#WineWednesday Spotlight #54: Dingač Dingač

A special issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine featured conversations and tastings with 50 sommeliers, critics and wine educators. One of the articles was an interview of Beverage Director & Wine Buyer John Aranza by the magazine’s wine writer Tara Q. Thomas: “Dingac is to Croatia as Chianti is to Tuscany,” Aranza says. The country’s first officially recognized appellation, it sits on the west coast of the Pelješac Peninsula, the vineyards perched high up on cliffs at such extreme angles that donkey-pulled carts are the only vehicles allowed among the vines. Old vines and warm, southern Mediterranean climate mark the flavors of this wine, “very ripe, with lush fruit, exotic spices and smoke, all entangled with a backbone of acid,” Aranza says. “Dingac has always been the finest wine of Croatia. I’ve had vintages eighteen years old still showing beautifully. If there’s a defining wine for Croatia, it’s this grape and place.” Read the whole article here and click here to buy and enjoy one of the finest wines of Croatia!

#WineWednesday Spotlight #51: BIBICh Debit

Everyone agrees: The BIBICh Debit from the 2015 vintage is particularly awesome! Here is what wine professional Kerry Winslow has to say about it over at Grapelive: The stainless steel fermented and aged Debit comes from rocky dry farmed and head trained vines, the warm days and sea cooled nights gives this wine its poise and flavor filled vitality it bursts from the glass with citrus, white flowers and tropical notes with a hint of flinty spice and wet stones. Bright tangerine, melon and peach lead the way along with mango, lemon/lime, basil leaf and a nice dry saltiness. This is a pleasing crisp wine with a nice balance of juicy fruit and brisk elements, great with sea food, salads and just plain summer sipping! Debit is an interesting grape, it hasn’t been studied, though some claim it might be related to Italy’s Trebbiano, I find it more similar to Pecorino, and it drinks a little like a fine Soave, though less floral, the terroir influence makes it unique and clearly Bibich has it nailed, this is lovely stuff. 91 Points, grapelive You should read the whole tasting note here. And here is an Instagram review from sommelier Cliff Rames … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #51: BIBICh Debit

#WineWednesday Spotlight #50: Carić Bogdanjuša

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 … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #50: Carić Bogdanjuša

Možeš Možeš — The Epic Blue Danube Wine Roadtrip in Croatia!

Contributed by Marcy Gordon. Marcy is a freelance travel writer, published in a variety of publications, and the Forbes Travel Guide Corespondent for Napa and Sonoma. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Writing Between the Vines — Vineyard Retreats for Writers — A literary arts foundation providing residencies for writers on vineyard estates around the world. In April, Marcy joined the Blue Danube Wine team for two weeks in Dalmatia, Croatia. Back in April I embarked on an epic two-week road trip through Dalmatia in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina with Frank Dietrich, Catherine Granger and Gisele Carig of the Blue Danube Wine team. This post kicks off my blog series that will recount all the extraordinary locations, people, vineyards, wine, food and vistas and adventures from the journey. I would argue that a road trip is the best way to really experience a place. Sure you can travel by train or bus or boat, but to really get off the proverbial beaten track to truly go deep into a place and get into all sorts of adventures and tight spots (literally!) — you need to have a car. All of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had (both … Continue reading Možeš Možeš — The Epic Blue Danube Wine Roadtrip in Croatia!

Atypical Wines From a Tough 2014 Istrian Vintage

2014 was generally a tough vintage throughout the Istrian peninsula, including the nearly 50 km Slovenian coastline (Slovenska obala) that runs north towards Trieste. Heavy rains in August and a cold summer overall meant lower yields for everyone. However, it was still a quality vintage if you farmed well, hand picked and weren’t tied to a recipe. Such was the case with the red wines from Coronica in Croatia and the Malvazija from Santomas in Slovenia. These are also the wines they each typically make the least of anyway. Coronica’s production is mostly white and Santomas is overwhelmingly red. Coronica Crno and Gran Teran Drive about 15 minutes southeast of the coastal city of Umag (50 km south of Trieste) and follow a small road named Koreniki and you will find Moreno Coronica. Even though the land is the same, Moreno’s grandfather was Austro-Hungarian, his father was Italian, he was Yugoslavian, and now his children are Croatian. Nevertheless, he has a stone tablet from 1764 with the family name carved into it that ties it all together. Moreno Coronica Even further back, the region’s long history also includes Romans, Goths, Franks, and Bavarians. The Republic of Venice also had a … Continue reading Atypical Wines From a Tough 2014 Istrian Vintage

#WineWednesday Spotlight #36: Miloš Stagnum Rosé

Contributed by Croatian wine writer Nenad Trifunović. Nenad is based in Zagreb and writes regularly about wines, in particular those from Croatia, on his blog Dnevnik Vinopije (Wine Drinker Journal). To learn more read our interview with him. 2015 Miloš Stagnum Rosé Blood orange by color and scent. Pomegranate in the mouth, with its astringent vegital refreshment. A resemblance that transcends aromatic associations, Stagnum rosé is “white” juice of a noble red variety. One that is easy drinkable and full of freshness, with integrated acidity. A juice which refreshes since there is no sweetness whatsoever. Except in the aromatic sense because those sure are fruity enough, but also very much like tea. There’s tannin, evenly spread like a herbal component in pitted juice, an indicator of not over-processed fruit. Alcohol (13,5%) is invisible, carefully integrated, present only as a transferor of information, a persuasive witness of a proper wine in the glass and not a fruit juice. Stagnum Rosé is so impressive and incredibly subtle. It can be simply enjoyed, but can also be seen as an example of paradox. Those who seek depth will wait for Stagnum Rosé a bit, to toughen exposed to air and to approach its … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #36: Miloš Stagnum Rosé

#WineWednesday Spotlight #35: Piquentum Rouge

French-born winemaker Dimitri Brečević is the founder of Piquentum in Buzet, Istria where he grows the three Istrian varieties, Malvasia, Teran, and Refošk. In an old Italian water cistern made in the 1930s, Dimitri aims to make organic wines that express the typicity of the terroir. His Piquentum Rouge 2012, a 100% Teran, was recently tasted by Cliff Rames, sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia, a website committed to serving as a timely and reliable source of information about Croatian wines for wine advocates and consumers, professional wine buyers and sommeliers, agro-tourists, members of the international wine trade, and the global media. Here is his contribution: 100% Teran of Istria. Thick and viscous, mouth filling and vibrant–but only 12.5% alcohol. Savory with dusty plum, bright cherry, and cured meat notes. Perfect with Italian pasta, charcuterie, and grilled meats. Learn more about Piquentum here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #34: Bibich Lučica

Broken down by wine Instagrammer Michael Trainor aka @awordtothewine. Michael is a “high energy guitar playing glorified wino with an intense curiosity and passion for all living things” based in Los Angeles. Be sure to follow him and his poetry! 2011 Bibich Lučica To the EYE: Lučica is liquid gold. Uptown elegance. The belle of the ball. On the NOSE: working class rust, dried herbs. A bit of Vermouth. In the MOUTH: elegant and graceful. Salty ocean spray. Broken skin of fallen fruit. Citrusy finish, lemony orangey zest. Lučica was a stitch in time. Evokes memories. An example of a wine that may take you someplace you’ve never been.

Instagram review of Coronica Crno by Christine Havens

Portland-based wine writer Christine Havens has this great review of the 2014 Coronica Crno: My first Croatian wine, ‘CO’ or Coronica Crno is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Kraški Teran, a dark-skinned member of the Refosco family of grapes. I’m amazed at how gamey it is, with even a touch of rancio that translates as very-aged Iberico ham, along with dusty, clayey soils, roasted plums, dried orange peel, spice and violets. In the mouth, it’s quite silky with very subtle sweetness at the core, bolstered by moderate acidity and a subtle finish of dried herbs, perhaps bay leaf, and green olive. 12% ABV | Sample Follow Christine Havens on Instagram here.