No Escape from Balkan

After a long hiatus, new Balkan wines from Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina are finally here the second week of July. After looking over previous trip photos, putting together a fairly impressive Balkan playlist (currently listening to Dubioza Kolektiv), cooking some homemade Burek, and adding Ajvar to my morning eggs, I started to realize how much I missed these wines. The combination of salty, herby, oxidatively alive and zero to full tannins that both go with seafood sets these wines apart. We’ve even added some sparkling, sweet, Amfora, and some wines with 10+ years of age on them for good measure. Štoka Family Starting near the Italian and Croatian border in Slovenia, the Štoka family has been farming for over 200 years. The reds are sanguine, high acid, seemingly Marasca cherry infused and pungent despite being low in alcohol. They make you want rare meat, charcuterie and basically anything cured or pickled. If you over do it, please consider making some “Istarska Supa.” Moreno Coronica Directly south on western coast of Istria near the town of Umag is the Coronica winery. Moreno’s grandfather was Austro-Hungarian, his father was Italian, he was Yugoslavian, and now his children are Croatian. It’s … Continue reading No Escape from Balkan

#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 #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.

Experiencing the aromas and flavors of Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Two Blue Danubian, Gisele Carig and Catherine Granger, visited Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina last April for the first time. Catherine: It’s been 2 months since our trip to Croatia and Bosnia and I still remember everybody’s kindness and generosity, the striking scenery, and of course, all these fabulous wines and local dishes we were able to taste. Gisele: One of my favorite food and wine moments of the trip happened on the last evening. We were relaxing on the Skradin marina with Alen and Vesna Bibić, along with a few of their friends. Alen was very generously pouring us his 2015 Debit. The light freshness of the wine along with its slightly green almond finish was exactly what we needed after two long weeks of traveling through Plavac country. Then it arrived…the risotto dreams are made of! Skradin is famous for this particular style of risotto appropriately called “Skradinski Rižot”. Traditionally made by men, this risotto is composed of veal that is cooked down for around 8 hours, or until it completely falls apart. The rich meat stock is added in stages to the rice as you would with any risotto. The texture is amazing! The meat basically becomes … Continue reading Experiencing the aromas and flavors of Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

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.

Top Croatian Wines in the USA: Indigenous Grapes Grow Sales

Cliff Rames, founder of Wines of Croatia and sommelier, writes about indigenous Croatian grapes making the most impact in the United States market for Total Croatia. On January 21, 2016, I asked the top three American importers of Croatian wines to reveal which Croatian wines were best sellers in 2015 and provide clues about what new and exciting developments await in 2016. So grab a glass of your top Croatian wine and check out revelations below, listed alphabetically by producer, with tasting notes and added commentary by the importers about what made the wines successful in the U.S. Here are the wines we import: Bibich R6 2012 (Red) 34% Babić; 33% Lasin; 33% Plavina “This northern Dalmatia wine shows more smoke and Mediterranean herbs than heavy, overbearing fruit,” observed Eric Danch, Northern California Sales Manager at Blue Danube Wine Company. “There’s immediate life and levity without compromising its unique character. It’s a wine that can be readily be devoured at a casual dinner party and yet capture the attention of wine professionals.” Miloš Plavac 2010 (Red) 100% Plavac Mali “Plavac Mali has a much thicker skin than any of the three native grapes in the Bibich R6,” noted Danch. “The … Continue reading Top Croatian Wines in the USA: Indigenous Grapes Grow Sales

The Start of a Croatian Wine Love Affair

Travel/wine writer and founder of Writing Between the Vines, Marcy Gordon loves Croatia, especially the wines. Check out what sparked her interest and read about her first visit to Croatia. Thank you for sharing with us, Marcy! The first time the wines of Croatia came across my radar was through a random Tweet I saw by Cliff Rames (founder, Wines of Croatia). Until that point I’d never tried any wine from the region and knew little about Croatian varietals. I was directed to Blue Danube Wines as the place to start. Through the Blue Danube Portfolio I was given a wonderful overview of what Croatia had to offer. I found a rustic elegance in the wines with flavor profiles both bright and deep, and a briny kiss of salinity that was intriguing and enjoyable. One producer that stood out for me was Bibich. My love affair with Bibich wine began with that tasting and shortly afterwards I had the opportunity to visit Alen Bibić at his winery in Skradin, outside of Šibenik on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. It was there that my simple infatuation with Croatia bloomed into lust — an appreciative lust for the wine and food and the … Continue reading The Start of a Croatian Wine Love Affair

The Youthful Evolution of Dalmatia

It was back in 2007 that I set about to write the first edition of my Dalmatian wine guide. Since then, I’ve fully updated it four times to arrive at the current edition. I realize of course that even the most recent edition will need updating again as these wines are constantly in s state of flux, especially when taken in the context of watching this evolution for the last decade. I was in Dalmatia for the Dalmacija Wine Expo this year. While it was my first time, the event has been going on for the last six years or so, first further south in Makarska and then for the last two years with a couple of additional days spent in Dalmatia’s much easier to reach capital, Split. People naturally told me that the event in Makarska sees more winemakers and is much more of a party. Maybe at some point I’ll find the time to make it there but what I saw and tasted in Split was plenty to re-acquaint myself with wineries I’ve gotten to know well over the years. The biggest thing to note in Dalmatia wine has been the evolution of most winemakers’ portfolios. For me, … Continue reading The Youthful Evolution of Dalmatia

Inside Perspective: Talking Wine with an Insightful Croatian Wine Writer

Over the past few months, we have been fortunate to get to know Croatian wine writer, Nenad Trifunović, a bit better. He has also been so generous in allowing us to repost many of his translated wine reviews on our blog to share with all of you. We thought it would be nice to formally introduce him and get a better idea about his perspective on wine. I also encourage you to check out his blog Dnevnik Vinopije (Wine Drinker Journal). It is in Croatian but his insights our worth the effort of translating! 1. Tell us more about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you live? What is your “day job”? I was born in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city. I had a great childhood growing up here. Upon finishing university, were I majored in Economics, I decided to stay in Zagreb. I work as a creative director at a marketing agency. Fifteen years ago I started as an entry level accountant, fell in love with being a copywriter, and today am a partner at the same agency. 2. Why are you so passionate about wine? My work requires me to have a business focus and writing about wine provides … Continue reading Inside Perspective: Talking Wine with an Insightful Croatian Wine Writer