A Summer Send-off with Škrlet


By Cliff Rames © 2014

Just because the sunsets arrive earlier, the shadows cast longer, the nights undulate with the mating songs of crickets and the haunting bumps of falling acorns, does not mean that it is suddenly unacceptable to drink white wine.

True, my craving for red wine – suppressed in the oppressive heat of summer – is beginning to awaken and warm my veins. Nonetheless, autumn and winter are still fine times to crack open a white wine – preferably one of fuller body – when the urge strikes or menu demands.

I was reminded of this a few days ago. Silence had descended upon the neighborhood with the local kids’ return to school and the extinguished drone of A/C units in every window. It was one of those perfect September days: crystalline skies, puffy cotton ball clouds, and temperatures in the low 80s F (28 C). The first leaves of brown and yellow floated down from limbs on cool breezes, and most of the garden veggies were already ripped out, eaten, or awaiting harvest.

On the stove, destined to become my lunch, a simmering pot of creamed kale soup (kale that had grown so big that I imagined elves or hobbits napping beneath their tree-like branches) gave off wisps of steam and comforting aromas.

Pondering what wine to pair with the soup, my mind wandered towards something light and crisp, not too alcoholic (it was lunch after all and I was intending to remain productive afterwards), perhaps with citrusy flavors and green notes to elevate the flavors of the kale and vegetables in the soup. Sauvignon blanc beckoned, the obvious choice. But I don’t like obvious choices.

Then I remembered the 2012 Mikša Škrlet tucked in the back of the fridge, a wine I had bubble-wrapped back in my suitcase – along with about 18 other assorted wine and spirits bottles {to the amazement of but (luckily) not penalization by US Customs officers} – on my last journey home from Croatia.

CroatianWineRegions_NEW_cropped_Sept12

Škrlet is a white grape variety that is native to the continental region of inland Croatia, or what is now called the Croatian Uplands wine region. There Vladimir Mikša produces approximately 20,000 liters of škrlet a year from grapes grown in his vineyards in the Voloder-Ivanić Grad “vinogorje” (wine-growing hills) of the Moslavina sub-region. Škrlet is noted for its crimson, scarlet fever rash-like speckles (the German, “scharlach”, thus škrlet) that blush its skins when ripe.

Škrlet (Photo courtesy of Vina Košutić - www.vina-kosutic.hr/ )
Škrlet (Photo courtesy of Vina Košutić)

 

For anyone who has been following along since I first started blogging about Croatian wines in 2007, škrlet has always been a native Croatian variety that gets me giddy, as I expressed in this post from 2010 chronicling my visit to škrlet producer, Marko Miklaužić.

Most škrlet is produced in a dry, light-bodied, crisp style; although a few off-dry renditions can be found (I will not be surprised to see sparkling versions eventually produced). Aromas of green fruits, citrus, and delicate floral and grassy notes are typical, and it is best consumed young – within 2-3 years of the vintage – when it is beautifully fresh, vibrant and perfect to pair with seafood, shellfish, and vegetable dishes.

If I were the operator of a country bistro, škrlet could easily succeed as the house white wine, sold on draft in glass carafes, and chugged in liters by happy, finger-licking and lip-smacking diners. Since I don’t own a bistro, I drank the whole bottle of Mikša myself. With a belly full of kale soup and daydreams of polka-dotted škrlet clusters ready to be harvested in Croatia, I then joined the elves and hobbits for late afternoon snooze in the shade of a tree.

When I awoke, summer had passed. That’s okay. It ended on a perfect note.

(Photo: Cliff Rames © 2014)
(Photo: Cliff Rames © 2014)

***

Wine: Mikša Škrlet

Vintage: 2012

Producer: Vladimir Mikša

Region: Croatian Uplands

Sub-Region: Moslavina, Voloder-Ivanić Grad Vinogorje
Grape Varieties: Škrlet

Alcohol by Volume: 12%

Residual Sugar: N/A

Price: N/A

Bottle Size: 750 ml

Imported By: N/A

Tasting Note: Pale straw color with watery rim and crystalline clarity. Aromas of green apple, pear, citrus, honey dew melon, chamomile tea, white flowers and meadow grass. On the palate, dry, crisp and vibrant with lots of verve and palate-cleansing acidity on a steely frame. Drink soon.

(Photo: Cliff Rames © 2014)
(Photo: Cliff Rames © 2014)
(Photo: Cliff Rames © 2014)
(Photo: Cliff Rames © 2014)

4 thoughts on “A Summer Send-off with Škrlet

  • Hi Cliff,
    interesting information again.
    Gonna have to search for this one, as I never saw it between all other bottles in the shops.

    Question:
    what do you know about the “disaster in grape growing, wine making Croatia.
    Overhere, and not only here, almost total harvest of grapes is lost, due to wrong/bad weather, with hail, lack of sunshine and to much rain on the wrong moments.
    Guess it will make 2014 in general a lost year, with fár less litres, lower quality and higher prices.
    Still not without pleasant bottles, but uncertain about next year.
    Cheers, pozdravi iz Svinisce, Pim.

  • I really enjoyed your post. We too just recently arrived back to the U.S from a beautiful vacation on Bol, island of Brac in Croatia. Your post reminded me our of summer, and the varieties of wines we tasted. Next year, I’ll be sure to try the Skrlet.

  • Also do you know Jerry at Dubrovnik? The food is on point. It is in New Rochelle and I have no idea if he would consider a floor somm but I would be happy to introduce.

    On Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 12:45 PM, stetson robbins wrote:

    > lovely post Cliff! > > When we getting together? > > On Sat, Sep 20, 2014 at 11:24 PM, Wines of Croatia <

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