali, native to the Adriatic Coast, is the offspring of Tribidrag and Dobričić. The region’s extremely dry conditions and lack of irrigation make viticulture difficult and Plavac Mali was preferred over Zinfandel. Cliff presented the Miloš Stagnum 2007 to showcase how well Plavac Mali can age despite its low acidity and higher alcohol content: Intriguing aromas of mint, clove, and mushroom. On the palate, notes of bay leaf and green figs mingle around a tannic core of light roasted coffee, mint, chocolate, and plum pudding. A fascinating wine considering its maturity. We just received the Miloš Stagnum 2008, also a very … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #136: Miloš Stagnum

It’s Springtime! Megjött a kikelet!

When French eonologist Stéphanie Berecz founded Kikelet Pince with her husband Zsolt in Tarcal, Tokaj, she wanted a name that was easy to write and pronounce. She chose Kikelet, which means springtime in Hungarian or more literally “out-waking” (“ki” meaning “out”, “kel” is “to wake up” so “kelet” is technically “waking”). Kikelet refers to that moment when the young buds open up and the first spring flowers start blooming as the snow melts. Stéphanie told us when we visited the winery some years ago that she was enchanted by the fact that there was a Hungarian word for this moment and that she named the winery after it. So Spring is in the air and we start craving for brighter, more fruit-forward wines that can be paired with green salads, spring vegetables and fresh fruits. Kikelet’s Hárslevelű and Furmint wines are delicious Springtime wines, quite mineral and savory and full of stony fruit flavors. Also from Hungary, the Gilvesy Bohém Cuvée is a fragrant and zingy blend of Olaszrizling, Pinot Gris, Rhine Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, the Gallay Bistronauta White (60% Pinot blanc, 40% Zenit) is an aromatic and easy going bistro wine, and the Pfneiszl Zefir is a refreshing … Continue reading It’s Springtime! Megjött a kikelet!

#WineWednesday Spotlight #131: Bibich Sangreal Merlot

After a long stretch of wet weather, Northern California is finally heating up. The hills are green with bright patches of orange poppies, purple lupine and yellow mustard flowers. It’s finally springtime and for our friend Marcy Gordon, it’s time to open a sunny and bright Bibich Sangreal Merlot: Spring is here and I decided to open a Bibich Sangreal that I’ve been hoarding for a while to pair with a mushroom polenta dish. At first, I thought Uh Oh..,I’ve held it too long. Then about 8 minutes later it was all…Ahhh….Yes!! It’s got that tell-tale Croatian salinity and that almost indescribable smell (a cross between a sunny beach and a lavender sage martini ) a Mediterranean garrigue that is undeniably Croatian. First taste was almost lemony and sour cherry. But upon opening, the body softens, the tannins unclench and it releases a pleasant bright cherry flavor (still a tad sour) along with notes of blackberry, mocha, and earth. The complexity of the region comes into play with a touch of thyme and mint and that sotto voce salinity. Merlot—it’s not just for breakfast anymore! It seems Merlot is on the rise again and if you are looking to explore … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #131: Bibich Sangreal Merlot

#WineWednesday Spotlight #115: Miloš Rosé

I served the Miloš Rosé 2016 for Thanksgiving last week and wow, this was one of the best pairings ever! Especially with the cranberry sauce, but also with the bitter greens, the gravy, the chestnuts, and of course the turkey. This is a pretty hearty wine, made from old Plavac Mali vines grown on the steep terraced slopes of the Pelješac Peninsula, and it can really stand up to all kinds of richly flavored food. This is also one of our friend Marcy’s favorite Rosés. She still remembers when we tasted it on the Mali Ston’s harbour with briny oysters: A toast to the last day of summer with this beautiful Rosé from Miloš in Croatia. It smells like Croatia — of ancient vines in limestone vineyards caressed by sun and sea. Reminds me of the spectacular lunch in Ston we enjoyed with the Miloš brothers, our table filled with Ston oysters and other delights of the sea alongside many bottles of Miloš wine. What a day! #rosé #croatia #miloswinery #miloš #wine #bluedanubewine #plavacmali #bluedanubewine #rosèallyear For sure you can drink this Rosé all year long. Plus now is oyster season so what are you waiting for?

#WineWednesday Spotlight #110: BIBICh R6

This Instagram post is a contribution from BIBICh wine lover Jenny Loudis: The best #wine from #croatia #bibichwinery #bourdainrecommended #jandjimbibe #bluedanubewine #croatianwine BIBICh R6 is deliciously fruity and spicy, the perfect wine this fall with a hearty pasta dish like Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage-Tomato Sauce, Arugula and Parmesan. And don’t forget to follow Jenny Loudis on on Instagram.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #108: Dubrovački Podrumi Malvasija Dubrovačka

“It’s still summer here” for our friend Marcy Gordon. The temperatures are mild, the trees are still green, and sweet cherry tomatoes, and vibrant bell peppers are in season. So let’s enjoy this late Californian summer with a glass of crisp Dubrovački Podrumi Malvasija: I may be saying “It’s still summer here” well into February the way things are going–but tonight we have a bit of sunny Croatia in our glass with this crisp, bright, and fresh 2015 Malvasija Dubrovačka from Dubrovački Prodrumi. It’s lemony, and slightly chalky. Immensely quaffable! Pairing great with the last of the tomatoes and some peppers. I visited Dubrovački Prodrumi just south of Dubrovnik last year on the Epic Blue Danube Road Trip. Fun Times! #croatia #malvasija #dalmatia #dubrovačkiprodrumi #dalmatianwine #winesofcroatia #bluedanubewine #wine #itsstillsummerhere Yes we agree, Croatia will always bring fond (and epic) memories to all of us! Follow Marcy on Instagram.

Cracking Croatian Wine: A Visitor-Friendly Guide

After four years of deliberating and planning together, in May 2015, Charine Tan and Dr Matthew Horkey sold almost all of their possessions, dropped the comfort and security of their lucrative careers, and left Singapore to travel around the world. With a dream of building a location-independent business and to absorb the world’s lessons, they have explored over 50 wine regions and published four books (three of them are wine related) along the way. Cracking Croatian Wine: A Visitor-Friendly Guide is the third in a series of ‘Exotic Wine Travel’ books that they plan to author. They also share wine travel tips, videos, wine-related stories, and exciting finds from lesser-known wine regions on exoticwinetravel.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. When asked about the name ‘Exotic Wine Travel’, the duo explained that the problem with lesser-known wine regions and exotic wines is that, often, visitors bounce around a country swiftly and end up tasting some sub-standard local wines. Their experiences tend to be incidental and far from ideal. For that reason, Charine and Matthew aim to explore the unheralded wine regions of the world and introduce the readers to the best that those places have to offer. To achieve that, they … Continue reading Cracking Croatian Wine: A Visitor-Friendly Guide