The 2011 British Verdict on Croatian Wines

by Saša Špiranec

In summer of 2011, a renowned British wine critics quintet called the Wine Gang visited Croatia, hosted by the Wine Department of Croatian Chamber of Commerce. They had a thorough tasting of wines from all Croatian regions in Zagreb, and then went on a tour of numerous wineries in the continental Croatia. The big tasting in Zagreb was organized to provide some guidelines to the local wine industry about the current trends on the refined British market, in particular to try to predict which varieties and styles could be of special interest to British wine professionals.

98 wineries applied for the tasting, with a maximum of three samples. 280 samples were tasted all together. It was a blind tasting. The Wine Gang picked out 45 wines which impressed them, either because of their quality or original style. The results are very interesting and enticing, because the high scores of some wines enable Croatian wine makers to compete on the global market with the most famous regions of the world on equal terms. They were especially impressed by the character of Istrian Malvazija, as 13 samples entered the final selection, which makes it the best rated single variety. Apart from Malvazija, other indigenous grape varieties like Plavac mali and Teran showed much better potential than popular international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon.

The total ratio of indigenous varietals and international ones in the final selection of 45 samples is 32 to 13 in favour of the indigenous varietals. This is a clear signal what the Croatian wine makers have to focus on when trying to conquer export markets. In particular if we consider the fact that in the overall number of tasted samples the number of international and indigenous varieties was more or less the same.

Kozlović was the absolute star of the whole tasting, with three of his wines scoring over 90 points, while Benvenuti, Clai, Kabola and Duboković also made a very good impression.

You can find more impressions from the visit and the tastings, as well as the descriptions of each wine, on the Wine Gang’s website, in an inspired article called ”Croatia, Land of Plenty”, written by Anthony Rose.

Here is the list of best rated wines by regions:

-Producer, wine name (variety), vintage, alcohol level, score-

(white wines)
Kozlović, Santa Lucia (Malvazija Istriana) 2008 14.4% ABV, 95/100
Kozlović, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2010 12.9% ABV, 92/100
Kozlović, Muškat momjanski TBA (Muscat) 2006 13.5% ABV, 91/100 (sweet)
Benvenuti, Anno Domini 2008 (Malvazija Istriana) 2008 14.3% ABV, 93/100
Benvenuti, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2010 13% ABV, 90/100
Clai, Sv. Jakov (Malvazija Istriana) 2009 14.5% ABV, 93/100
Kabola, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2010 13% ABV, 90/100
Kabola, Malvazija Amfora (Malvazija Istriana) 2007 14% ABV, 90/100
Kabola, Malvazija Reserve (Malvazija Istriana) 2007 13.7% ABV, 89/100
Cossetto, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2009 13.5% ABV, 90/100
Matošević, Alba Antique (Malvazija Istriana) 2008 13.3% ABV, 90/100
Poletti, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2008 14.4% ABV, 89/100
Saints Hills, Nevina (Malvazija Istriana, Chardonnay) 2009 15.6% ABV, 87/100
Capo vina, Chardonnay (Chardonnay) 2009 13.5% ABV, 87/100
Legovic, Sauvignon (Sauvignon Blanc) 2010 12.2% ABV, 87/100
AB VINA, Malvazija (Malvazija Istriana) 2010 13% ABV, 86/100

(red and rose wines)
Benvenuti, Teran (Teran) 2008 13.4% ABV, 89/100
Meneghetti, Crno (Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet Franc) 2008 13.6% ABV, 88/100
Roxanich, Teran Re (Teran) 2007 13.7% ABV, 87/100
Trapan, Ruby Rose (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Teran) 2010 13% ABV, 87/100

(white wines)
Duboković, Prvi Poljubac (Maraština, Bogdanuša, Prč, Kuč) 2008 15.2% ABV, 94/100 (sweet)
Marko Sladic, Maraština (Maraština) 2010 13.6% ABV, 90/100
Zlatan Otok, Pošip (Pošip) 2010 13.5% ABV, 90/100
Korta Katarina, Pošip (Pošip) 2009 15.5% ABV, 89/100
Boškinac blanc Grand Cru (Gegić, Chardonnay, Sauvignon) 2009 14.7% ABV, 87/100
Boškinac, Gegić (Gegić) 2010 13.2% ABV, 85/100

(red wines)
Madirazza, Dingač Grande (Plavac mali) 2005 14.3% ABV, 91/100
Gracin, Babić (Babić) 2008 14.5% ABV, 90/100
Saints Hills, Dingač (Plavac mali) 2008 13.8% ABV, 90/100
Korta Katarina, Plavac mali (Plavac mali) 2007 13.7% ABV, 89/100
Vinarija Dingač, Dingač (Plavac mali) 2008 15.6% ABV, 89/100
Vinarija Dingač, Dingač Selekcija (Plavac mali) 2008 15.8% ABV, 89/100
Vinarija Svirče – Badel 1862, Plavac Mediterano (Plavac mali) 2008 13.5% ABV, 89/100

Central Croatia:
(white wines)
Tomac, Amphora Rajnski rizling (Riesling) 2009 13% ABV, 91/100
Korak, Rajnski rizling (Riesling) 2008 14.2% ABV, 88-89/100
Bolfan vinarija, Rajnski rizling (Riesling) 2009 13.8% ABV, 88/100
Cmrečnjak, Pinot sivi (Pinot Gris) 2009 12% ABV, 88/100
DK Grofovo Cuvee (Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Graševina, Furmint) 2009 12.9% ABV, 87/100

Danube and Slavonia:
(white wines)
Bartolovic, Pinot sivi (Pinot Gris) 2008 15% ABV, 90/100
Ivan Cobankovic, Pinot sivi (Pinot Gris) 2009 13.4% ABV, 89/100
Ivan Cobankovic, Traminac BA (Gewürtztraminer) 2008 14.6% ABV, 89/100 (sweet)
Krauthaker, Graševina 2010 12.8% ABV, 88/100
Mihalj, Graševina 2009 14.6% ABV, 88/100
PZ Trs, Graševina 2009 13.3% ABV, 88/100

Danube and Slavonia:
(red wines)
Galić, Pinot crni (Pinot Noir) 2009 13.7% ABV, 86/100


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