Wineries

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Bolfan

Central Croatia
Last impressions Wine wonders from Zagorje
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Wineries
In only a few years, Tomislav Bolfan and his winery Vinski vrh won more medals, awards and attention than many other more prominent names. Beside a wide range of high-quality wines at affordable prices, his mission is to keep the process of wine making as natural as possible. Watch out for the superbly balanced Rhine riesling 2009, full-bodied Primus Pinot Gris 2010, fresh and aromatic Libertin Yellow muscat 2010 and the exclusive Paidia Pinot gris 2009 (icewine). Visit the beautiful tasting room on top of a hill, where there are plentiful events combining good wine, food and music.
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Bodren

Central Croatia
Last impressions International award-winning la...
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Wineries
At first, everybody told him he was crazy. He might have thought so himself sometimes, deciding to make sweet wine in Hrvatsko Zagorje, area known for its’ highly accidic wines that give you a decent headache the morning after. When he sent his wines to Decanter and received a few golden medals, no one was laughing any more. Except him, of course. Mr. Boris Drenški continues to produce late harvest and ice wines near small village of Hum na Sutli. His wines really are a special experience. But good luck with the price!
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Wineries
The new Kozlović winery, opened at the end of 2011, is a must-visit not only for every wine enthusiast but also for everyone interested to see a beautiful example of the marriage of modern architecture and nature. At first glance, it is a building following contemporary trends, whose front is dominated by a black steel mesh reminding of a bird’s nest. When you go inside, you will realize it is only one third of the building, while the rest is carefully camouflaged by soil, on which inidigenous vegetation is restablished. In that way the pristine beauty of Vale, a narrow valley overlooked by 1000-year-old Momjan citadel, was successfully preserved. The new winery was designed by Franko Kozlović, the winemaker himself, a guy who knows how to make wines for very different palates. For example, if you are a wine skeptic who prefers a funky fruit cocktail and simply cannot stand the harshness and/or acidity of many wines, just try Kozlović Momjanski Muškat. This semi-sweet wine made from Muscat grapes indigenous to Momjan area will put you on track to become a passionate wine drinker. On the other hand, if you are a sophisticated wine connoisseur, who adores carefully aged wine showing outstanding complexity and elegance, the wine that puts winemaker’s expertise to the ultimate test? Then taste Kozlović St. Lucia, a seductive, Rhone-style white aged in big oak or more rebellious (maybe also more food-friendly) Malvazija Akacija aged in acacia barriques.
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Sirotić

Istria
Last impressions Hearty wines spiced up by Buton...
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Wineries
Lonely hamlet of Medveje is situated on the green hills that surround Butoniga Lake from the north, some 13 km south from Buzet. This place, far from any main road, is worth visiting not only because of the idyllic landscape and slow pace of life in the air. In Medveje you will find hearty, honest wines made by Sirotić family, more precisely by the father and son who are both called Dario. Here, on the steep southern exposition slopes, they own more than 3 ha of vineyards planted with Istrian Malvasia, Chardonnay, Teran and Refošk. "We have a vineyard with more than 60-year-old Teran vines", says Dario Jr. proudly showing me a vine thicker than his hand which grows in white clay-limestone soil. The main characteristic of their wines is the simplistic style of winemaking, emphasizing all the qualities of this unique terroir. In all Sirotić's wines you will feel exceptional minerality which gives them elegant closing and makes you ready for another glass. Teran, partly aged in big oak barrels, is certainly their flagship wine due to its unusual character, which has a taste of their place. In the nose at first it is very rustic, then a Syrah-like black pepper appears, then some dry roses and forest floor pop out. In the mouth the real Teran appears with red berry flavors, all supported by astounding levels of acidity. A wine for hearty winter dishes. We recommend you to aerate it for at least two hours. Don't miss their Istrian Malvasia and Chardonnay, both made in stainless steel vats only. Malvasia has seductive aromas of tropical fruits and Mediterranean herbs, while in the mouth it is of lighter style and very fresh. Surprisingly, Chardonnay is less intense in the nose - it is more Sauvignon-like, with green grass and it has a nice odor of wet clay and iodine. Reminds of Chablis style chardonnays. The body is strong, in the mouth at first you feel sour green apple. Afterwards ripe yellow fruits appear together with almost brutal mouthwatering salts. The aftertaste is creamy and long.
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Meneghetti

Istria
Last impressions A Bordeaux blend with Istrian c...
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Wineries
In the 17th century many stancijas, isolated farms managed by a family co-ops, were founded all along southern and western Istria. These were “stations” for independent farming of the best produce the land could offer. In other words, each stancija had a complete food sovereignty and was even selling its produce in the nearby towns of Rovinj and Pula. It is nice to see that Stancija Meneghetti follows this long-lost tradition by choosing not to be just another luxury holiday villa for clientele with deep pockets but also a place where wine and gourmet tourist are warmly welcomed, a place that give birth to outstanding extra virgin olive oils and stellar wines. Like their famous Bordeaux blend Crno (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) that many Croatian vinos consider as the best red in Istria or white blend Bijelo (Chardonnay and White Pinot) that also follows international stylistic.
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Rossi

Istria
Last impressions Rustic and traditional meets hi...
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Wineries
In the surroundings of Vižinada, on the slopes overlooking Mirna Valley, 12 hectares of Rossi family vineyards thrive under sapient care of those who have wine making in their genes. Marino learned a lot from his grandfather, who continues to transfer traditional knowledge and passion for this unique terroir where red, white and grey soils are intertwined. They don't fear the modern technology either and don't limit it only to the wine making process. Agricultural Institute from Zagreb put a high tech meteorological station in their vineyard, capable of forecasting the attack of various vine diseases a few days in advance. This allows them to treat the vines only when necessary and to use only the minimum amount of chemicals, mostly based on copper and sulphur. Rossi's wines are all made in purity with Malvasia, Teran and Refošk, indigenous grape varieties they are intimately connected to. He is proud of his white, 2009 Malvasia Templara. It has subtle aromas of white flowers, aromatic herbs and some Sauvignon-like green grass. Made from 50-year-old vines that gives it structure and extraordinary minerality. We were glad to hear their reds, Refošk and Teran, are aged in large 500 l Slavonian oak barrels. So, no excessive wood here! 2009 Refošk is of brighter, immediate style, more herbaceous with some fresh red fruit in the mouth. 2009 Teran is more mysterious, intensely purple color sticking to the glass, has animal and meaty (umami) aroma with a bit of rose hip and black pepper. Spiky acidity, succulent red fruits, energetic and abundant in mouthwatering minerals. Wow-efect is here! Perfect match with a paprika spiced goulash. Their Biska, mistletoe grappa, or liquid viagra as they call it, is arguably the best in Istria, and the newcomer Erba Luiga, Lemon Verbena grappa, is perfect for summer. The most sophisticated palates won't be dissappointed with monovarietal grappa made from Yellow Muscat, last year's Grand Prix winner at Gračišće grappa contest.
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Miloš

Dalmatia Dubrovnik
Last impressions Stellar wines but also olive oil Unusual Dalmatian reds by not-s...
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Wineries
Miloš winery deals only with Plavac mali grape, the most famous Croatian indigenous variety, related to Zinfandel. He produces basic Plavac, excellent value for money, and the more ambitious, elegant and enchanting Stagnum, wine which reflects the soul of Plavac mali and Pelješac's unique terroir. At the moment there are only two vintages of Stagnum on the market: 2003 and 2005. Miloš is not in a hurry, he lets his wine mature properly and it has amazing aging potential. What also makes him stand out among other producers of Plavac mali is his unwillingness to use barrique barrels. In spite of some controversies about it, Miloš's revolutionary rosé wine - based on Plavac mali, of course - boldly entered the scene and became a Croatian rosés with character, as far as I am concerned. In 2014 they won prize at New York International Olive Oil Competition for their extravirgin olive oil made from Oblica, found everywhere in Dalmatia, and other olive varieties indigenous to Pelješac peninsula. They use modern olive oil processing method and not traditional way which consists of soaking olives in seawater for few days before they go to the olive mill. The result is spectacular and proves that Dalmatian olive oils on the same quality level as much well known Istrian.
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Damjanić

Istria
Last impressions Char-grilled sardines and Borgo...
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Wineries
Ivan Damjanić is a young 30-something winemaker whose wines are more famous in Croatian capital Zagreb than in Istria. He proudly tells me that he owns most of the vineyards I can see from his house in a small hilltop hamlet of Fuškulin. On 3,8 hectares he grows three white and three red grape varieties, of which two indigenous ones, Istarska Malvazija and Borgonja, predominate. Borgonja is produced by maybe only two or three other winemakers in Istria. Very fruity, lively mineral, a kind of wine that does not want to be pretentious, it does not fight with the food but just caresses your palate. Very easy drinking, enjoyable in all seasons, and it is hard to find a wine in Istria with such great food pairing versatility. It goes with cheese, fish, meat, pasta, pršut (cured ham), sausages… In the summer don't miss to slightly chill it. Ivan mentioned that it pairs greatly with sardines, fried or even better char-grilled. I do believe that with its joyfulness Borgonja will perfectly fit every good summer barbecue party. Damjanić also has great Malvasia and Chardonnay, but I fell in love in other two excellent reds: Merlot, rich in ripe fruit with a spicy aftertaste, and Clemente, a balanced blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Teran, with floral aromas and lots of fresh, juicy red fruits in the mouth.
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Dešković

Istria
Last impressions The home of Motovunski Teran
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Wineries
Even thirty years ago when serious winemaking in Istria was just at the beginning, everybody knew that the best terroir for Teran is on the hills near Motovun. More precisely, on the steep slopes near the village Završje, where you can enjoy a stunning view of Mirna river valley, famous truffle forest and Motovun. Here the soil is white, a mixture of clay and limestone, and gives a very fruity Teran with moderate acidity and gorgeous minerality. Arguably the best one comes from Dešković winery and agritourism, settled in a small village Kostanjica near Grožnjan. Their Teran is not filtered and it is full of elegant details that keep your brain captivated, but at the same time it is not ashamed of showing its rough rustic origins. Excellent price-quality ratio.
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Clai

Istria
Last impressions Natural wines from the most pas...
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Wineries
Every Istrian winemaker will agree, Giorgio Clai is the most passionate winemaker on the peninsula, whose wines can be found in top restaurants of New York and San Francisco. "I'm making wine in the vineyard, not in the winery!" he will proudly tell you and continue with the story how it is important to know each vine in the vineyard because, depending on its position, you need to prune it differently. Giorgio follows the principles of biodynamic viticulture, so his wines are made from organic grapes without the addition of selected yeasts and with minimum amount of sulphur. Wines from white grape varieties are produced in a traditional manner, leaving the skins in contact with the must during the fermentation. In that way only indigenous yeasts are contributing to the aroma and flavour of a particular wine (so called "orange" or skin-contact wine), leaving a strong imprint of the terroir. All his wines have the beauty of a masterpiece that is hard to describe but very easy to drink, even if they are high in alcohol. You can taste Sv. Jakov made from pure Istrian Malvasia, white blend Ottocento bijelo and red blend Ottocento crno. If you are lucky enough, you will taste Brombonero directly from the barrell - a BIG red made from Refošk grapes only when the vintage is superb. Call him in advance and beg that he takes you to the vineyards (max 6-8 people).
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Šember

Zagreb&Surroundings
Last impressions Hidden treasure of Plešivica
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Wineries
Just half an hour by car from Zagreb, the capital city, you'll find yourself in Plešivica, green and hilly wine country looking like a postcard. All three generations of Šember family live off land and for wine. They've been on the market for 20 years, but they're still like the dark horse of Plešivica region. Keep an eye on their award-winning Rhine Riesling and Chardonnay, refreshing sparkling wines, complex Pinot noir... As they are always on the move and experimenting, soon you can expect a special line of their barrel aged wines. Their Portugizac, seasonal young wine, is probably the best I've ever tried. An evening spent wine tasting and nibbling at homemade cheese and sausages at Šember cellar can be even better if accompanied by grandma Šember's strudels - order in advance!