Sunday Snapshot: Babić of the Mountains

By Cliff Rames © 2014

Several years ago I had the distinct opportunity to visit the vineyards of Stipe Gašperov, which lie in a very remote, rugged and starkly barren region in the mountains behind the seaside resort town of Primošten. Here Mr. Gašperov somehow managed to plant and cultivate babić grapes in a moonscape-like terroir of limestone and red soil. The vines in places are literally planted in small crevices or holes in stone. It’s no wonder then that his wine is called “Kamena Suza”, or tears of a stone.

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Sunday Snapshot: Zagorje

Zagorje is a wine growing region nestled in the cool, green rolling hills of northern Croatia, just beyond the capital city, Zagreb, and Medvednica mountain. Slovenia lies to the north.

The region is noted for the cultivation of cool climate grapes, about 90% of which are whites varieties such as graševina, pušiplje (aka moslavac or šipon), kerner, gewürztraminer, müller-thurgau (aka: rizvanac), yellow muscat, pinot blanc, pinot gris, riesling, sauvignon blanc, and sylvaner.

Red varieties include blaufrankisch, gamay, pinot noir, portugieser, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon.

Enjoy the view – and try to taste these refreshing and food-friendly wines if you can! Cheers!

photo © Cliff Rames
photo © Cliff Rames

Sunday Snapshot: The Road to Dingač

Accessible through a dark, single-lane, 400 meter-long  tunnel and curvy, mountain-hugging road (in photo), Dingač is Croatia’s oldest geographically protected wine-growing appellation – since 1961.

(Photo: Copyright © Cliff Rames)
(Photo: Copyright © Cliff Rames)

On the steep, southwest-facing slopes on the Pelješac peninsula, Plavac Mali grapes ripen in the blazing sun and are usually harvested between late September and early October.

Wines labeled “Dingač” may only be made from Plavac Mali grapes grown on these slopes along the Adriatic Sea. They are bold, dark wines with expressions of sun baked black fruit, cherries, dried fig and cranberries, roasted Mediterranean herb, coffee, and sometimes salty minerality.

Leading producers of Dingač wines are Bartulović, Bura, Kiridžija, Madirazza, Matuško, Miličić, Radović, Saints Hills, Skaramuča, and Vinarija Dingač.

Borak is one of two villages on the Pelješac peninsula near Dingač. The other is Potomje.


Sunday Snapshot: Old Cellar at Iločki Podrumi

Iločki Podrumi, located in the town of Ilok in the Srijem wine growing region of northeastern Croatia, administers one of the oldest wine cellars in Croatia, dating back to the 15th Century.

Iločki Podrumi produces wines made from graševina, traminac (gewürztraminer), chardonnay, frankovka (blaufränkisch), and cabernet sauvignon, as well as specializes in award-winning late harvest and ice wines.

For more information, check them out here:

(Photo: © 2013 Cliff Rames)
(Photo: © 2013 Cliff Rames)

Slopes Fit for a Queen: Zdjelarević Hotel & Winery – in Pictures


(All photos ©2012 Cliff Rames)

Last month, two editors from Wine Enthusiast magazine, Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen (aka the World Wine Guys), visited Croatia to receive the Golden Pen Award from the Croatian National Tourism Board for their article called “Croatia – In Living Color”, which was published in the September 2011 issue of Wine Enthusiast.

After receiving the Golden Pen Award (“Zlatna Penkala”), the Wine Guys toured a selection of wineries, vineyards, hotels, restaurants and other sites in the continental region of Croatia.

The Wine Guys were escorted by Cliff Rames, sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia, who along the way captured a few snapshots of their journey. We will be sharing an assortment of Cliff’s photos with you over the next few weeks, including this collection of shots from Zdjelarević winery in the Slavonski Brod wine-growing hills of the Slavonia region of northeastern Croatia.

Zdjelarević Hotel & Winery – directed by winemaker Davor Zdjelarević – cultivates 10 hectares of its own vines as well as another 20 hectares of vines under lease, which allows the winery to produce up to 150,000 bottles of wine per year. Among its best loved wines are the Nagual Grand Cuve Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot and Nagual Grand Cuve Chardonnay/Sauvignon labels, as well as the Klink@ line of early drinking wines designed to appeal to Generation X consumers.

(Photo courtesy of Zdjelarevic winery)

According to the winery, Queen Elizabeth II is said to have enjoyed Zdjelarević’s 2009 Chardonnay – a wine produced from vines that overlook the long sloping hills that meander southeastward toward the town of Slavonski Brod and the Sava river – an area not generally recognized for its world class wines. It looks like Davor Zdjelarević is trying to change that.

The property also includes a hotel with 12 rooms and three apartments and a gourmet restaurant where guests can dine like a king – and drink like a queen! 🙂

Room with a view!
Davor Zdjelarevic (left); Cliff Rames