A Report: The Croatian Wine Story Presentation in Imotski

 

As it should, the Croatian wine story continues to unfold in wonderful and exciting ways.

Indisputably the best way to experience the story is to visit Croatia and taste the wines in their native setting. Only then, as you inhale and taste their ambient aromas and flavors, do you fully understand their pedigree of origin and expression of terroir. Along the way, hopefully they will warm your heart and soul too.

And so it was on February 17, 2012 in the snow-covered medieval town of Imotski, in the cool dim light of “the Courts” (an event space with stone walls and vaulted ceilings that was built by the Croatian priest and missionary, Don Ivan Turić). There over 40 winemakers, sommeliers, wine enthusiasts and buyers gathered to taste and experience the Croatian wine story as told via a selection of 35 regional wines.

(Photo courtesy of Udruga Mediterra)
Don Ivan Turić (photo courtesy of Udruga Mediterra)

The event was organized by Udruga Mediterra (the Mediterra Association) and co-hosted by Grabovac Winery. Udruga Mediterra is a promotional association founded in 2010 by Miroslav Mirković, who also produced the beautifully-filmed Croatian Wine Story DVD released last year.

“The Croatian Wine Story event is one of the most important wine festivals in Croatia” says Mirković. “In one place we gather some of the most significant Croatian winemakers and present what is new in the Croatian world of wine.”

(Photo courtesy Udruga Mediterra)
(Photo courtesy Udruga Mediterra)

To assess the export potential and price-to-quality value of the wines that were presented, Mirković assembled a panel of judges to taste and score each wine, with winners announced at the conclusion of the event. This year’s panel included judges from Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. They were:

Franjo Francem, president of the Croatian Society of Enologists
Ante Grubišić, enologist, Croatia
Vito Andrić, a wine journalist, Croatia
Dejan Živkoski, vice president of the Association of Sommeliers of Serbia
Žarko Radonjić, president of the National Association of Sommeliers of Montenegro

(Photo courtesy Udruga Mediterra)

The wines were judged in four price categories:

1) White wines priced 7 Euros or less.

2) White wines priced more than 7 Euros.

3) Red wines priced 10 Euros or less.

4) Red wines priced more than 10 Euros

Here are the top wines in each category, as chosen by the jury:

~Best white wine (7 Euros or less): Enjingi 2007 Graševina Late Harvest.

~Best white wine (more than 7 Euros): Iločki Podrumi 2009 Gewurztraminer.

~Best red wine (10 Euros or less): Badel 1862 Korlat 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.

~Best red wine (more than 10 Euros): Plančić 2006 Pharos Grand Cru.

The runner-up (2nd place) wine in each category was as follows:

~White wine (7 Euros or less): N/A

~White wine (more than 7 Euros): Bodren 2009 Rajnski Rizling Ledena Berba (Riesling Ice Wine)

~Red wine (10 Euros or less): Josić 2009 Cuvee Ciconia Nigra

~Red wine (more than 10 Euros): Korta Katarina 2007 Plavac Mali.

Guests of the event were also treated to a variety of local food specialties, including Gligora Paški cheese; Bilaja extra virgin olive oil; Marko Polo extra virgin olive oil (Blato1902); and Grbić extra virgin pumpkin seed oil.

Udruga Mediterra’s members include over 60 winemakers and related producers from regional countries such as Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Austria. The main objectives of the association are to market regional wines in Croatia and in foreign markets; to develop wine and food brands; to assess the potential of products for export and increase the number of exports; to promote and develop regional cultural-wine tourism; and to educate consumers.

For more photos, please see Udruga Mediterra’s Facebook page.

Journeys with Jody Ness & Wine Portfolio: “Croatia Calling” Video Series

 

Wine Portfolio, a Canadian cable-TV series hosted by Toronto-based restaurateur, Jody Ness of Wildfire Steakhouse, just released a series of YouTube videos that were shot during Mr. Ness’s visit to Croatia in May 2011.

The Wine Portfolio TV show celebrates “wine producing regions and places of world class food and wine” and aires on CNBC World TV.  It’s not clear whether these latest videos will be included in a future episode or if they are additional footage and outtakes. These videos include great shots of Croatian scenery and interviews with Croatian winemakers, including Alen Bibich, Bruno Trapan, Ivica Matošević and Oliver Arman.

For your enjoyment and reference, we’ve compiled all five HD videos in the “Croatia Calling” series and embedded them here. We hope you enjoy these journeys with Jody Ness around the wine roads of Croatia!

1) “Croatia Calling”

 

2) “Grape Expectations” (Interview with Alen Bibich)

 

3) “The Grapes of Laugh” (Interview with Bruno Trapan)

 

4) “Time & Place” (Interview with Ivica Matošević)

 

5) “Drink Local” (Interview with Oliver Arman)

Images from the Wine Roads of Croatia #6 – BIBICh

“Palate Paradise”

Tasting room, BIBICh winery, Plastovo, Pirovac-Skradin wine-growing hills, Northern Dalmatia sub-region, Coastal Croatia.

The BIBICh winery tasting room is a “must visit” stop along the wine roads of Croatia. Alen Bibić, proprietor and winemaker, offers customized tasting tours during which guests are treated to perfect pairings of scrumptious local specialties (prepared by Alen’s wife, Vesna, who is a culinary genius) with BIBICh wines especially selected by Alen. It is a magical experience that is highly recommended. In fact, wine blogger Mattie John Bamman, after his recent visit to BIBICh winery, wrote that it was ‘the best culinary experience” of his 5-week press trip.

Also watch for BIBICh winery in the new season of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, scheduled to air in spring 2012. Mr. Bourdain visited Alen a few months ago, indulged in the tasting menu, and reportedly had a blast – some of which (lucky for us!) was captured on camera for the show.  🙂

Wines produced by BIBICh include R7 Riserva (a blend of babić, lasin & plavina); Debit; Debit Lučica; R5 Riserva (a blend of debit, maraština, pošip, pinot gris & chardonnay); G6 Grenache; Sangreal Shiraz; Sangreal Merlot; Harlekin (a blend of syrah, babić, & plavina); and Ambra, a dessert wine made from dried grapes. BIBICh also produces excellent brandies and grappa, extra virgin olive oils, and other local delicacies.

To inquire about visits to BIBICh winery, please contact the winery directly at vinabibich@vip.hr. You can also book a customized tour and tasting through Culinary Croatia.

BIBICh wines are imported to the U.S. by Oenocentric.

Related links:

http://comeforthewine.blogspot.com/2011/10/croatia-series-part-1-bibich.html

http://www.vinologue.net/crush/vina-bibich-the-wines-of-bibich/

 

Images from the Wine Roads of Croatia #5

“Room With a View”

Guest room overlooking vineyards, Bolfan Vinski Vrh winery, Hraščina, Zlatar wine-growing hills, Međimurje – Zagorje sub-region, Continental Croatia.

Photo © Cliff Rames

Grape varieties grown on the winery’s 20 hectares include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Graševina, and Muscat among whites, and Portugieser and Pinot Noir among reds.

The lovely vineyards are situated on south to southeast facing slopes ranging in height from 250 – 380 meters above sea level.

For more information about Bolfan wines and accommodations in the vineyards, please contact the winery directly.