#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”

Orange wine isn’t what you think it is

Orange wines, or perhaps more accurately described as amber wines, have been gaining more and more popularity with wine consumers. Writer Robin Shreeves gives these wines a try with the help of Keith Beavers, wine educator and owner of New York City’s In Vino Restaurant & Wine Bar, for Mother Nature Network. What is orange wine? The simple way to explain orange wine is that it’s white wine made like red wine. For white wine, the skins of white or red grapes are separated from the juice immediately. When red wines are made, the juice and the skins are left together for a time, imparting the color and the tannins from the skins, seeds and stems into the wine. Orange wine is made from the juice of white grapes that have contact with their skins for a time before fermenting, imparting an orange or amber tint to the wine. See Robin’s notes on a few of the “orange” or “amber” wines we import: Oil was what jumped out at me the first time I breathed in the scents of an orange wine — although I got motor oil, not linseed. Our host chose Piquentum Blanc’12 from Croatia made from the … Continue reading Orange wine isn’t what you think it is

Blue Danube, Selling Croatia’s Original Zinfandel in California

With its 130 indigenous grape varieties — including the original Zinfandel — Croatian wine is attracting interest around the globe, but how easy is it to sell Croatian wine in the Zinfandel heartland of California? Paul Bradbury from Total Croatia News interviewed Frank Dietrich and his team from Blue Danube on January 31, 2016, who are doing exactly that. And with great success. Here are some of the interview’s highlights: Wines from Eastern Europe selling in a wine heartland such as California sounds like a tough sell. How did you come up with the idea and tell us how you started? We hail from Europe and returned to Europe to build marketing and sales for a fast growing American computer company. After our return to California we decided to leave hi-tech and start Blue Danube Wine, an import company dedicated to the wines of the ancient wine regions along the Danube River and the Eastern Mediterranean. We knew a lot of wine was historically produced here. Our hopes that the wines would become better over time have been confirmed vintage-by-vintage. It has been an exciting journey so far. The new, young generation of wine makers active today in Central, East, … Continue reading Blue Danube, Selling Croatia’s Original Zinfandel in California

Unexpected reds from Istria and Kvarner Croatia

Dalmatia is beautiful, but it receives more than its fair share of attention. Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula and Kvarner region, while perhaps less dramatic than Dalmatia, make up one of Europe’s most diverse landscapes. As one drives, the panoramas oscillate between mountain vistas, windswept limestone beaches and misty vineyards. You can wash down scampi on the island of Krk with a light briny Žlahtina for lunch, and after just an hour and a half drive west into Istria, eat for dinner hand rolled Fuzi buried in white truffles with sappy red Teran. It is one of our favorite areas to return. Around every corner is a new dish and in every cellar a new wine. We have just received a shipment from Slovenia and Northern Croatia. Among the wines are two distinctive new reds: Coronica Crno from Coastal Istria and Šipun Sansigot from the island of Krk in the gulf of Kvarner. The rare Sansigot is the latest release of Ivica Dobrinčić of Šipun on the island of Krk. In addition to making wine from the half dozen hectares of vines he farms, Ivica also operates a grape vine nursery aimed at re-propagating ancient native varieties. Ivica says most of the 20 … Continue reading Unexpected reds from Istria and Kvarner Croatia