Wines from Central and Eastern Europe are turning American heads

Check the story called “East goes West — Wines from Central and Eastern Europe are turning American heads” in the latest issue of Imbibe Magazine. With interviews of Jeff Berlin, sommelier at À Côté, Michelle Polzine, owner of 20th Century Cafe, Paul Einbund, wine director for Frances and Octavia in San Francisco, Henry Beylin, sommelier of Los Angeles’ Gjelina, and our own Frank Dietrich, wine writer Jennifer Fiedler explores how wines from Central and Eastern Europe—what she calls the older Old World—are steadily making their way westward to some of the best restaurants’ wine lists. Twenty years ago, a Plavac Mali or Rebula would have been a rare find on an American wine list of any stature, much less at a tiny local bistro or neighborhood wine shop. But what began as a small trickle of quality Central and Eastern European wine into U.S. markets—a Hungarian dry Furmint here, a Georgian Saperavi there—has gradually grown to a steady stream, buoyed by support from dedicated importers, enthusiastic sommeliers, and a public eager to explore wines outside of the traditional canon. “[These wines] are very unique, and very expressive of where they come from,” says Jeff Berlin, sommelier at À Côté in … Continue reading Wines from Central and Eastern Europe are turning American heads

Taste Croatian Wine, Admire Croatian Inspired Artwork

This last September three member artists from Viewpoints Gallery, Los Altos, CA, spent a week painting in Hvar, Croatia on a retreat organized by our friend, Marion Podolski. Marion and her husband, Zdravko, have a home on the island and spend part of the year living there. This exhibit is a collection of the paintings begun at various sites around the island and celebrates a week of friendship, food, wine and the natural beauty of Hvar. We hope you can join us at the opening reception Friday, November 6th 2015 5-8pm. The exhibit, consisting of watercolor paintings, will be hung on one front wall of the gallery. Of course the best way to enjoy Croatian inspired artwork is with a glass of Croatian wine! Look for our table for a taste of fine Croatian wine. Viewpoints Gallery – 315 State Street, Los Altos, CA 94022  Phone: (650) 941-5789 To learn more about the artist retreat and the Podolski’s adventures on Hvar, read their blog: Go Hvar.   Photo Credit: Dave Zittin

Bibich R5 as reviewed by Nenad Trifunović

The Bibich Winery is located in the hills of Skradin, 5 miles east of the idyllic port city of Šibenik, along Croatia’s island speckled coast. Across the Adriatic from Italy, it is roughly in line with the wine hills of Tuscany. With a focus on indigenous varietals as well as international ones, the Bibich winery produces a range of fine wines for every palate or mood. Nenad Trifunović, founder of Wine Drinker Journal, has generously shared his recent review of Bibich R5 2012 with us. His description will surely peak your interest in this unique white blend. Bibich, R5, 2012 Wood & Herbs in all`antica (the manner of the ancients) style… Dry structure with firm, grippy tannins on the palate. At the same time, the wine is juicy, at a perfectly drinkable 13% alc with acidity as smooth as silk. A crazy dance of fresh fruit (some quince and apricot) and exotic spices interconnected by oxidative character. Its hard to tell if you are in the fanciest restaurant imaginable or in a genuine Dalmatian “konoba” (traditional restaurant) at the start of the century. Unthinkable combination of flavors and yet they come together so very naturally, like sea salt and olive … Continue reading Bibich R5 as reviewed by Nenad Trifunović

Piquentum Blanc 2013 & 2014: A review by Nenad Trifunović

Ever wondered about the distinctive characteristics of Malvasia from Istria, Croatia? Respected Croatian wine writer Nenad Trifunović explains what to appreciate from the varietal, why Piquentum Blanc is one of his favorite examples, and the key differences between the last two vintages. Piquentum, Blanc 2014 vs. Piquentum, Blanc 2013 Soft aromas on the nose with gentle acacia and light, very mild oxidative hints from un-typical Malvasia Istriana, a clone of the varietal that is quite different from others. Different from dominant styles, Dimitri Brečević always tries to present the native and true character of Malvasia Istriana. Despite the fact that 2014 was an extremely difficult vintage, this wine shatters expectations. Although the fruity Malvasia Istriana wines can be drunk upon release, the wines benefit from a little aging to allow the bracing acidity to integrate completely. That being said, the 2014 is still green and raw in comparison to 2013. However, both wines are on the same track. The 2013 vintage exhibits the calm, supple side of Malvasia consistent with Dimitri Brečević’s sensibility. Persistent on the palate with a high level of extraction. Such beautiful simplicity makes a man wonder why not all Malvasia Istriana`s aren`t like this. Of course, … Continue reading Piquentum Blanc 2013 & 2014: A review by Nenad Trifunović

Curious & Thirsty: Wines of Croatia

Our friend, and sommelier Cliff Rames of Wines of Croatia, put together a fantastic article about the key wines of Croatia for Travel Curious Often. From the balmy banks of the Danube to the crystalline shores of Istria and Dalmatia, from the historic hills of the Croatian Uplands to the ancient walls of Stari Grad Field, and from the tables of Manhattan to the tasting rooms of Napa Valley, Croatia offers a diverse selection of wine styles and native grape varieties to suit every palate. Croatia may be a small country but it is rich in tradition and deeply rooted in the production and consumption of wine – an alluring pastime that is increasingly available for the adventurous wine lover to discover. Read the whole article here. Wines and grape varietals mentioned in the article: 1. Dubrovački Podrumi Crljenak Kaštelanski 2012 2. Carić Vina Plovac Ploški 2008 3. Piquentum Blanc 2013 (Istrian Malvasia) 4. Piquentum Rouge 2012 (Teran) 5. Dingač Vinarija Pelješac 2012 6. Dingač Vinarija Dingač 2009 7. Suha Punta Tirada Babić 2009 8. Šipun Žlahtina 2013 Browse all our Croatian wines here.

The BIBICh Shops: four locations in Croatia

Traveling to Croatia and looking to experience BIBICh wines outside the winery? BIBICh now has four shops to serve you! All of the shops carry the wines, spirits, and local delicacies produced by the winery. In Zadar: Address: Kralgskog Dalmatina 7, Zadar Hours of operation: Mon – Sun: 9:00am – 9:30pm In Murter: Address: Luke B.B., Murter Hours of operation: Mon – Sat: 9:00am – 12:00pm & 5:00pm – 9:30pm Sun: 5:00pm – 9:00pm In Šibenik: Address: Fausta Vrancica 7,Šibenik Hours of operation: Mon – Sat: 9:30am – 9:00pm Sun: 5:00pm – 9:00pm In Skradin: Address: Fra Luje Maruna 21, Skradin Hours of operation: Mon – Sat: 9:00am – 9:30pm Sun: 12:00pm – 6:00pm Winery Contact Information Website: http://bibich.net/ Address:Plastovo Skradin 22222 Croatia Phone:[385] 23 329260 Email: info@bibich-wine.com

Visit a Winery: Miloš in Ponikve, Croatia

The Region The former Republic of Dubrovnik was one of the most developed parts of Europe. Dubrovnik city served as the capital and the countryside was important for agriculture, famous for the production of high class olive oil and wines. The Pelješac peninsula has always played a key role since ancient times due to it’s salt beds and proximity to the neighboring, magnificent islands. The longest city walls in Europe were built around the Pelješac to protect against invasions. The Winery Miloš Winery is located just 6 miles away from Ston, where the Pelješac peninsula begins. So a visit is easy even if you are just passing by from Split to Dubrovnik, and don’t have a time to go all the way to the end of Pelješac peninsula. In their underground winery you can observe classic wine production, utilizing old large capacity oak barrels. Finally, there is a well appointed tasting room where you can taste their fine wines. For more adventurous wine lovers, be sure to reserve an off road tour through the vineyards to learn more about organic viticulture and manually farming on steep terraced slopes. Things to do and see Nearby Mali Ston bay is well known … Continue reading Visit a Winery: Miloš in Ponikve, Croatia

Todd Smith of DOSA pairs Indian flavors with Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, and Georgian Wines

Todd Smith, wine director for DOSA South Indian restaurants in San Francisco, shares some of his wine pairing discoveries in this interview conducted by Lauren Sloss for Culintro. LS: What’s been the most surprising (and delicious!) pairing that you’ve found? TS: Maybe the first time I properly chilled a Plavac Mali from the Pelješac in Croatia and was super surprised and how it really coaxed out the tropical notes in a Kerala Fish Moilee — a coconut-based curry from the Southwest Coast of India. Todd continues: There are some regions that produce amazing wines, but their economies are struggling and/or their operating costs are so low that they offer top-flight wines for a fraction of the cost of certain unnamed wine producing regions. This is why I love countries with a wine industry such as Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Hungary, Georgia (mostly!)… Read the whole interview here.

Interview with Cliff Rames, founder of “Wines of Croatia”

We caught up with our friend, and New York based sommelier, Cliff Rames, recently to share his thoughts on Croatian wine with you. Cliff also writes the popular blog, Wines of Croatia, which we encourage you to follow! 1. What makes you so passionate about Croatian wine? Well first, my father is from Croatia, so it’s in my blood I guess. When I was 16 years old my dad asked me if I wanted to go visit his birthplace, a small island called Murter off the Dalmatian coast. I said yes, and it forever changed my life. There I learned to drink Turkish coffee and “bevanda” – a mixture of red wine (usually homemade) and water. That kicked off my fascination with the local wine customs and traditions. It was then I also first heard of a mythological place called Dingač, the place from which (I was told by relatives) Croatia’s greatest wine came. I also began to hear words like Plavina, Debit, Babić, Plavac Mali, Pošip – the names of local grape varieties used to make wine. The more I heard and learned, the more I wanted to know! After that, back in the U.S., I found myself searching … Continue reading Interview with Cliff Rames, founder of “Wines of Croatia”

Croatian Wine Regions: A Quick Overview

Vivino user Darko Vozab has put together this helpful, and thorough, guide to Croatia’s wine regions. A perfect introduction to this diverse wine country! Croatia is a must-see European oasis for the wine-minded traveler. Wine production in this land on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea began around 2200 B.C., and today Croatia boasts more than 130 indigenous grape varieties, as well as five different climate zones, resulting in a large number of wine styles. Read the rest of the guide here. Browse our Croatian wines.