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Krauthaker Grasevina Mitrovac 2018
Grasevina, the Croatian name for the grape Welschriesling, is a specialty of the Krauthaker winery, located on the southern slopes of Krndija in the Kutjevo wine growing region. Almost 65% of their vineyards are planted to the varietal, and their mastery of this grape shows in the Grasevina Mitrovac. Straw yellow in color, the aromas leap out of the glass, with ripe apple, apricot, honey, and chamomile leading the way. The palate is fresh and fruity, with more stone fruit, a creamy and round texture, and a tart finish with just a hint of refreshing bitter melon and salinity. A hint of noble rot throughout the sip lends sweet, dessert-wine like flavors to this wine, although it is dry.
This wine is a fantastic pairing for richer seafood dishes like crab or lobster risotto, cured meats, or light summer appetizers like prosciutto and melon. It would also work well as a digestif during a cheese course.
Krauthaker Winery, in the renowned winegrowing region of Kutjevo, is a Grasevina specialist, making multiple types of the grape with both dry wines and sweeter, late harvested versions. The Grasevina Mitrovac is picked two weeks after the regular Grasevina, which lends some Botrytis Cinerea, or “Noble Rot” notes to the wine, however it is still fermented dry. The Mitrovac vineyard is fertilized only with manure, and is worked in part by horses so as to not compact the soil, and in keeping with Krauthaker’s environmentally friendly mantra.
Matosevic Grimalda White 2016
Unlike many of Croatia’s top winemakers, Ivica Matošević did not come from a local winemaking family. While studying for his PhD at the Faculty of Agriculture he was bitten by the enology bug and set out on the long journey to crafting his own wines. Initially he worked in Friuli in Italy before setting out on his own with purchased grapes from relatives. Eventually he was able to acquire his own estate in Brdo in central Istria and in 1996 he proudly bottled his first wines which soon drew the attention of international wine critics.
Ivica’s Grimalda white is a stunning blend of Chardonnay, Istrian Malvasia and Sauvignon Blanc which demonstrates the remarkable quality of Ivica’s grapes and his inspired approach to winemaking. Ivica sources the grapes for this wine from his sunny south-facing terraces which provide very low yields and ferments and ages the wine in French oak barrels for 12 months.
The result is a rich, creamy white wine which exudes tropical and citrus notes overlaid with hints of buttercream, toasted nuts and honey. The first sip reveals a vibrant freshness, full body, and well-rounded texture with zingy citrus flavours that linger long on the tongue. This unique blend is a stellar gastronomic wine, combining well even with foods which are more difficult to pair with wine like asparagus, olives, and artichokes.
Kozlovic Malvazija 2019
Reminiscent of the fresh sea breeze which blows along the Istrian coast, this pretty white is made with local favorite Malvasia which has been grown here for centuries. The small Kozlovic winery has been in the hands of the same family since 1904 and is currently run by Gianfranco and Antonella Kozlovic. The couple are passionate about combining Croatia’s stunning indigenous varieties with modern winemaking techniques to show to the world the incredible potential of Istrian wines.
In the glass the first aromas to emerge are citrusy lemon, pear and crisp green apple followed by hints of dried sage and oregano. On the palate richer fruits like peaches, apricots and pineapples come to the fore along with a harmonising salty minerality from the limestone vineyard soils.
The vibrant personality of this white make it ideal to sip in the warmer months alongside a platter of fresh seafood or simply savour by the pool. This Malvasia is also ideal to serve well chilled paired with creamier dishes like an elegant prawn risotto or pasta carbonara thanks to the bright acidity which helps to revive and cleanse your palate after each bite.
Bibich Debit 2017
Croatian winemaker Alen Bibić is on a mission to share his country’s treasure trove of unique indigenous grape varieties with the world. Set in the hills above the town of Skradin in northern Dalmatia, Alen’s winery is credited with putting this region on the map and reinvigorating the wine industry here after the devastating Yugoslav wars in the 90s.
One of Alen’s favourite grapes to work with is the Debit variety that he uses in this single varietal dry white wine. According to local legend, the wine takes its name from its popularity with Napoleon who would demand a payment or “debit” from the winemakers to guarantee his protection. Alen sources the Debit grapes from old vines planted in a vineyard which has been in his family for generations. Come harvest time the grapes are collected by hand and vinified in stainless steel tanks to preserve the natural fresh and fruity character of the Debit variety.
Green apples, lemon zest and a certain flinty minerality characterise the nose, while the palate offers a racy acidity, medium body and hints of sweet almonds, dried herbs and quince. The Bibich Debit is a very versatile wine that will pair well with pan-fried fish, fresh seafood or simply a generous platter of cheeses and charcuterie.
Zlatan Otok Posip 2018
With fruit grown on the island of Hvar in the Dalmatia region of Southern Croatia, the Zlatan Otok Posip is made from the Posip grape, an indigenous variety found almost exclusively in Croatia. Bright and straw yellow in color, this is a ripe, refreshing wine with aromas of nectarine, pineapple, and lemon. On the palate, the Zlatan Otok Posip exhibits flavors of fresh apricot, pear, light anise tones, and a slightly herbal quality, with a mouthwateringly acidic finish.
This energizing and lip-smacking wine would be a perfect summer aperitif, served chilled with appetizers like olives, pickled vegetables, tomato tarts, or shellfish such as lobster or scallops.
Beginning with a family farm in 1986 where grapes were only a small part of their production, the Zlatan Otok winery has received numerous accolades and awards from international wine competitions since their first release of their own wine in 1989. The island of Hvar, where the grapes for this wine hail from, is a beautiful oceanfront paradise. However, the vines for these grapes are grown in slightly less hospitable conditions, on steep slopes where all pruning, picking, and planting has to be done by hand, and yields are extremely low. This is certainly a labor of love for the family, but one that has proved to be successful, as their wines are some of the most sought after in Croatia.