Thursday, 7 June 2012

Euro 2012. Wine by Wine. Croatia

Hvaing recently visited the melting pot that is still Sarajevo I was intrigued to find out more about the wines of neighbouring Croatia on my return. I am therefore almost entirely indebted to Judith Burns and Trevor Long of Croatia specialists Pacta Connect for what follows.
Everyday refreshment
is found in a light,
Italian style white

Although developed in the smallest of Croatia's three, or some argue for four, winemaking regions, the wines of Istria are probably the most accessible to the British palate, as being but a few hours from Venice the area's style of winemaking in many ways reflects northern Italy, of which it was once a part. 
Minimum intervention is the
order of the day at Piquentum

Istria's main white wine is Malvazija Istarska (Istrian), a gluggable crisp and dry white wine typically drunk young (usually spending six months in stainless steel tanks before bottling) but the grape is also blended with Chardonnay or Pinot Gris and can be aged in oak or acacia. 

Franco Cattunar of the eponymous Vina Cattunar is one of the larger independent producers in the region, and sells through various wine merchants and wine bars. His Malvazija offers capsicums and elderflowers and he also produces a deep and dark Teran. 

Teran is the region's principal red wine and is a somewhat robust and earthy red that lends itself well to barrique aging. 

At Piquentum Dimitri Brečević is the half-French and half-Croatian winemaker who trained at the University of Bordeaux and worked on vintages both there and in the New World vineyards of New Zealand and Australia, before returning to his father's native Croatia to produce the wines of Piquentum using 'natural' processes that involve minimum intervention. 

There is also a white muškat which is produced in a small area of northern Istria, called Muškat Bijeli Momjanski (the white muškat of Momjan).  Momjan is a tiny village where only a handful of winemakers produce an off-dry white Muškat.

Plavac Mali (literally small blue) is a cross between Zinfandel and Dobričić grapes and the principal red wine grape of the Dalmatian coast and I've been recommended Bura-Mrgudić from Dingač, Nick Bura's organically farmed, oak matured unfiltered red wine that is noted for its intensity of fruit.

Among whites, the multiple award-winning Korta Katarina's citrus and stonefruit ripe Pošip suggests an easy drinking introduction to the dominant white wine grape of the Island of Korcula.

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© 2011 John Alexander