Is Korčula’s Pošip the Arbor Gold of Game of Thrones?

“Far be it from me to keep you from the piss tasting,” said Leo. “Myself, I prefer the taste of Arbor gold.” A Feast for Crows By George R. R. Martin I have been exploring Westeros—the world of the TV show Game of Thrones—for many years: first with my imagination through the books and the show, and more recently physically. During a recent trip to Croatia where we visited producers, we luckily were able to discover some of the show’s filming locations. But there was something I also wanted to do in Croatia: find out what the wines of Westeros—an Arbor gold, a Dornish sour red—taste like. Especially Arbor gold, considered to be the finest wine in all the Seven Kingdoms. So as we were driving around Dalmatia visiting producers, we happily recognized some of the Game of Thrones filming sites: the Red Keep and the stairs to the Great Sept of Baelor in Dubrovnik, the Diocletian’s Palace in Split where Daenerys chained her dragons in the basement, and then I think I found Arbor gold: it was in Korčula and the wine was Pošip. The Geography The Arbor is an island off the southwestern coast of Westeros, separated from … Continue reading Is Korčula’s Pošip the Arbor Gold of Game of Thrones?

Happy 52nd Anniversary to the Dingač Appellation

Originally published by Marija Mrgudić on Facebook. Republished here with permission. Marija Mrgudić is a distinguished wine maker in Orebić on the Pelješac peninsula in Croatia. The Bura-Mrgudić family winery makes internationally renowned wines in the premier cru vineyards Dingač and Postup. English translation courtesy of Zdravko Podolski. 52 Years of the Dingač Brand Fifty two years ago, on May 13th 1964, the name ‘Dingač’ was first registered. The Dingač Cooperative in Potomje on the Pelješac peninsula, received its certificate from the International Bureaux for the Protection of Industrial, Literary, and Artistic Property (Bureaux Internationaux reunis pour la protection da la propriete industrielle, litteraire et artistique Geneve – now subsumed into the World International Property Organisation). Dingač thus became the very first internationally protected wine from the former Yugoslavia. It was protected and listed as top quality wine, based on a study for the determination of properties of top quality red wines  from the Dingač area. The study was prepared by experts from the Split Institute for Adriatic Culture, according to the Geneva Convention on Intellectual Property. The whole process was started by the renowned Marcel Jelaska, and it was the first such effort by the Institute. 1961 was the … Continue reading Happy 52nd Anniversary to the Dingač Appellation

Explore Croatia with Secret Dalmatia

Written by Alan Mandić, founder Secret Dalmatia. As the founder and managing director, Alan is personally dedicated to the vision of bringing the hidden beauties of Croatia to every client. Alan has a deep connection to his country, so after finishing his university education at the New England School of Arts & Design in Boston, he decided to return to Croatia. The decision to found Secret Dalmatia followed an epiphany he had whilst wandering around Bribirska Glavica, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. As the sunset settled in the distance, he stumbled upon two open sarcophagi and thought: “I must show this to the world!” Few months later, in 2005, he put together his passion, experience, and knowledge to create Secret Dalmatia and he has been dedicated to it full-time ever since. Savoring the lingering taste of Istrian truffles, Pag cheese and Ston oysters, bedazzled by the Adriatic’s virgin olive oils and world-class wines, Anthony Bourdain declared Croatia ‘the next big thing’. Travel Channel’s Andy Zimmerman followed with his Bizarre Foods. Traveling further back in time, he sought out authentic old specialties still simmering in spite of modern times, tasting, among others, dormice (dormouse special) on … Continue reading Explore Croatia with Secret Dalmatia

#WineWednesday Spotlight #28: Coronica Crno Red Blend

Written by Tara Q. Thomas for Wine & Spirits Magazine. Republished here with her permission. Tara has been a wine writer for about 15 years, mainly at Wine & Spirits, where she is the Executive Editor and the wine critic for wines of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. 2014 Coronica Crno (Best Buy)- 90 points Bright and tangy, this blend of teran with 10 percent each merlot and cabernet sauvignon impresses with all the details carried on its juicy fruit-the rose scents and hibiscus tea flavors, the spices like star anise and cloves. It’s fresh and thirst quenching, ready for cookouts this summer. Our Notes: Faced with variable and cool conditions throughout the summer of 2014, Istrian Teran master Moreno Coronica opted to make a lighter, less extracted red cuvee using declassified premium Teran, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Whatever role the international varieties play, it is the Teran and the Terra Rossa soil that dominate the character of the wine. It is bright and spicy with notes of myrtle, thyme, orange, clove and the region’s characteristic briny iron note. A great wine to enjoy on its own or with pizza; it’s comfort wine for comfort food!

In search of Zinfandel’s Croatian roots: Crljenak Kaštelanski

Marion Podolski is an artist and a blogger at Go Hvar. She and her husband Zdravko helped organize some of our producer visits while we were in Dalmatia last April. With her permission, we are re-publishing this article, originally posted on her blog. Kaštela is a combination of seven small towns that lie along the coast between Split and Trogir. It’s a lovely location, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves under the high mountain range of Kozjak. This used to be a popular resort for beach holidays, in the days before Split airport was built and recent travelers have tended to drive straight through here. But Kaštela looks to be coming into its own again, as the certified home of America’s Zinfandel. Crljenak wine tours, anyone? Can be combined with Game of Thrones filming locations in Kaštel Gomilica, as well as Klis fortress and Split itself! Following the Dalmacija Wine Expo, we set out with a group of wine enthusiasts to visit the original vines, meet with local producers, and of course, taste the wines! With us were Frank Dietrich and his team from Blue Danube Wines, a major importer of Croatian wines to the U.S.A., sommelier Cliff Rames from … Continue reading In search of Zinfandel’s Croatian roots: Crljenak Kaštelanski

Corrupted Mind Will Never Be Able to Experience the Full Dimension of Wine

Jelena Bulum, a wine blogger at Wine Time Experience kindly granted us permission to re-publish this article about her encounter with wine philosopher Darko Petrović. This is the third part of my report on Dalmacija Wine Expo 2015 and I’ll be dedicating that to the encounter with the first wine philosopher I met in person. He was speaking so eloquently and memorably that his words went directly into my heart and made me re-consider my way of thinking about the wine. The name of that man was Darko Petrović Skradinjanac. He was sitting at the stand of BIBICh WINE CROATIA. I approached the stand with the intention of tasting some wines and to learn a few notes about them. I had to start the conversation somehow so I asked Mr. Petrović to show me the best wine they had and consequently to give me some food suggestions. Now I know I did it all wrong. The man didn’t seem to like my questions and he was looking at me suspiciously. Soon I realized I was not going to be given any answer, but I didn’t realize yet I would be given much more than I expected. At that moment I … Continue reading Corrupted Mind Will Never Be Able to Experience the Full Dimension of Wine

25 Things to Know About Croatian Wine

Can you list 25 things that you know about Croatian wine? If you’re not sure but love the wines, Total Croatia New has compiled a fascinating list. Here is #1: 1. Tribidrag – one of the great red noble grape varieties of the world, known as Zinfandel in California as well as Primitivo in the south of Italy, hails from Croatia, more precisely from Dalmatia, where it is known as Crljenak Kaštelanski and Pribidrag or Tribidrag. New vineyards have been planted over the past decade and the most notable producers include Bedalov and Vuina from Kašela, Mimica from Omiš, Rizman from Komarna and Stina from the Island of Brač. and #21 features a familiar person: 21. Alen Bibić – of Bibich winery from Plastovo, near Skradin in Northern Dalmatia is probably the most versatile gastro & wine figure in Croatia encompassing wine production, fantastic private restaurant, great marketing skills while making some of the most expensive wines in Croatia and at the same time selling the largest portion of his production in the Unites States. Anthony Bourdain visited Bibich winery and famously proclaimed “Why, oh why, is there so much amazing wine in this country?”. Read the whole article here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #21: Dingač Postup

Contributed by Marcy Gordon, CA based wine and travel writer, founder of Writing Between the Vines. Get along little donkey… 2009 Donkey Dingač Postup from Vinarija Dingač in Pelješac Peninsula, Croatia. This is a juicy spicy kick of dark fruits with bright acidity and firm tannins. There are two protected wine growing regions in southern Dalmatia– Postup and Dingač. And it can get a little confusing with regard to the varietal names. While this wine is made of 100% Plavac Mali grapes the wine is called Postup, after the wine-growing region on the Pelješac Peninsula. Also confusing is that Dingač is the name of both the region and the winery, a former communist co-op from the time when the area was still known as Yugoslavia. The donkey on the label is not only cute, but symbolic of the rugged lands and steep slopes in which the vines grow, making hand harvesting a necessity. But despite all the confusing names one thing is perfectly clear — the wine is delicious. It’s spicy and concentrated with a meatiness and hint of sage. Surprisingly it doesn’t drink like it’s 14.6 AVB! It’s bright indeed, but not hot. I love it and can’t wait … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #21: Dingač Postup

3 Wines from Central Europe You Need To Know Now

Bottlenotes recommends adding these three Central European wines to your repertoire. For the past decade, wines from Central and Eastern Europe have been something of a sommelier secret stateside. The names can be hard to pronounce (hárslevelű, anyone?), but the best bottles offer exceptional value and tend to work extremely well with food. Here are the three recommended wines: Samuel Tinon Furmint Birtok (Tokaj, Hungary) Sommeliers and wine insiders have been raving about furmint for years. The grape, which is commonly used to make Hungary’s famous sweet wines, also makes an intriguing dry wine with medium- to full-body and high acidity (read: an ideal wine to pair with food). Piquentum Blanc (Istria, Croatia) Croatia may have initially gained some international fame for its red wines, but many sommeliers now feel that the white Malvasia coming out of the country is some of the best representations of the grape in Europe. When made in a dry style, it makes a crisp wine with some weight in the body, similar to dry Chenin Blanc. Orgo Rkatsiteli (Kakheti, Georgia) Georgian wines can be tricky to pin down from producer to producer. Some are quite rustic and oxidative, while a growing number offer more … Continue reading 3 Wines from Central Europe You Need To Know Now

An Interview with Jasenka Piljac Zegarac, author of “Zinfandel: A Croatian-American Wine Story”

A group of Blue Danubians are preparing a trip to Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast around the middle of April. As we started to put together our agenda we realized we should make visiting the original Zinfandel, or as the grape is known in Croatia, Crljenak Kaštelanski vineyards a top priority. This brought to mind the book written by Jasenka Piljac Žegarac, one of the scientists on Dr. Carole Meredith’s team who participated in the discovery of Zinfandel’s Croatian heritage. We got in touch with her to find out more and prepare for our own journey of discovery. 1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What is your professional background? I was born in Croatia, but largely educated in the US where I completed both my high school and college education (UC Davis, biochemistry). I come from a family of well-established research scientists, physicians, and authors. Therefore, although my background is in plant biology (PhD) and natural products chemistry (postdoctoral work), I’ve always had an interest in medicine, medical research, and science writing. 2. What brought you to UC Davis to trace the origins of Zinfandel? My family moved to Davis from Croatia in early 1990s, due to ongoing … Continue reading An Interview with Jasenka Piljac Zegarac, author of “Zinfandel: A Croatian-American Wine Story”