Wineries

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Vuina

Dalmatia Split
Put sv. Lucije 17
Kaštel Štafilić
+385 21 234 260
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Wineries
Family Vuina comes from Kaštela near Split, surely not one of the most famous winemaking locations in Croatia. But Neven Vuina will prove you wrong. Variety Babica (related to the more famous Plavac mali) is a rare and indigenous grape and Vuina is the only producer to bottle it and put it on the market. His Babica Štafileo is a remarkably drinkable and authentic southern wine, but without too much alcohol and roughness. The price is also very friendly. You can smell the sea in it, and we mean it in a positive way!
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OPG Jambrešić - Kupilek

Central Croatia
Last impressions Probably the best Croatian Blac...
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Wineries
Igor Jambrešić is not your ordinary blackberry grower. He’s a real businessman, technologist, and maybe even a scientist who takes his blackberries seriously. That is probably one of the reasons OPG Jambrešić is quite a succesfull little venture. The fact that the whole family is involved in blackberries production process also helps. They are proud to say that the whole process is organic, as they strive to respect and maintain natural cycles of production using the renewable resources and preserving the landscape. Blackberry wine Kupilek is one of the best ones we’ve tried. Balanced, full bodied, not to sweet, nor too acidic. They also make a blackberry jam we somehow missed, probably because we were focused on the wine! Find them in City Center One malls all over Croatia, or in specialized shops.
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Kosovec winery

Central Croatia
Last impressions A Natural Wine Take on Škrlet
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Wineries
Škrlet is an indigenous white grape variety typical for Moslavina region in the continental Croatia. Since recently, after a few small producers have seriously raised the quality, Škrlet wines are becoming more and more popular as a refreshing summer drink for a budget price, with more or less no real aging potential. But then came Ivan Kosovec, who decided to treat Škrlet somewhat differently, using organic viticulture, low yields per vine, ripe fruits and minimalist approach in the cellar. He really made a boom among wine geeks with his unfiltered, partially macerated Škrlet Selekcija label. It's a roller coaster ride for your palate. Their regular Škrlet is also an excellent choice, but don't underestimate the reds - Zweigelt, Frankovka and Pinot Noir.
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Cuj

Istria
Last impressions Teran of good semblance and wir...
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Wineries
Danijel Kraljević, code name Cuj, has two great loves; wine and oil. He is a wine expert by profession, and a multitalented perfectionist; his basic driving force is the question Why is something the way it is? He “inherited” the name CUJ from his grandfather, whose punch line was (in a dialect): Listen (CUJ) let me tell you. Current production of wine in a new basement in Farnažine (Umag surroundings) amounts approximately 35.000 bottles, with a goal of 50.000 bottles, the amount that Mr Kraljević could still produce working on his own. Locations of his wine yards spread over three soils – marly soil or flysh (white soil), terra rossa (red soil), and brown soil, all ideal for Malvazija, Teran, Muscat, some Chardonnay and Merlot. Malvazija is planted on all three soils, but is vinified separately and later blended together. The philosophy of the wine cellar and the oil refinery is quite clear – nothing is left to chance. Even though the Kraljević family is in wine business for generations, the oil production started six years ago, after building the oil refinery of a laboratory type. The operation principle (strictly cold) consists of two stages – there is no centrifuge (no separator) that separates oil from water, which makes this process a bit more difficult; the oil refinery does everything via the inverter (computer). This enables the producers to affect each phase of the oil production, which is crucial with some sorts of olives (too bitter or too sharp ones). By different methods of olive grinding, and by applying different recipes, the mentioned bitterness and sharpness could be reduced, and harmony of oil can be achieved. And vice versa. If a certain amount of olives is “tired” ore too ripe, this bitterness and sharpness can be affected. The advantage of the production without the separator lies in the fact that oil does not undergo through additional heating, and that water is not used in the processing, which is extremely important since the water washes out the polyphenols from the olive (polyphenol is a natural antioxidant which protects the oil, and after consummation of the oil, it connect with free radicals). In his own olive-groves, Mr Kraljević grows several olive varieties; Buža, Bjelica and Črna – autochthonous sort of olive tree more than a hundred year old, the richest in sterols which lower the cholesterol. Many of renowned olive oil producers in Istria process their olives in CUJ’s refinery (such as Belić, Ipša). In 2012, out of 43 Croatian olive oils that entered Flos Olei guide, 9 of them were processed in CUJ refinery. I came out of the unearthed stone-cellar under the impression of Teran... Thick, barely translucent, ruby red provocatively oils, and even colours the glass. At first quite somnolent on the nose, but the impression does not last too long. Soft structure of the essence of the wine slowly rises up, elegant as a stone-giant from the first part of Hellboy. Pure and unambiguous nose of dominant spicy base is dappled with flowery – herbal sensation of dry rose petals. Sensations of “soft” pepper let through the character of red and luscious berry fruit, leading all the way to homemade sour cherry strudel. It is definitely pleasant and gentle to the nose. The softness of sharp edges of Teran, soothed and tamed freshness, and well arranged structure, treats the palate with meditative intentness. So I sip the wine the entire evening, trying to catch the thoughts. And one thought repeats with each sip; softness. It is a Teran of good semblance and wiry body, “bloody”, milky softness of unusually gentle texture. Although it is quite intoxicant and essential, it is not too aggressive. Components have “clicked” well, keeping the balance between themselves, and opening the space for lusciousness of too ripe sour cherries and gentle tartness of blueberries. Fruity palate slowly disappears, dragging itself towards explicitly herbal after. It is lively and green, buttery and lasting. Warm buffalo blood.
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Agrolaguna

Istria
Last impressions Mightiest Wine Producer in Istria
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Wineries
Unlike so many family-run and small, boutique wineries scattered around Istria, Agrolaguna is a big fish, part of the biggest corporation in Croatia. In this case, that's not necessarily a disadvantage. On the contrary, Agrolaguna has raised the standards in recent years and started taking wine business seriously, aiming to have both constant quality and quantity. Their line-up today covers all the basic stuff Istria has to offer, often excellent value for money: from indigenous and international wine varieties to olive oils and cheese. Festigia label stands for some really good fruity reds, their entry level Laguna Malvazija is light, herbal and refreshing, the Istrian answer to New Zealand Sauvignons, while dessert wines Muškat žuti and Muškat ruža gently caress the palate and invoke pure happiness. Agrolaguna's ambitious, enthusiastic team will surely be a good and knowledgeable host. As you can see, we especially enjoyed a scenic bike ride through their huge and beautiful vineyards and olive groves.
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Cossetto

Istria
Last impressions Istrian reds with feminine soul
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Wineries
Melinda and Alfredo met during university study of viticulture and enology in Zagreb some 30 years ago. They shared the same bench. I didn’t ask if it was love at first sight. But I’m quite sure that many people, especially those visiting Istria, told me they instantly fell in love with their wines, charming and unpretentious as themselves. One or two generations back, Alfredo’s ancestors, Istrian peasants who produced wine only for their own use at the time, began the wine story of family Cossetto. The heritage of these old times is kept in a vineyard with more than 40-year-old vines. Alfredo is especially proud of this piece of land because it gives rich and complex Malvasia that is great for aging, so that it reaches its peak after two years. The one from 2009 was alive and joyful as a little kid. Both this old vineyard and the younger ones where red varietals predominate (in total 7 hectares) are located only a few kilometers west from their house and winery. In 1994 the young couple came back to Istria, brought modern technology and progressive ideas into the cellar, experimented and learned. Soon they had two daughters, Gracija and Denis. «Already in elementary school Denis started to help us, although only with her nose, in wine blending. For her it is a beautiful game», says Alfredo while we enjoy homemade Istrian pršut. Rotweiler Don looks at us imploringly asking for a piece. The style of Cossetto red wines, Mozaik and Cabernet Sauvignon, immediately gets imprinted in your memory. The former is an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Istrian Borgonja and Merlot. It will win everybody, especially women, at first with its sensual scent of violet and iris, and then with its velvety texture in the mouth followed by a bite into a bitter cherry. The Cab is very similar but not so aromatic and with a stronger body. For both wines they use short macerations, 5-6 days, so they say, which is enough to get aromas and fruity flavors but avoid the extraction of rough tannins. «These are not big but cute wines. Who knows, if in a few years the financial situation allows us, we’ll also try to make powerful reds by using long maceration and barrel aging of minimum 3-4 years. We definitely want to avoid wild tannins because we don’t like that», says Melinda. As I leave, everything becomes crystal clear. In this small village above Mirna river valley, female touch managed to push a small family winery beyond the tradition, creating a style that makes Cossetto wines so easy to understand and recognize.
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Vina Dvanajščak-Kozol

Central Croatia
Last impressions Međimurje Wines A-Z
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Wineries
This is seemingly a small but very active family-owned winery, regularly awarded for their Pušipel white. Their elegant white blend called DK Grofovo is a treat for wine enthusiasts. They're also among few local winemakers producing a very decent Pinot noir, which is also used to make an excellent, light and elegant semi-dry rose wine. The view from the terrace is unbeatable on a sunny day, when you can see as far as the Austrian Alps, and our host Tea makes a very pleasant wine tasting companion.
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Vintesa

Zagreb&Surroundings
Last impressions Novi život zapuštenog dvorišta! Wine Stop Next Door
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Wineries
Kada je prije sada skoro već 3 godine Ana Ugarković u jednom haustoru u Vlaškoj otvorila Mali bar, to dvorište nije ličilo na bogznakaj. Dapače, bilo je pomalo odbojno i u njemu je jedina svijetla točka bila neobična zgrada u koju su se smjestili Anin Mali Bar i Jopovi Karijola i Wine bar. Nakon toga stigla je Vintesa i pomalo počela tražiti svoje mjesto na zagrebačkoj vinskoj sceni. Mala, nepretenciozna vinoteka polagano je postala dnevni boravak za mnoge vinoljupce. Odabir vina sve je bolji i sve precizniji, a predstavljanja i druženja su baš poput tih vina koja nude: u ograničenim količinama, dobar value for money s ponekim izvrsnim iznenađenjem. S dolaskom novog lijepog hostela, ovo dvorište pokazalo nam je kako mogu izgledati i živjeti zagrebački skriveni kutci. Ugodno i primamljivo.
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Petrač

Zagreb&Surroundings
Last impressions Bordeaux blends from Zagorje hills
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Wineries
Modern and ambitious, but not too big winery. They have the usual whites typical for Zagorje, but Petrač is quite unique for its mono-variety reds and two Bordeaux blends called Karizma (dominant Cab) and Enigma (dominant Merlot). My favourite is definitely Karizma, a smooth, elegant, well-balanced and rich blend, similar to New World style, but not at all oaky or too jammy.