Wineries

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Wineries
Here is a story we got from Ian Robertson, our devoted reader, who writes how he spent an incredible Sunday afternoon spent with Ivo and Martina Grgić after last year’s Graševina Festival in Kutjevo. We had always wanted to visit Vinarija Krauthaker after tasting their wonderful 2009 Graševina TBA (Trockenbeerenauslese wine) at Decanter’s Fine Wine encounter in London and we finally made it last summer after a few days travelling. Although we knew they were normally closed on a Sunday, Jasmina rang and asked if we could visit anyway and they said, ‘Of course, just call us first and we can meet you and show you around’. We arrived at about three in the afternoon, met up with Ivo and he began to show us around the cellars straight away. Martina joined as a bit later as we were shown around. At this point I thought that was fantastic and soon we would buy some wine and be on our way. Boy, was I wrong! After being shown around we went upstairs to find some freshly opened Rosé for us to try which was utterly delightful. We sat down to chat a bit and then Ivo began to bring out more wines for us to try along with some pršut, olives, cheeses and crackers. Bottle after bottle arrived for us to try. The stand out for me was the MaDaMe. It is Martina’s own wine named after her, her daughter and her Professor who taught her. It has Muscat up front, a little sweetness and perfect acidity, complex and will definitely age for a couple of years. The 2011 Pinot Sivi (Pinot Gris) was a winner with tropical fruits on the nose and off dry residual sweetness which won Jasmina over. 2010 Graševina Pomale and Mitrovac were also wonderfully quaffable and the Merlot was equally surprising. More acidity than I expected and much more appealing than a Californian equivalent. It was a wonderful and completely unexpected afternoon. We truly thought that we’d be there for no more than 30 mins but ended up staying for 3 hours. All the more remarkable considering that we arrived the day after the Kutjevo Graševina Festival and they must have been incredibly tired. They still looked after us as if we were the only visitors they’d ever had. I can’t begin to thank Ivo and Martina enough for their wonderful hospitality, patience and obvious enthusiasm for their wonderful wines. Živjeli!
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Wineries
You don't expect an ambitious winery right above a central Dalmatian small town known only for tourism and resorts, literally a few hundred meters from the beaches. Kraljevski vinogradi ("Royal Vineyards") are actually on a position where the local monastery was growing grapes in the 11th century! Of course, these vineyards you see today are a bit younger, planted in 2009. Unlike winemakers from the surrounding area in Zadar's hinterland, they decided to focus on native Dalmatian varieties only. The ones you are used to seeing further down south, like Pošip, Plavac mali and Crljenak (Zinfandel). Of course, this was quite a controversial decision, but it's interesting to see these varieties thrive on a different location, with its own touch. Their fresh cold Pošip is a crisp summer wine, very food-friendly, lighter than its southern relatives. Plavac is also far from the full-bodied high-alcohol beast you can find on Pelješac, but very drinkable and pleasant. My favourite is Crljenak, smooth, fruity and very well-balanced. The tasting area is actually a rural tavern with a big terrace on the top of the hill, overlooking the vineyards and the sea. Very basic, but nice and quiet because you're so close to the beach and the crowds, yet far enough to relax and enjoy. Good thing is that they are open to visits daily and you can mostly just drop by. They still have to work on teh whole package in terms of wine tourism, but with a good vision, the potential is big. And I certainly hope to see Kraljevski vinogradi wines available in selected wine shops outside Dalmatia, which is still not the case. It's probably easier to find them in Japan or Sweden, where they export, than in Zagreb :)
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Vinarija Medea

Istria
Last impressions The largest winery in South Ist...
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Wineries
In 2010 Marko Krstačić and Ivana Perišić were appointed in the winery, now branded under name Medea, in their hands. These two young enologists recognized the value of 37-years-old Malvazija vineyard located on the Montiron locale where red soil is heavily interlaced with limestone structures. The results was Malvazija Montiron, a serious white wine that was immediately praised both by experts, restaurants owners and wine enthusiasts. It's my favorite wine to pair with baked dentex, "hobotnica ispod peke" (octopus baking bell) or crab risotto.
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Dobravac

Istria
Last impressions Seriously Good Vino Accompanied... Oaza dobrog o/ukusa Food and wine pairing worth of ...
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Wineries
Having first tried Dobravac wines and olive oil at Kantinon bistro in downtown Rovinj, we decided to go to the source and explore this family business further. And boy were we happy with what we found! Although it was a hectic day for the staff, with the Red Bull Air Race going on, Karin took the effort to go through the wines with us in detail. The whites were particularly good. From the fresh Sonata and the richer Suita to the nearly honey-sweet Allegro muscat, we indulged in seriously good vino accompanied by tasty nibbles in the form of roasted almonds, cheese and dried Istrian sausages. Another star on the menu is the olive oil, made from a secret mix of several local and international olive varieties - a beautiful hue of golden liquid that just dissolves in your mouth like a light silk cloth full of flavor. See, I've just spontaneously burst into a haiku poem - imagine what this place could do to the faint-hearted?!
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Fakin

Istria
Last impressions Some people buy a car - he buys...
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Wineries
Marko Fakin is one of the best young wine makers in Croatia. Just 25 and our in house sommelier declares that his Teran barrique is one of the top three on the market. As Marko says, 'When others do well, they buy a new car. When I do well I buy a new oak barrel.' We visited his cellar in Bataji, on the outskirts and with views of Motovun, and had a memorable experience. His 2010 Teran won not just the Gold Medal at Vinistra, but had a special commendation on top. He is really passionate about wine making and it shows. Vinistra 2014 brought him another gold and two silvers for his Terans, as well as a gold and three silvers for his Malvazijas. Not one to keep standing still, he also makes Prsut, Ombolo and Kobasica when he is not making wine and even collects awards for these, too. When visiting Motovun, you can try and buy his award winning wines at his wine shop at the top of the hill at Motovun, next to his konoba, which offers a range of traditional Istrian food including his home made meat products and fabulous views.