Website: Carić Vina Winery
Country Location: Croatia
The Carić family has been tending vineyards since time immemorial. However, it was not before the Vino-Hvar d.o.o. appellation was established that Ivo Carić started producing his own wines: the Carić wines.
The people. It's pretty rare when you’re eager to swim right where the ferries dock. The moment we drove our mighty Fiat off of the boat onto the Island of Hvar, the water on each side was littered with sea urchins, crystal clear water and schools of fish. Meeting us right there on the pier were Ivana and Ivo Carić. These two are so involved and consumed with Hvar, that we didn’t just visit vineyards and taste wine, we learned about the entire island’s history, language, cuisine, and what makes it undeniably unique.
Our first stop was touring 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. It’s been farmed this way for over 24 unbroken centuries. As you walk through it, it’s a crazy patchwork of grapes, olives, onions, fennel, figs, onions, lavender and so on. This is where they Carić family grows their native white Bogdanjuša. Ivo, who has hands that immediately remind you that you don’t work hard enough, was constantly picking herbs, smelling them, and feeling the various soils — you can tell he spends an inordinate amount of time here. Our next stop was the impossibly steep vineyards on the south side of the island. To get there you need to drive through the unlit, 1.5 km, one-lane Pitve tunnel. The hillside vineyards climb up and disappear into the fog and descend right down to the Adriatic’s edge.
It’s also where Ivo and Ivana grow their Plavac Mali. To be able to produce structured reds and fresh whites on the same little island speaks to the incredible diversity of climate, soil and native grapes. Each wine possesses a delicious otherness and reflects the focus and passion of the Carić family.
In the vineyard. The Bogdanjuša comes from the Ager vineyards within the UNESCO protected Stari Grad Plain and near the town of Jelsa. As mentioned above, this agrarian network of small plots in the Stari Grad Plain have been maintained as the Greeks left it in the 4th Century B.C. As you walk around these 900 by 180 meter rock walled plots, it’s a conscious polyculture of the islands riches and the Carić family is extremely proud to a part of the lineage. Due to the diversity of flora and fauna, the grapes don’t fall pray to monoculture threats and the risk is further mitigated across many different sites. They also grow Maraština, Kuč, and Pošip in addition to Bogdanjuša.
In the cellar. Grapes are hand harvested and sorted. After cold soaking for roughly half a day depending upon the vintage, the grapes are pressed off into INOX for fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is not encouraged and the wines are bottled in early Spring.
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