#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

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

Dalmatian Island Wine: The Carić Winery

Our friends Andrew Villone, of Savor the Experience Tours, and Wine Awesomeness teamed up to present this informative interview with Ivana Carić herself about why you need to visit Hvar and her winery. Particularly interesting are her local food and wine pairing suggestions. We, the Carić family, love salted anchovies served with raštika (collard). We pair this with our white wine Bogdanjuša. Collard is a very old type of cabbage, eaten in the Roman times. Today, it’s hard to find this form of cabbage in the market or in stores, but every house on the island has it in its garden. Read the whole article here. Browse Carić wines here.

The Captain of Krk and an Island Hvar Hvar Away…

Partly because it’s already hitting 80 degrees in my adopted hometown of Sacramento, and partly because I miss Croatia, I’d like to highlight two island wines this month. Island wine regions, whether they be Italian, Spanish, Greek, French, or Kiwi, are all fiercely independent with their respective language, food and wine. Croatia is no different and the Island of Krk and the Island of Hvar both possess something unique from the mainland. At the risk of both a Star Trek and Star Wars pun, these are both serious wines with great stories, made by wonderful people, and from impossibly beautiful places. 2013 Šipun Žlahtina, Island of Krk, Croatia… Crossing the bridge to the Island of Krk, one might be surprised by all the advertisements; some for a local casino, some for other types of seemingly out of place entertainment venues. Sadly this is the direction most of the inhabitants of the island are heading to generate income. The idea of producing a physical product, be it wine, olive oil, or other goods is being left behind for the easier income of renting out apartments. There is however, one man who is not only sustaining himself and his family with winemaking, … Continue reading The Captain of Krk and an Island Hvar Hvar Away…

Island Whites

Somewhere in Croatia (photo: Michael Newsome) The coast of Croatia is a rugged mountainous seascape of 1000 islands. From the barren Kornati to the forested shores of Korčula, these are the jewels of the Adriatic. 3,500 miles of craggy untamed limestone coast, awesome in the truest sense. Only 66 of the islands are inhabited. Krk (Ki-rrk), Hvar (huh-var), and Korčula (Core-chew-la) are three of the largest, and most important wine wise are still very much wild. Each is home to their own autochthonous (formed in its present position) grape varieties—found little or nowhere else on earth, under conditions unique to each island, capable of expressing their position and the culture of those who farm them. The soils vary but are all limestone based. Conditions tend to be wet in winter and hot and dry in summer. Each of these producers is working small plots by hand, the dry windy growing season rarely requires vineyard treatment. Krk, Croatia’s northerly, largest island has long been famous for wine. Less of the Dalmatian islands are under vine today than historically. The 250 hectares today are a shadow of the 2,500 under vine during Roman occupation. Within Krk’s Kvarner Valley winemaker Ivica Dobrinčić maintains … Continue reading Island Whites

Visiting Croatia with Eric and Michael: Carić Winery

On their recent trip to Croatia, Eric and Michael enjoyed their visit to the island of Hvar where they met Ivana and Ivo Carić. It’s a rare occasion to be eager to swim in the area where ferries dock but even more rare that the water there is crystal clear and littered with sea urchins and schools of fish. The moment we drove our mighty Fiat off of the boat, even before walking on solid land, it was obvious to us that this island is pristine and busy with life. We began our journey by meeting up with recent friends Marion and Zdravko Podolski. This couple who usually reside in California also have a house on Hvar and a near encyclopedic knowledge of it — check out their website. We joined up to meet, and beyond just visiting vineyards and tasting wine we circumnavigated and learned the history of the entire island and what makes it undeniably unique. Our first stop was to tour the UNESCO protected Stari Grad Plain. These are agricultural parcels (900x180m) called “Chora” replete with a rainwater collection system, cisterns, and rock walls dividing everything within a maze of stone roads. This may sound typical but … Continue reading Visiting Croatia with Eric and Michael: Carić Winery

Hvar Island – Home of Zlatans Grand Cru

Seaside Tasting Room of the Zlatan Plenkovic Estate on Hvar. (Photo courtesy Leith Steel) A vineyard assistant named Nevin drives us the four hours south from Krk to Split in the rain, where we slog to the catamaran that will take us to Jelsa, on the north side of Hvar island, in 90 minutes. Jelsa is a gorgeous town with a riviera look—there’s obviously plenty of money here, at least in tourist season. We’re on Hvar to visit the single winery in all of Croatia, called Zlatan Otok, that produces a Grand Cru wine. Zlatan Plenkovic, the owner, is not available to us, but his son Marin (who is finishing his studies to take up a position at the winery) takes good care of us for the twenty-odd hours we’re here. He drives us from Jelsa over the top of the island to the south side, where the winery is, via a single-lane tunnel with rough rock walls carved through the mountaintop. Marin pauses about 100 meters into the tunnel and points to a room off to the side where stainless-steel tanks are visible through the doorway—they store some of their white wine here without need for refrigeration (because of … Continue reading Hvar Island – Home of Zlatans Grand Cru

A Call to Ivo Carić

Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe As is usually the case in a small place, everyone seems to know everyone and this was perfectly illustrated when we were tasting at Svirče and they realized we hadn’t met with Ivo Carić, another local wine maker on Hvar. Ivo with his wine Despite the fact he is technically the competition, they called him up and told him to stop by with some of his wines to for us to taste. Just a bit later, in the door walks this large man, dwarfing the bottles he carried (no, that’s not a split he’s holding up in the photo, it’s a full 750ml) who, like most wine makers was delightful to talk to. Ivo started making wine as a full enterprise in 1993. Like most who started in the nineties, he was born of a long family tradition of wine making that stretches back five or six generations. He is something of a small producer making 50,000 liters a year. The grapes that go in to the production come from four hectares of his own and grapes he purchases from his neighbors. He makes two different … Continue reading A Call to Ivo Carić

Tasting Tomić and Duboković in Jelsa, Hvar

Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe Tomić, the man himself We visited two wine makers in the town of Jelsa on Hvar: Tomić and Duboković. While there are some similarities in the end result that you taste, the wine makers couldn’t be more different. The difference really comes down to personal style. Tomić is a bit, well, blustery. The picture at the top of this article is one of the main ones that adorns the wall in his tasting room in Jelsa and is a theme echoed throughout his wines. For instance there is a side profile of his face on his bottles. He calls his tasting room a “wine studio” for some reason. In person he has a demeanor that is hard to crack, although friends of his that we met, say that is just a first impression, so we’ll give him the benefit of a doubt on that. But, egoism aside, how do his wines stack up? Well, they’re good. They weren’t our favorite on the island mainly due to how light the body is. For instance, the nose on the 2006 Pošip is very pleasant with a hint of … Continue reading Tasting Tomić and Duboković in Jelsa, Hvar

A Big Taste of Svirče on Hvar

Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe The beginning of tastes from Andrija Carić We have visited many of the formerly state-owned, large cooperatives that were remnants of the Communist area until they were sold off in to private hands. Our treatment has ranged from pleasant to here’s our boot and there’s the door. Svirče on Hvar has changed all this, because despite the fact they are a big producer (700,000 to one million bottles a year), they were very inviting and were great people to sit and talk about the wine production on this very touristic island. Dolac barrique These guys are the biggest producer on Hvar and if you’re a grower there and not selling your grapes to Plenković, Tomić, or Plančić, then you’re most likely selling to Svirče. Even though they could let this go to their head, they don’t and they know how to make some really good wines, which naturally, we had a good taste of. Actually, it was a great taste of nearly everything they produce, which we’ll sum up with some of the shining examples showing that big wine making can make great wines. Their 2005 … Continue reading A Big Taste of Svirče on Hvar