On May 1, 2013, Wine & Spirits Executive Editor Tara Q. Thomas organized a tasting of sommelier favorites from Eastern Europe for the Wine & Spirits 24th Annual Restaurant Poll. Watch the sommelier interviews that were conducted during the tasting and notice their enthusiasm for the wines: “These are wines with a sense of place, these are wines that tell a story of a remote region, and wines that make you travel, let’s say, imaginary travel while we’re drinking them.” shares Ciprian Toma from Domaine Wine Bar. Also note that several Blue Danube wines were among the sommelier favorites!
Historically, politics and wine make a bad pairing—and the combination certainly hasn’t favored the survival of indigenous grape varieties. Think of the vinepulling and planting schemes around the world that largely promoted high yields or courted commercial trends. Communism, in some countries, presented a different challenge: populations migrated to the cities or left altogether, viticulture languished, and vine varieties dwindled to a select few. The Sansigot grape, traditionally grown on the island of Krk just off the Croatian coastline, was one of Communism’s casualties until Ivica Dobrinčić of Šipun winery set about reviving the diversity of grapes that once grew on the island. Sansigot is a black variety that, before the 1950s, made up about 20 percent of black grapes growing on Krk. It has also grown on the tiny island of Susak to the southwest, where it is described as yielding “deeply colored, full-bodied wines” (Robinson, et al, Wine Grapes). On Krk, Sipun and one other winery make a varietal Sansigot that is light-bodied, with a delicate floral aroma and low tannins—a difference Ivica attributes to the separate location and new winemaking technology. During Communism, industrialization was the national priority, with the result that people moved to the cities … Continue reading Sansigot: A Story of Grape Rescue on the Island of Krk
PROTOCOL wine studio is dedicated to exploring the culture of wine via educational events. As we lay our roots, we’re exploring various concepts in group wine experiences. We invite you to review our event schedule and attend: #WineStudio Led by successful local Social Media guru Bill Eyer of The Cuvee Corner Wine Blog, PROTOCOL wine studio presents a twitter-based educational program where we engage our brains and palates! “Meet” and taste with other wine-minded folks throughout the country and beyond. Contact us for more info. Hashtag: #winestudio 6:00pm – 7:00pm Pacific Time Mondays Session III – Croatia We’ll tackle five producers and taste grapes that we can’t pronounce without pronunciation keys! We’ll also host a few guests who just returned from the International Wine Tourism Conference – stay tuned! If you’d like to taste the below wines along with the studio gang, connect with us. 4/8: Sipun Zlahtina 2011 Blanc 4/15: Piquentum Malvasia 2011 Blanc 4/22: Daruvar Grasevina 2011 Blanc 4/29: Dingac Plavac 2010 Red 5/6: Bibich R6 Riserva 2009 Rouge For more information see: Croatian Wines and other Unpronounceable Things
The last few weeks have been particularly active for us, even nuts. We are in the middle of a visit from Ivica Dobrinčić of Šipun and Alen Bibić of Bibich Winery in NYC for Vina Croatia. In the air right now are Judit and Jozsef Bodó of Bott Pince in Tokaj who will visit us in NY first then SF and LA. Finally I take a moment to read the pamphlets Ivica brought to promote his wines at the various tastings. Nice pictures, good information, nicely written, and then the last few sentences made me stop to share. He is writing in reference to the wines of his native Krk, “The traditional, but sometimes neglected viticulture and wine production have recently evolved in a modern technologically sophisticated and promising industry, Such a development has improved the existence of many domestic families. It has also prevented people from leaving their birthplace, and at the same time generated superior results.” We understand wine as a beverage and a commodity, but cultural preservative, or even cultural booster? When I consider the history and tradition behind these families, hear them share their visionary ideas and then taste their already singular and delicious wines, I … Continue reading Wine: a cultural preservative?
Do you know the relationship between the Dalmatian grapes Crljenak Kaštelanski, Dobričić, Plavac Mali, and Zinfandel? Do you want to learn more about Southern Croatia’s major wine regions: Skradin, Hvar, Brač, Vis, Korčula, Postup, Dingač, and Konavle? The third edition of Vinologue Dalmatia is the best source of information for those looking to experience great Southern Croatian wines and understand their historical and regional background. This enotourism guide features 88 up-to-date winerie profiles, hundreds of full color photos, and tasting notes for 180 wines. Like all Vinologue Guides, it includes detailed maps, GPS coordinates, history, language, descriptions of wine regions and native grape varietals, and how to understand Croatian wine labels. It’s available for immediate download to your smartphone, e-reader, tablet, or computer.
Almost 200 years after the Zinfandel wine grapes arrived in America via the Austrian Imperial Nursery, the almost extinct Dalmatian grape and original Zinfandel Crljenak Kaštelanski has arrived in California via the Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis. Crljenak was discovered in September 2000 in a vineyard of mixed planting along the Dalmatian coast by Dr. Edi Maletic and Dr. Ivan Pejic of the University of Zagreb. Along with Dr. Carole Meredith of UC Davis, they had been looking for a Croatian Zinfandel for many years, collecting and analyzing many samples of old Croatian varieties. Fortunately, DNA testing at Dr Meredith’s lab quickly revealed that Crljenak and Zinfandel were the same variety. The quest for Zinfandel’s roots was finally over. In 2008, at the request of Dave Gates, vice-president of vineyard operation at Ridge Vineyards, Drs Pejic and Maletic sent vines of Crljenak to the Grape Registration & Certification Program at UC Davis that tests the grapevines for viruses and diseases. Several other native varieties were thought to be valuable to California growers and were sent as well, including Plavac Mali, Babic, Debit, Dobricic, Glavinusa, Pribidrag, Skrlet, and Zlahtina. The now certified and disease-free Crljenak will be propagated and planted … Continue reading Crljenak Kaštelanski, the original Zinfandel, now a certified grape in California
Dear Friends of Blue Danube Wine, We are happy to invite you to “Out of the Blue” a casual impromptu pre-holiday trade only tasting. Thanks to your support the Blue Danube Wine Co. portfolio is evolving. We are delving into regions, varieties and styles that demand further study and that the market has shown a taste for. Monday September 17th we will present our deepest selection of wines from Croatia and Slovenia as well as all wines which are now available in our TAKE 5 sales promotion. At this tasting we will pour the wines of ten leading estates. Some of them see their first premiere in the U.S., many are the new vintages which just arrived. This is a rare opportunity to taste them in a comprehensive line-up. SLOVENIA: Batic, Kabaj, Kogl, Crnko, and Stoka CROATIA: BIBICh, Coronica, Piquentum, Terzolo, Dingac Winery We’re sure you will enjoy exploring our expanding portfolio. Please see attached invitation. Thank you for your interest, we hope to see you at the tasting! Cheers, Frank, David, and Michael (and Stetson from New York) Bacaro LA 2308 South Union Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90007 good parking on surrounding streets Monday September 17th 2012 – 12pm-4pm Light … Continue reading Out of the BLUE tasting in LA
After 3 weeks of Friday nights at Alphabet City Wine Co finishing with my #2 East Coast tasting, I need a break. These guys don’t just sell wine, they use it. They drink it, they share it, they drink it, they sell it, drink some more, share some more, then close the shop to head over to Edi and the Wolf for more of the same. Its fun, but brutal. Party aside, manager and co-owner Keith Beavers talks about wine with the same hurried enthusiasm as a 12 year old geeking out on Star Wars (Keith’s second passion). Late night while gulping Črnko – Jareninčan with Keith, I compared the wine to Princess Lea and that was that, we were doing a tasting, next week in fact. Keith was not present due to an emergency research trip to study pina coladas in Mexico. Luckily his debaucherous Muay Thai trained, photographer/romeo/assistant-manager Ben Kaufman, pictured drinking from the bottle, was on hand to hold down the fort. We poured a really challenging line up that included the Crnko, the 09 Kabaj Rebula and the Dingač Vinarija – Pelješac. Initially I saw no apparent way to line up these 3 aromatically and texturally … Continue reading Alphabet City Wine Co. Photon Torpedos and Rebula
Can you taste terroir? In their Fall 2012 special issue, Wine & Spirits Magazine introduces the Terroir Top 100, 100 wines that “rocked our critics over the last 12 months, wines that transport us to another place: These 100 terroir-expressive selections make us believe that the earth, the sun, the wind and the rain are present in the glass, their combination distinctive and delicious.” The only Croatian wine in the TOP 100 is our Intrada Pošip by Krajančić. Čestitam, Luka! Krajančić 2009 Korčula Intrada Pošip: Terroir score 6.2, 90 points “Korcula is basically a sun-drenched, 100-square mile chunk of karst off the coast of Croatia. The climate is Mediterranean, and water is scarce, as it drains right through the limestone. Tasting Luca Krajancic’s Intrada, it tastes as through its pošip vines must have developed a taste for seawater in self-defense, it is so mouth-wateringly saline, with a sunny, fresh orange marmelade flavor to balance. There is no need to be familiar with the Dalmatian Coast to “get” this wine: it’s the sort of wine that immediately brings to mind seaside vacations and seafood in tis flavors and feel.”
San Fransisco based freelance photographer Robin Jolin has expertly documented a number of Blue Danube Wine Co events. Usually asking for payment in wine, we have watched her interest grow beyond the glass. Robin and her husband Jarred made their first trip to Middle Europe this past April. They spent two weeks wandering between the Slovenian/Italian border and the Island of Krk visiting wine producers and absorbing the hospitality, culture, olive oil, truffles, and most of all wine. The photographs are Robin’s, the words are Jarred’s. Read and view with caution, or risk an impulse purchase of a plane ticket to Ljubljana. Stetson: Beforehand what were your expectations of this trip?Jerred: We expected to experience a beautiful foreign land with the freedom a rented, compact automobile offers, all the while remaining well-fed on delicious, local fare and wine varietals, and to meet a small cross section of those responsible for creating these delectable treats. One aspect of traveling through this part of the world that we didn’t expect was the hospitality offered us by the winemakers we visited. Although strangers they treated us like important guests, providing us with anything necessary to keep us satiated. Another aspect we didn’t expect … Continue reading Insight and imagery: a photographer and her husband visit Slovenia and Croatia for the first time