Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The complete wine community in New York was buzzing with curiosity and anticipation regarding THE CROATIAN WINE INVASION. Wines of Croatia, in partnership with the Association of Winemakers at the Croatian Chamber of Economy, sponsored the First-Ever GRAND PORTFOLIO TASTING OF CROATIAN WINES.

More than 25 producers from CROATIA'S boutique wineries poured their wines, many made with indigenous grapes from the region. A seminar led by Croatian wine authority, CLIFF RAMES, of Wines of Croatia,and celeberity guest speakers, IVICA MATOSEVIC (winemaker and president of Vinistra; JOE CAMPANALE (sommelier and restauranteur) and MLADEN ROZANIC (winemaker)educated the standing-room only audience of wine writers and professionals.
FACTS about Croatian Wines:
+ Greek settlers introduced wine to Croatia in the 5th century B.C.
+ Croatia produces over 700 wines.
+ There are two wine regions, divided into Coastal and Continental wines.
+ There are 13 sub-regions, within these sub-regions are 'Hundreds of Wine Growing Hills'.
+ Thee are two geographically protected appellations.
+ 67% of the wine produced is white.
+ 32% of the wine produced is red.
+ Rose wine counts for 1% of production.
+ Croatia has over 60 grape varieties.
+ Zinfandel was first grown in Croatia, then brought to Italy.
+ Zinfandel is known as Crljenak Kastelanski. Plavac Mali is the offspring of Zinfandel.
+ MALVASIA ISTRIANA and GRASEVINA are Croatia's best known white grape varieties.
+ Current production of Croatian wine exceeds 65 million liters.
+ California winemaker, MILJENKO "MIKE" GRGICH, is from Croatia, and owns a vineyard in Croatia.
I accompanied LUIZ ALBERTO,'The Wine Hubs' resident wine expert at the tasting portion of the event. We walked around discussing the salty composition of many of the whites and the concentrated reds that often showed hints of both Old World and New World Wines.

Distribution of wines into the marketplace began several years ago.

A few suggestions:
+ KORTA KATARINA POSIP 2008 (honey,salt and crisp-white wine)
+ POSTUP 2008 (complex, rich, deep, concentrated--red wine)
+ IVAN KATUNAR ZLAHTINA 2008 (crisp,lemon, honey--white wine)
+ KRAUTHAKER CHARDONNAY ROSENBERG 2008 (full-flavor, rich, crisp--white wine)
+ KORTA KATARINA PLAVAC MALI RUEBEN'S RESERVE 2006 (classic concentrated red wine)

It is worth the investment of a bottle of wine to sample the Great Wines of Croatia.
The vineyards are small and the export production is somewhat limited, but, readily available.

Time to enjoy the new grapes in our vocabulary--MALVASIA ISTRIANA and PLAVAC MALI
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