A Day at the Beach with Luka Krajančić

Luka Krajančić reciting one of his own poems. On the road on the Island of Korčula. These images were captured during our visit to the Island of Korčula this past summer. What was originally a tasting appointment with Pošip specialist Luka Krajančić turned into one of the greatest experiences of wine I have ever had. We met Luka at his tightly packed but spotless winery in the tiny coastal village where he lives. This was the first time I had met Luka. He is a big man but also very gentle, even shy. When we arrived a couple was already there tasting. One was a photographer without a camera and the other a young restaurateur who had just moved to the island. Our new friends were happy to start the tasting over. A happy tasting group. The range of Krajančić’s Pošip redefined the varietal to me. They were the deepest, most powerful and yet most elegant examples I had tasted. Each one was different, but always reflective of the site, the vintage and Luka’s perspective. At the end he pulled out a sample of a 1 barrel production from an old patch of red Plavac vines, very rare on this … Continue reading A Day at the Beach with Luka Krajančić

Friends, Adventure and a lot of good Wine…

Franci Cvetko serving his full line-up at Kogl winery. Formally suited we hit the ground running on our latest work trip to Central Europe. We spent 12 days split between Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary. The night of our arrival was the kick-off Gala Dinner for the Zagreb Wine Gourmet Festival held in the capital’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Hosting over 140 wineries it is the largest tasting of Croatia’s wines all year. Attendees ranged from top politicians like President Ivo Josipovic to France’s father of biodynamic farming Nicolas Joly. The fair itself was a frenzy of trade and consumers out of their minds to taste everything Croatian. We went in with high expectations but still the number of excellent wines was shocking. There is a growing self awareness among producers that indigenous grape varieties made in local styles are Croatia’s great strength. This coupled with the rapid increases in quality is yielding the most transparent views of Croatia’s complex terroir yet seen. To watch this unfold is inexplicable. Despite the crowd, between tastings we were able to finalize most of our spring shipment. Both days we tasted until the lights flashed and our mouths hurt. After the tasting we managed … Continue reading Friends, Adventure and a lot of good Wine…

LOU on Vine: Gastronomic Culture both Foreign and Domestic

Lou loves 3 Liter Batič. One of our early supporters, Lou Amdur of LOU on Vine has always been one of my favorite people to work with. His love of wine and food extends far beyond his sensitive nose, palate. Tasting with Lou is more history, science, farming and people than strawberries and tannins. As a space LOU is intimate, slightly psychedelic and smells good, it attracts a whole host of interesting food and wine affiliated individuals oftentimes to dine and sometimes to host events. Coincidentally “A Feast for Ed Behr” editor of “The Art of Eating” was to be held the same day as our follow up tasting of all of the Croatian samples from our trip this summer with our partners Empty Glass. All of us really wanted to go to the Ed Behr dinner; the guy is kind of a legend. Thankfully Lou offered to let us hold the tasting there before hand so that we could. In 3 hours we tasted 60 wines that ranged from international varietals produced in a global style to obscurities like the white grape Gegic. Lou tasted most everything and at the same time readied the restaurant for the dinner, wrote … Continue reading LOU on Vine: Gastronomic Culture both Foreign and Domestic

Coronica: Full Circle

Moreno Coronica in his vineyard with the typical Istrian Terra Rosso. We have just gotten back from the Blue Danube company trip to Hungary, and there are so many highlights to share. However, this must be postponed because of the 2008 Coronica Istrian Malvazija from Istria, Croatia. Why? The reason is the season. Let me explain. Istrian Malvazija is primarily grown in Slovenia and parts of northern Italy but is most at home on the large Croatian peninsula of Istria at the north end of the Adriatic where Croatia, Slovenia and Italy meet. Wines from this grape vary greatly in style. Many are made in a fresh, reductive form, akin to the commercial white wines of New Zealand, pleasant but undistinguished. Others are macerated, or made like red wine where the skins are left with the juice during fermentation, resulting in deeply colored, even orange wines with red wine structure, tannin and all. Quality varies radically among wines of this already challenging-to-appreciate style. When bad they can be undrinkable, but the best examples are unforgettably good. In July 2009 we tasted the 2007 Coronica Malvasia during a tasting of potential imports. We all immediately noticed that there was more to … Continue reading Coronica: Full Circle

Recent Breakthrough: Cabernet Sauvignon goes with lobster

a great combo: lobster with Batic Cabernet Sauvignon Rose & Enjingi Grasevina. Most of my Christmas’ are spent in Maine at my parents. Their house is on an island in the Atlantic, just off the coast. Winters are both beautiful and brutal. No matter how cold the wind, or rough the seas the seafood remains ridiculously fresh. This year brought a special surprise; soft shell lobster. These freshly molted “bugs” are the unquestionable pinnacle of the lobster world; super sweet and tender. You wont find them far from where they are caught as they are much more vulnerable, to even gentle travel, than there hard shelled brethren. There is no reason to get fancy with them. In fact you can faintly read “steam only, serve with butter” On some of their shells. So what do you drink with succulent lobster in this arctic cold? Big Chard is the standard prescription but we have forced this for years, unless you are drinking properly aged top tier Burgundy the pairing rarely works. So Cabernet of course! The pairing logic: In a form this naked, lobster is best complemented by a soft, full bodied wine. We started with a decent feline scented Sauvignon … Continue reading Recent Breakthrough: Cabernet Sauvignon goes with lobster

Stetson & Kristyn Do the Danube

Stetson and Krystin in Vienna, Austria We’re on a journey through the wine regions of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. We’re here in Austria right now and we have a lot to say (maybe too much), but not enough time to say it. So, enjoy watching our video describing what we’ve learned and found so far on our wine adventure. –Stetson and Kristyn

Preparation for Wine Adventure

We are about to enjoy a night of burgundy and food before we head off to Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Our bags are packed and ready to go. I doubt we will be sleeping tonight, but that it is what the flight is for! We will try our best to blog about our journey daily, but if you don’t hear from us…squawk! A very special thanks to Frank and Zsuzsa of Blue Danube Wine Company who have made this trip possible. Words cannot describe how much we appreciate it. –Stetson and Kristyn

Bibich Riserva 2006: Its tasty, says IntoWineTV

IntoWine is a nice, review show for wine that is based in San Francisco. They have a good tendency to pick different wines for review on the web-based episodes. This naturally means that they pick up on a Croatian wine here and there. Recently they reviewed the 2006 Bibich Riserva. It’s a wine that I personally love and was happy to see it get some good press. The reviewers all gave it favorable marks. For some reason, they picked up on the oak of the wine a great deal, which is surprising as I’ve never found it all that oaky, but hey, they’re professionals, so maybe there’s a nuance I’ve been missing or I need to have a glass of the 2006 again. You can also try it for yourself to see what you think. It should be noted that in what Broadbent said, the third grape in the wine actually isn’t Bibich, but Babich. It’s a small detail, but the first is Alen Bibich’s family/winery name and the later is a common varietal grown in the Northern Dalmatia region.

Highlights of Old Dubrovnik

One of the many architectural beauties in Dubrovnik. Old Dubrovnik (or “Ragusa” as it was called in the Medieval ages) is a wonderful town for the history buff, who can wander for hours with a guidebook looking at buildings, and the amateur photographer, who can capture the details of atmosphere and architecture without regard for the madding crowds. We arrive early to roam atop the fortification walls (admission $10/person), which only those in relatively good stair-climbing shape should attempt, sunscreen in hand. We make more than half the three-hour circuit on the wide and undulating brick path, enjoying views of aquamarine sea and cannon portals on the outside (Bokar Bastion and Lovrijenac Fortress shown below) and time-worn lanes on the inside. Then we climb down to have a cappuccino and toast, and read the Herald Tribune. For lunch, we meet Vido B. and his wife. Vido is a former machinery engineer in long-distance shipping—once the major industry in these parts—and now a politician. He tells us a bit about the life, how it stopped being much fun because improvements in the speed of loading and offloading meant you wouldn’t be spending more than eight hours or so in any port, … Continue reading Highlights of Old Dubrovnik

Food and Wine on the Road to Dubrovnik

Ancient fortifications built to protect Ston where the Peljesac peninsula connects with the main land. Marija and Anita pick us up in the morning for our drive to Dubrovnik, the last coastal destination on our journey. On the way out of Orebic, we stop at the old Riviera Hotel to pick up some rootstock for Marija. The old hotel, which looks like a Communist-era castle but is probably earlier, has been bought by a man from Texas and his Croatian wife. They’ll remodel it into ten or eleven luxury suites, and there is already a winery in the cellar, where we taste a very promising pošip from a tank that will be blended with the same wine matured in barrels. Next to the hotel they’ve planted zinfandel vines, which will begin producing in another four years or so. A little later as we drive through the countryside we stop unannounced at Frano Milos’s winery, where we hurriedly taste three wines while he waits for an American tour to arrive. Frano is a curly-headed artist, perhaps in his early forties, and very charismatic—as testified by the magazine articles posted in his tasting room, showing him in GQ-esque poses. His work also … Continue reading Food and Wine on the Road to Dubrovnik