As you drive up and down the Croatian coast and up into the Karst ridden hinterlands of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is one constant smell: the combination of herbs and rocks. What “Garrigue” is to the French, “Friškina” is to the Balkans – herbs, rocks and salt baking under the sun. It’s also oddly refreshing. Maybe it’s the ocean air, and maybe it’s the super counterintuitive acidity of the wines and olive oils. Whatever it is, very few smells trigger our olfactory memory so violently. We want Brudet (fish stew), Crni Rižoto (squid ink risotto), octopus cooked under “Peka,” Palačinka (crepes) filled with small fish, and everything bathed in Dalmatian olive oil. Focusing on the Dalmatian coast with a quick jump into Bosnia and Herzegovina (Istrian and Slavonian wines arrive in June), please consider these wines as ideal lubricates for our transition into Spring. Starting on the Island of Korčula off the Southern Dalmatian Coast, three new Pošips from Frano Banicević’s Toreta winery. Pošip is a white grape that can muster a ton of acidity and alcohol if left unchecked. Farmed well on the windy island it can produce salty, aromatic and lively wines. From stainless steel to acacia fermented, … Continue reading Balkan Wine Box
How come? Frano Banicević’s Pošip Premium is once again a #WineWednesday Spotlight! Two reasons for this: first of all, the wine is really delicious, and secondly, Marcy’s springtime Instagram collage is absolutely gorgeous! Sipping some Toreta Pošip will always bring back sweet memories of our visit almost a year ago to Korčula: Like Spring itself, it’s fresh and bright with pineapple and quince notes, a touch of chalk, and great gobs of acidity. I met the Baničevic family last April on my wine scouting trip to Croatia with Blue Danube Wine. They showed us the Pošip memorial where the first vines were planted, then we joined the entire family for a seaside repast that paired perfectly with more Pošip. What a memorable day it was! Looking for a taste springtime to ward off the Winter Blues? –This is it. Toreta, try it you’ll like it! #wine #croatia #winesofcroatia #pošip #posip #korcula #toreta #bluedanubewine #roadtripmemories Follow Marcy Gordon on Instagram here.
In the sun-drenched island of Korčula, Croatia, young winemaker Frano Banicević manages Toreta, a winery founded by his great grandfather. His primary focus is Pošip, the indigenous white grape variety of the island where the grape was first discovered in the 19th century. It’s a pretty successful effort: reflecting the land where it grows, Frano’s Pošip is deliciously full of aromas of Mediterranean herbs, thick pine forest, sunshine and sea breeze. The Toreta Pošip Premium 2015 was recently tasted by Cliff Rames, sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia: Toreta Pošip 2015: rich and pungent with notes of pineapple skin, musky melon, starfruit and fig; a viscous, oily texture backed up by zippy acidity and a piercing vein of marine minerals; well balanced, intriguing, and savory. Why not have some Pošip for Thanksgiving and bring the Mediterranean sun to your table?
“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?
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
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
Can you taste terroir? In their Fall 2012 special issue, Wine & Spirits Magazine introduces the Terroir Top 100, 100 wines that “rocked our critics over the last 12 months, wines that transport us to another place: These 100 terroir-expressive selections make us believe that the earth, the sun, the wind and the rain are present in the glass, their combination distinctive and delicious.” The only Croatian wine in the TOP 100 is our Intrada Pošip by Krajančić. Čestitam, Luka! Krajančić 2009 Korčula Intrada Pošip: Terroir score 6.2, 90 points “Korcula is basically a sun-drenched, 100-square mile chunk of karst off the coast of Croatia. The climate is Mediterranean, and water is scarce, as it drains right through the limestone. Tasting Luca Krajancic’s Intrada, it tastes as through its pošip vines must have developed a taste for seawater in self-defense, it is so mouth-wateringly saline, with a sunny, fresh orange marmelade flavor to balance. There is no need to be familiar with the Dalmatian Coast to “get” this wine: it’s the sort of wine that immediately brings to mind seaside vacations and seafood in tis flavors and feel.”
Luka Krajančić reciting one of his own poems. On the road on the Island of Korčula. These images were captured during our visit to the Island of Korčula this past summer. What was originally a tasting appointment with Pošip specialist Luka Krajančić turned into one of the greatest experiences of wine I have ever had. We met Luka at his tightly packed but spotless winery in the tiny coastal village where he lives. This was the first time I had met Luka. He is a big man but also very gentle, even shy. When we arrived a couple was already there tasting. One was a photographer without a camera and the other a young restaurateur who had just moved to the island. Our new friends were happy to start the tasting over. A happy tasting group. The range of Krajančić’s Pošip redefined the varietal to me. They were the deepest, most powerful and yet most elegant examples I had tasted. Each one was different, but always reflective of the site, the vintage and Luka’s perspective. At the end he pulled out a sample of a 1 barrel production from an old patch of red Plavac vines, very rare on this … Continue reading A Day at the Beach with Luka Krajančić
One of the many architectural beauties in Dubrovnik. Old Dubrovnik (or “Ragusa” as it was called in the Medieval ages) is a wonderful town for the history buff, who can wander for hours with a guidebook looking at buildings, and the amateur photographer, who can capture the details of atmosphere and architecture without regard for the madding crowds. We arrive early to roam atop the fortification walls (admission $10/person), which only those in relatively good stair-climbing shape should attempt, sunscreen in hand. We make more than half the three-hour circuit on the wide and undulating brick path, enjoying views of aquamarine sea and cannon portals on the outside (Bokar Bastion and Lovrijenac Fortress shown below) and time-worn lanes on the inside. Then we climb down to have a cappuccino and toast, and read the Herald Tribune. For lunch, we meet Vido B. and his wife. Vido is a former machinery engineer in long-distance shipping—once the major industry in these parts—and now a politician. He tells us a bit about the life, how it stopped being much fun because improvements in the speed of loading and offloading meant you wouldn’t be spending more than eight hours or so in any port, … Continue reading Highlights of Old Dubrovnik
Approaching Korčula by Ferry. After gazing longingly for two days at the picturesque walled town of Korčula across the water from our hotel balcony, we finally hop on the ferry and head back to the island with Boris. He has arranged for his former boss, at Marco Polo Tours in Korčula town, to give us a tour of the old city. This charming, professorial man in a houndstooth jacket clearly loves his native city. He leads us up the steps to the old walled city—steps that used to be a drawbridge over the moat. On the outside of the city gate is a relief of St Mark’s lion—the lion of Venice. For some 400 years, until about 1800, Korčula was a part of the Venetian empire, at the same time that Orebic, across the water, was the farthest outpost of the Dubrovnik Republic. Just inside the main gate is the early Renaissance St. Mark’s Cathedral, with more lions guarding the portal, and two Tintorettos, among other treasures, inside. As we walk through town, we’re told that the streets were laid out in a fishbone pattern in order to control the passage of hot and cold breezes through the city. Marko … Continue reading Marko Polos Hometown, and the Wine He May Have Drunk