Wines of Croatia News Round-Up for March 4, 2012

In case you missed anything, here is a round-up of the latest links to the news articles, blog posts and videos that highlighted Croatia, its wine or wine culture.

1. Digital Journal: Hvar’s Organic Ivan Dolac Wins Gold

February 21, 2012

More good news for the Croatian wines from the island of Hvar: Svirče Cooperative’s Ivan Dolac wines are awarded two gold medals at the 2012 Mundus Vini Biofach in Germany.

 

 

2. Academic Wino.com: Are Copper Levels in Wine Safe? Case Study: Croatia

February 21, 2012

An assessment on the safety for human consumption of copper levels in Croatian wines.

 

3. Chicago Foodies.com: 2012 Matoševic Alba Malvazija Istarska

February 21, 2012

Chicago Foodies discover a “good, terroir-driven wine with a nice crispness and a respectable 12.8 percent alcohol” from Croatia in the Matoševic Alba Malvasia.

 

4. Bortabra.se: Video of Pula, Poreč and Rovinj in Istria

February 24, 2012

A nicely produced video about Istria by Freberg Production of Stockholm (mostly in Swedish but some English and Croatian). At the 4:12 mark there is a short profile of Kabola winery.

 

5. Wines of Croatia Blog: Journeys with Jody Ness & Wine Portfolio: “Croatia Calling” Video Series

February 24, 2012

A compilation of all five videos in the newly released “Croatia Calling” series by Wine Portfolio.

 

6. Taste of Croatia: Ice Wine Adventure in Zagorje

February 25, 2012

The Taste of Croatia crew brave the ice and snow at Bodren Winery in Zagorje to find out what it takes to harvest grapes for luscious Ice Wine.

 

7. Wines of Croatia Blog: A Report: The Croatian Wine Story Presentation in Imotski

February 26, 2012

Find out which wines were the winners at the February 17, 2012 Croatian Wine Story festival in Imotski, Croatia – hosted by Udruga Mediterra and Grabovac Winery.

 

8. Blind Tasting Club: Croatian Winemakers Take Things Seriously

February 28, 2012

The Blind Tasting Club learn a thing of two from the label of a bottle of Blato 1902 Pošip and expect “to see a lot more good things coming from Croatia…”

 

9. Digital Journal: Strong Hvar Presence at First Croatian Food & Wine Festival

February 28, 2012

A report by Paul Bradbury from the Hvar Wine Association stand at the first Croatian Food and Wine Festival in Zagreb.

 

10. The Graped Crusader: A Selection of Wines from Mountain Valley Wines

A review of three wines from the UK’s Mountain Valley Wines, including the Pelješac Plavac Mali 2010.

 

11. Wines of Croatia Blog: Grapes of Croatia: The Internationals

March 2, 2012

The first part in a new and ongoing series of posts called the “Grapes of Croatia”.

 

P.S. We love to hear from you!

If you have comments or other news to share, please comment on this post or email us at info@winesofcroatia.com

 

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up: 04 Sept – 11 Sept 2011

Compiled by Cliff Rames, 11 Sept. 2011

In case you missed anything, here is a round-up of this week’s links to the news articles, blog posts and videos that highlighted Croatia, its wine or wine culture. This feature will be published every Sunday. Cheers!

1) San Francisco Examiner: Cheap red wines that won’t offend your palate

http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/2011/08/cheap-red-wines-won-t-offend-your-palate

 

2) The Wine Gang: August 2011 Editorial – Croatia, Land of Plenty

http://www.thewinegang.com/reports/detailed/editorial/2011/8

 

 

 3) Vinologue: Review – Matošević Malvazija Alba Barrique 2007

http://www.vinologue.net/crush/matosevic-malvazija-alba-barrique-2007/

 

 

4) Wino Woman: Wine for the American Dream (An Interview with Mike Grgich)

http://www.winowoman.com/wine-for-the-american-dream/


 

 5) The Hedonista: Croatia Part 4 – Pining for Pošip

http://www.thehedonista.com/2011_09_01_archive.html

 

 

6) WHWC By the Glass: Ex-Balkan Wine? Sign Me Up

http://www.whwcblog.com/?p=1103

 

 

7) Early Bird Wine News: Croatian Wine

http://earlybirdwinenews.blogspot.com/2010/06/croatia-different-malvasia.html

P.S. We love to hear from you!

If you have comments or other news to share, please comment on this post or email us at info@winesofcroatia.com

 

Documenting History: The First Wines of Croatia Grand Tasting in NYC

(While this in fairly old news now, for the sake of posterity and future curious minds – and anyone who might have missed it all – here is a recap of the Wines of Croatia Grand Portfolio Tasting event in New York City back in June, along with two videos of the festivities.  It was a great day, one that we hope to repeat next year and on in other locations. Stay tuned – and enjoy this look back in time.)

On June 13, 2011, Wines of Croatia – in partnership with the Association of Winemakers at the Croatian Chamber of Economy (Hrvatska Gospodarska Komora) and the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in New York – held the first-ever Grand Portfolio Tasting of the country’s top wines.

The event, held at Hudson Terrace in New York City, was attended by 120 sommeliers, wine buyers, journalists, bloggers and other trade personnel.

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Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.
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At this historic invitation-only tasting, nearly a dozen producers from Croatia’s leading boutique wineries poured their terroir-specific wines from the continental and coastal regions of Croatia.

Guests of the Grand Tasting were treated to wines produced from an array of indigenous grape varieties, including Malvasia Istriana, Pošip, Teran, Plavac Mali, Graševina, Malvasia of Dubrovnik, Babić, Debit, Crljenak Kaštelanski, and Žlahtina, as well as international varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.

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Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.

Prior to the rooftop walk-around tasting, an educational seminar was conducted by Certified Sommelier and Wines of Croatia founder, Cliff Rames. Guest speakers at the seminar included Joe Campanale, sommelier and co-owner of Anfora Wine Bar in New York City, and winemaker Ivica Matošević.

The seminar, with Cliff Rames (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)
Joe Campanale (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)
Ivica Matosevic (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)
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Here is a really cool video documenting the day’s events:

 

Winemakers in attendance included Boris Drenški of Bodren winery; Bruno Trapan of Trapan winery; Ernest Tolj of Saints Hills winery; Franjo Toljanić of Toljanic winery; Ivica Matošević of Matosevic winery; Ivan and Klemetina Juranić of Nada winery; Katharine Anderson Groethe of Korta Katarina winery; and Mladen Rožanić of Roxanich winery.

Mladen Rozanic (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)
Frano Toljanic (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)
Bruno Trapan (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)
Ernest Tolj (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)
Moreno Degrassi (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)
Boris Drenski (Bodren) (Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.)

Here is the full list of wineries represented at the Grand Tasting: Agrokor vina, Badel 1862, Bibich, Bodren, Bura-Mokalo, Cattunar, Coronica, Degrassi, Enjingi, Grgić, Antun Katunar, Ivan Katunar, Karaman, Katunar, Korta Katarina, Kozlović, Krajančić, Krauthaker, Matošević, Miloš, Nada, Pavlomir, Piližota, Piquentum, PZ Čara, PZ Dingač, PZ Gospoja, PZ Putnikovići, PZ Svirče, PZ Vrbnik, Roxanich, Saints Hills, Šipun, Terzolo, Tomić, Trapan, and Zlatan Otok.

Other exhibitors and special guests included Siniša Škaberna of Degrassi winery; Anthony Ritossa of Ritossa Olive Oil ; and Simon Kerr and Šime Gligora of Sirana Gligora (producer of Paški cheese), and representatives of Blue Danube Wine Company, Dalmata Import, Oenocentric, Tasty Wine Company, Vallis Aurea, and VinumUSA (importers).

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Representatives of the Croatia Chamber of Economy included Davor Komerički, Morana Stinčić, Igor Barbarić, Ivona Grgan, and Božica Marković. Representing the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in New York and joining us as honorary guest was Consul General, Marijan Gubić.

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To salute Croatia’s status as a truffle-producing nation, a noted truffle hunter from Tartufino was also on hand to discuss Croatia’s deep historic connection with truffles from the Istria region.

To showcase the versatility of Croatia’s wines, chefs from Veslo restaurant, Ditch Plains, and Luke’s Lobster prepared fresh delicacies and finger foods.

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Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.
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Here’s a link to one more (less refined) video from StyleMTV with extended play of the day’s action.

And here’s a couple more links to some coverage:

Croatian Chronicle: Wines of Croatia First Ever Grand Portfolio Tasting  

A Winestory: Wines of Croatia First Ever Grand Portfolio Tasting

The Wine Hub: The Croatian Wine Invasion

Beverage Media, August 2011 Issue, Page 72

A HUGE thank you to everyone who joined us on June 13. We look forward to doing it again and sharing more of these wines with you!

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Hanna Lee Communications handled the event management and public relations for the Grand Tasting. A big thank you and BRAVO to Hanna and her team!

Davor Komericki, Marijan Gubic, Hanna Lee, Cliff Rames
Copyright All rights reserved by Hanna Lee Communications, Inc.

Croatia Scores with Feature Story in Wine Enthusiast Magazine

 

For the first-time ever, Croatia finds itself featured in a prominent mainstream U.S. wine magazine.

Wine Enthusiast, one of the leading wine journals in the English language, published three articles in the September 2011 print and online issues, all dedicated to Croatia and its wines, food culture, and appeal as a travel destination.

The September issue, which pronounces Croatia as “An Historic Wine Lovers Paradise” on the cover page, also includes reviews of 16 Croatian wines, as well as hotel, restaurant and winery recommendations by region.

Encompassing seven full-color pages (in the print edition), the lead story by Wine Enthusiast Contributing Editors, Lifestyle & Entertaining, Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen (AKA: World Wine Guys) is entitled “Croatia – In Living Color”.

In the article the Wine Guys detail their “journey from north to south along the Adriatic coast”, which they describe as an “underexplored jewel by the sea” that “offers rich history, splendid scenery and epicurean delights—starting in Istria, and then down the Dalmatian Coast, with its 1,000 islands”.

The online version of the magazine offers two additional articles. The first is written by Desimone and Jenssen and is called “Exploring Croatia”.

The article provides detailed hotel, restaurant and winery recommendations based on Desimone’s and Jenssen’s experience while traveling in Croatia in October 2010, when they spent a week visiting Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb, as well as Istria and Dalmatia on the coast – regions they described as “a wine and food lover’s paradise”.

The online version of Wine Enthusiast contains a third article by Kristin Vuković with the mouth-watering title, “Consuming Croatia” highlighting some of the “gastronomical delights” one can experience in Croatia. Inside you’ll find two scrumptious recipes, one for Palačinke (Croatian crêpes) and one for Grilled Mediterranean Branzino with Blitva (Sea Bass with Chard).

Kristin’s yummy recipes are matched with wine pairing suggestions by Certified Sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia, Cliff Rames.

Wine Enthusiast is a wine magazine, so let us not forget the best part: the wines! The September issue contains scores for 16 Croatian wines in its Buying Guide, including labels from Agrolaguna, Belje, BIBICh, Dingač Winery, Grgić, Iločki Podrumi, Istravino, Korta Katarina, Matošević, and Piližota. All wines were reviewed by Wine Enthusiast Tasting Coordinator, Anna Lee Iijima.

Six of the best-scoring wines are highlighted in the magazine under the headline, “Top Wines of Croatia”. Most notably, two wines were awarded 90-points: Grgić Vina 2009 Pošip and Korta Katarina 2006 Plavac Mali.

 

If you can, we strongly recommend that you pick-up a copy of the September issue and read all about it. Or check it out online (links embedded above). May we also suggest that when you open this historic issue of Wine Enthusiast, you raise your favorite glass of Croatian wine. It is certainly a time to celebrate!

They say that every journey begins with a single step. The publication of these three articles may have been one small step for Wine Enthusiast magazine, but it was a giant leap for the Croatian wine industry.

From this new height the stars on which so many dreams are planted today seem a little closer. To reach them will require much more hard work, a smart and effective marketing strategy, and new investment in people, ideas, tools and material. Beyond the star that is Wine Enthusiast magazine lie many more stars, solar systems and galaxies. Collectively they form the heavens.

Do we have what it takes to get there?

One additional note: We applaud Korta Katarina Winery for having the foresight and business savvy (and resources) to recognize an opportunity. The winery invested some serious cash to purchase a full-page color advertisement in the September issue for its 2010 Rosé. Readers of the magazine – who may feel compelled to seek out a Croatian wine or two – will in the preceding pages notice a very juicy ad for an excellent Croatian Rosé – one that just happens to be available in the U.S. and other export markets.

With that, Korta Katarina became the first Croatian winery to advertise in a mainstream American wine magazine. The bar has been raised; let us strive to leap higher still!

(photos by Cliff Rames)

A “TwitterView” with Cliff Rames of Wines of Croatia

On July 28, 2011, Eatingvine.com conducted an online interview with Wines of Croatia founder and Certified Sommelier, Cliff Rames.

Cliff Rames (photo by Jeff Tureaud)

Eating Vine is a “central online space for people who love to share what they eat and the wines they drink.” The main focus of Eating Vine is recipe sharing and wine pairing. It is the first food and wine website that pairs user recipes with wines in the individual’s price range.

The forum for the online interview was Twitter, which in social media-speak is called a “twitterview”.

For those of you who are new to Twitter, Wikipedia defines a “twitterview” as follows:

“A Twitterview is a combination of the terms Twitter, a popular microblogging platform, and interview. It is a type of interview for which the medium restricts the interviewer and interviewee to short-form responses. Twitter, from which the phrase was derived, limits users to 140 characters. The concise style of this form of interview encourages participants to be more direct with their statements. Unlike traditional interviews, a Twitterview allows the public to join in on the conversation and become participants themselves. It is typically conducted with a reliance on hashtags, marking the subject, so that online browsers may collectively search, view and track the ongoing dialogue.”

The “hashtag” (#) that was utilized for this particular twitterview was #TVwoc.

Here is the “twitterview” as it unfolded live on Twitter on July 28th. Other public participants who joined in are included as well. The questions asked are in BOLD.

In order to make it easier for you to follow along, we reversed the standard Twitter format that begins the tweet with the user name (@name) of the person receiving the tweet. In our reversed format the tweet begins with the speaker’s user name, indicated by the “@” tag.

Enjoy!

@EatingVine: What should American customers expect from Croatian wines?

@WinesofCroatia: They can expect yummy boutique wines of unique character with a distinct sense of place, made from native grapes!

@WinesofCroatia: What are some wines that have been showcased on @Eatingvine?

@EatingVine: Our users enjoy Krauthaker Riesling. We have also seen nice tasting notes Malvasia.

 

@EatingVine: How many different Croatian wines are now being imported to the US?

@WinesofCroatia: Currently there are around 50 labels available on the US market, mainly on east & west coasts & in Chicago.

@EatingVine: Wow! 50!! Thats great! Out of all those wines – what’s your favorite wine? Why?

@WinesofCroatia: Ah! My preferences change w/ my moods, what I’m eating, who I’m with. Wine should b about adventure & discovery!

@lovefoodloveme: Wanna know more about Croatian wines? Check out the sweet interview bt @Eatingvine and @WinesofCroatia #TVwoc

@WinesofCroatia: What encounters w/ Croatian wines has EatingVine had?

@EatingVine: They seem to be everywhere lately! These wines pair very nicely w/ everything from seafood to red meat!

@EatingVine: So Cliff, where can our American followers currently purchase these amazing Croatian wines?

@WinesofCroatia: In NYC, Chicago, LA, SanFran, NJ. @BlueDanubeWine & @VinumUSA offer nice selections & BDW ships.

@WinesofCroatia: In @EatingVine’s view, how do small country producers like Croatia reach mainstream US consumers?

@EatingVine: Add their tasting notes to #EatingVine, w/ a website link, so users can find out where the wines are being sold.

@EatingVine: We get this one all the time from our readers: What’s the difference between a Žlahtina and a Riesling?

@WinesofCroatia: Žlahtina grows on an island in the Adriatic Sea (Krk); Riesling grows on slate slopes in Germany. Deliciously different!

@WinesofCroatia: Žlahtina is a great seafood wine. An island wine! Toljanic, PZ Vrbnik & Katunar are main producers

@WinesofCroatia: How do you know about Žlahtina (“zhlah-tee-na”)?

@EatingVine: We LOOOVE drinkable wines & Žlahtina is a wonderful drinking wine due to its low alcohol percentage. It pairs wonderfully w/ seafood too!

@EatingVine: So Cliff, what are a few Croatian varietals that American consumers might not be aware of?

@WinesofCroatia: Croatia has over 65 native varieties. Crljenak, which we know as Zinfandel; Pošip, Grk, Debit, Babić – & Žlahtina!

@WinesofBalkans: @EatingVine @WinesofCroatia Yes, of course, together with Dobričić grapes 🙂 Cheers! Awesome to see this twitter action!

@WinesofCroatia: Does @EatingVine know the relationship between Plavac Mali & Zinfandel?

@EatingVine: Good question!! Isn’t Zinfandel one of the “father” grapes of Plavac Mali?

@WinesofCroatia: Yes! Zinfandel (Crljenak) cross bred w/ Dobričić (another red grape) and gave birth to Plavac Mali!

@EatingVine: Hooray! We got it right!

 

@EatingVine: Blumenthals #TheFatDuck @HestonFatDuck features a few Croatian wines. Any other top restaurant featuring these wines?

@WinesofCroatia: In NYC: Veslo; @anforanyc; Felidia; Marseille; Regis Royal; Del Posto; 10 Bells – to name a few!

@WinesofCroatia: In Chicago: Sixteen at Trump; Lockwood & Potters Lounge; Peninsula; Purple Pig: & Autre Monde.

@WinesofCroatia: In LA & SanFran: A.O.C.; Bar Tartine; Pourtal Wine Bar; Mignon; Bistro SF Grill. @bluedanubewine.

@BlueDanubeWine: We’re very happy to be bi-coastal: Milos Plavac just landed @TerroirNY & @ACoteRestaurant in CA. This is a traditionally made Plavac.

@BlueDanubeWine: There are a few other restos in CA featuring Croatian wine: @LavandaFoodWine in Palo Alto has a full list.

@BlueDanubeWine: Not to forget @LouWineBar in LA. Lou is tops when it comes to taste leadership & flavor exploration. We’ve many Croatian wines there.

@WinesofCroatia: @BlueDanubeWine THX U to @louwinebar for your support . #sharingthelove

Grasevina (photo courtesy of Kazalic winery)

@EatingVine: Out of all these beautiful wines, what are some of the most popular Croatian varietals?

@WinesofCroatia: In terms of plantings, the Top 3 are: Graševina (white), Malvasia Istriana (white), and Plavac Mali (red).

@WinesofCroatia: Other favorites include Pošip (white), Babić (red), Teran (red), Debit (white), Grk (white), & Malvasia of Dubrovnik.

@EatingVine: OOhhh I hear Babic’s are lovely! So excited to try some!!

Babic (photo by Cliff Rames)

@WinesofCroatia: What kind of wines do you feature on @Eatingvine?

@EatingVine: Our users have added tasting notes for Grasevina, Malvasia and Riesling and growing!

@EatingVine: We have over 23,000 wines to choose from & users add wines that we don’t already have in the database.

@WinesofCroatia: Cool! We’ll have to work on getting more Croatian wine in your database!

@EatingVine: We would love to have ALL the Croatian wines in our database. Can’t wait!

 

@EatingVine: Who are some of the main producers to look for in stores? What price points to expect?

@WinesofCroatia: BIBICh, Bura, Clai, Coronica, PZ Dingač, Enjingi, Kozlović, Matosević, Saints Hills, Toljanić, Tomić. $14-$65.

@WinesofCroatia: Just want to add that the new issue (Sept) of @wineenthusiast magazine has an article about Croatian wines!

Wine Enthusiast magazine, September 2011 "Croatia - An Historic Wine Lovers Paradise" (photo by Cliff Rames)

@EatingVine: Well Cliff, I know u have to jet so we’ll sadly have to end this great Twitterview, lets do it again soon. So much to learn!

@WinesofCroatia: THANK YOU @EatingVine for this opportunity to #sharethelove for Croatian wines. Let’s do #TVwoc again sometime! 🙂

@WinesofCroatia: if anyone else has questions, please post w/ #TVwoc hashtag. We will answer throughout the evening!

#SharingtheLove at the 2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference

by Cliff Rames

Two weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of attending – for the first time – the 2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference (#wbc11), which was held July 22-24 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Going mobile! Charlottesville Bound!

Coming along for the ride in the hope of finding love was a tote full of Croatian wines, some of which were samples kindly provided by importers (Blue Danube Wine Company, Vinum USA, and Oenocentric), and others from my personal collection. My hope was to share them at some point with my fellow bloggers and winos – or anyone else who wanted to learn about and taste them.

But where? When? I was just a conference attendee, not a sponsor or part of the official program, upon which I consciously did not want to intrude.

To make a long story short, on the last afternoon of the conference (Saturday) Fred Dexheimer MS and I hatched the idea to invite folks up to his room after the evening’s program of activities concluded for an “unofficial” Croatian wine tasting – or as it came to be known, the #afterafterparty.

At 3:45 pm the first tweet went out: “#wbc11 peeps – come join us tonight! Pouring Croatian wines with @FredDexMS…room 606 after 10. The Plavac calls! BYG.”

Then at 8:09 pm: “Native grape jamboree: Plavac! Crljenak! Malvasia Istriana! Posip! Babic! Teran. #Croatiacrawl tonight! After 10, rm 606. #wbc11”. Followed by: “The Donkey calls! Plavac Mali & friends! ##WBC11 peeps come say hi: rm 606 after 10. #Croatiacrawl”.

The rest we left to the mysterious ripples of Twitter and the magic of social networking….

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who heard the Donkey call, retweeted my tweets, spread the word, and showed-up for our little impromptu tasting. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect so many people. Room 606 was bursting at the seams! And the Croatian wine – as Fred tweeted at 11:09pm – “flowed like water”!

the Dingac Donkey

Unfortunately, my small allotment of bottles was quickly consumed by many a curious blogger. But not before I had the chance to meet some very special people, folks of all ages who appreciate wines that are perhaps a little different, a bit tongue-twisting to pronounce, sometimes a little funky, but always authentic and interesting.

An extra special thanks to Richard Jennings, who made a valiant effort (despite the growing crush of a crowd) to listen to my descriptions of each wine and record notes. You can read his excellent blog post about the #wbc11 conference HERE, which included these very sweet words: “I did see a Twitter invite, however, for a Croatian wine tasting happening upstairs in someone’s room, from Cliff Rames, who has retweeted my few blog posts about Croatian wines (attracting large numbers of viewers to those posts), so I decided to check that out before heading back to my hotel. I’m glad I did. I got to meet Cliff…and tasted there several of the most interesting wines I tried all weekend.”

Cliff and Richard (photo by Fred Dexheimer)

A special thanks also to Eric Asimov, Chief Wine Critic for the New York Times, who also stopped by and asked me to choose just two wines for him to taste. As it happened, at that moment I was pouring the Krajančić 2009 Pošip Intrada and Korta Katarina 2006 Plavac Mali, which were fine choices in any event.

As any true professional would, Mr. Asimov quietly tasted the two selections, politely thanked me, then wandered off to enjoy the company and energy of the Room 606 crowd.

Eric Asimov @ #wbc11 (photo by Cliff Rames)

OMG! He showed up! Perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps out of boredom, perhaps out of genuine interest….Only Eric knows. But let us hope that one day he wanders over again to taste a bit more and – just maybe – that important day will arrive when Croatian wines appear in The New York Times Wednesday wine column.

For those of you who came out to Room 606 that evening, and for those of you curious about the wines, here is the list of what was served:

Cliff & the Krajančić (photo courtesy of Richard Jennings)

1. Krajančić 2009 Pošip “Intrada” – Korčula island, Southern Dalmatia

2. Degrassi 2009 Malvasia Istriana “Selection” – Istria

3. Karaman 2008 Malvasia of Dubrovnik – Dubrovnik, Southern Dalmatia

4. Enjingi 2009 Graševina – Slavonia

5. Vinarija Dingač 2009 Plavac Mali “Pelješac” – Pelješac, Southern Dalmatia

6. Pilizota 2009 Babić – Šibenik, Northern Dalmatia

7. Piquentum 2008 Teran – Istria

8. Korta Katarina 2008 Plavac Mali – Pelješac, Southern Dalmatia

9. Zlatan Otok 2008 Crljenak Kaštelanski – Makarska, Southern Dalmatia (corked; removed from line-up)

10. Saints Hills 2008 Plavac Mali Dingač, Sv. Lucia Vineyard – Pelješac, Southern Dalmatia

Korta Katarina Plavac (photo courtesy of winery)

There may have been a few others, but at some point during the crush of the evening I lost track of the bottles and surrendered any illusion of a systematic tasting. As a dear experienced drinking friend of mine often says, “One tastes like two, two tastes like three, and after three, it’s away all boats.”

And so it was. Until around 1 am – when a nice security officer from the hotel asked us to move to the hotel lobby or break it up. We were too much for Room 606 and apparently for its neighbors too….

All-in-all, it was a wonderful conference – the highlight of which was (for me) the #afterafterparty in Room 606, where for just a little while Croatian wines were the center of attention, making new friends and (hopefully) a few happy memories for those of you who were so kind to come. Thank you again!

Outside Room 606 at the Omni

One last thanks goes to Fred Dexheimer MS, who is always a source of inspiration. I never cease to be amazed by the man’s energy. It was Fred who was the occupant of the now legendary Room 606 in the Omni Hotel, Charlottesville, and who generously offered the place for the first-ever (albeit unofficial) #croatiacrawl at #wbc11.

Thank you, Fred, for your ongoing support and encouragement. You rock, dude!

If anyone is interested in writing about Croatian wines for your blog, please feel free to contact me at crames@winesofcroatia.com.

“Živjeli!” (“Cheers!”, in Croatian). I hope to see you all again at next year’s conference in Portland, Oregon. #wbc12 – the best is yet to come!

Richard Bampfield MW: Croatian Wines “Hold Their Own”

On May 10, 2011, Richard Bampfield became the first Master of Wine (MW) to visit Croatia to expressively taste and review its wines.

Richard Bampfield, MW

While in Croatia, Mr. Bampfield hosted an exclusive Master Class at the Hotel Bastion in Zadar. The event, sponsored by Yacht Gourmet Croatia, was designed to introduce guests to the U.K wine market while assessing the quality and potential of Croatian wines as an export product and tourist offering (particularly for the yachting community on Croatia’s Adriatic Sea).

Photo courtesy of Yacht Gourmet Croatia

Attending the Master Class were 25 winemakers from Croatia, including Alen Bibich, Andro Tomić, Ivica Matošević, and Mladen Rožanić. Other guests included yacht crews, representatives of luxury villas and rental agencies, and Croatian journalist Rene Bakalović (who published this article in Croatia’s largest daily newspaper, Jutarnji List).


After the Master Class and tasting, Mr. Bampfield noted that many of the Croatian wines he tasted would “hold their own” against similar wines produced elsewhere in the world.

“Croatian wines have the advantage of history, which is a good thing”, Bampfield said in a statement to Croatian TV. “Croatian wines are unique and unlike anything you can find elsewhere. But this has a negative side, too. If people cannot find the wines, then they cannot get to know them. I think the U.K. market is ready for Croatian wines. But Croatia must be smart about its promotion and placement of the wines.”

Photo courtesy of Yacht Gourmet Croatia

Alessia Cortesi, owner of Yacht Gourmet Croatia, said that the event was very interesting for the Croatian winemakers, and very important for Croatian wines. One of Yacht Gourmet Croatia’s goals is to promote Croatian wines among wine buyers in the nautical market and demonstrate that Croatian wines are an authentic product that can compete on the same level with many French or Italian wines.

“This event was an excellent step forward for Croatian wines. Master of Wine Bampfield confirmed that the wines are top quality and have potential on the international market. He discovered many of Croatia’s native grapes, some of which he would not otherwise be able to taste abroad”, added Cortesi.

Photo courtesy of Yacht Gourmet Croatia

Wines of Croatia was graciously and generously granted exclusive permission to publish Mr. Bampfield’s tasting notes, which follow below for your enjoyment. Cheers!

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Tasting Notes by Richard Bampfield, MW

WHITE WINES

Badel 1862 Sauvignon Blanc, Daruvar  2009
Sweaty Sauvignon, very French, restrained, classy. Pleasing sweetness on palate, real depth of flavour. Dry and refreshing, the residual sugar undoubtedly enhances the character and flavour. Delicious.

Bibich 2009 Debit
Distinctive aromas, green apple, perhaps gooseberry too. Good fruit, pear-like texture, almost like a sherry. Fresh, dry, appetising, enjoyable and easy drinking.

Bibich 2008 Debit Lučica Riserva
Gold.  Oaky, old-fashioned.  Flat entry on palate, does not have the freshness to support the oak flavours. Oxidative and seems dated in style.  Certainly sherry-like.

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Boškinac 2009 Grand Cuvee
Golden colour. Alcohol highly evident and lacks freshness of most. Heavy and a bit clumsy.

Degrassi 2010 Malvazija Istarska Bomarchese
Gently unoaked, reminiscent of good, unoaked Chardonnay. Very clean, fresh, mineral notes, persistent although flavours are restrained. Quite neutral on finish, but very fine.

Degrassi 2009 Terre Bianche Cuvee Blanc
Very fresh smelling, modern, expressive. Fresh and persistent, good acidity.  Pleasing lightness of touch, very easy to drink, quite international in style.

Figurica 2009 Kulica Coupage
Fresh, apple and nut aromas. Well made, relatively simple, but natural, dry and easy to drink, especially with food.

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Korta Katarina 2009 Pošip
Fresh, pears and nuts. Evident cool ferment characters, but well done. Dry, fresh, lovely fruit. Fine, light touch to the oak, natural and appetising.

Kozlović 2010 Malvazija
Clean, light, scented. Light on palate, gently perfumed, good texture. Bright, young and appetising.

Kozlović 2008 Santa Lucia Malvazija
Golden colour. Toasty aromas, orange peel, marmalade.  Nice texture and flavour, not dissimilar to traditional semillon-based Graves. Dry, characterful, may not appeal to all.

Matošević 2008 Alba Barrique (Malvazija Istarska)
Sweet oak on nose which tends to dominate. No question that the oak is sweetly flavoured and enhances the flavour of the wine……..but it hides the grape flavour in my view.

Matošević 2008 Alba Robinia (Malvazija Istarska, aged in acacia wood)
Honey, roasted nuts, less overtly oaky than the French oak. Lovely sweetness on palate, good texture, fresh acidity. Exciting wine, finishing brisk, dry and flavoursome.

Matošević 2009 Grimalda Bijelo
Intriguing mix of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Malvazija. Actually really interesting, with a distinctive and pleasing Sauvignon lift to the aromatics. Fine and complete on the palate, harmonious and fresh. Well judged oak, delicious.

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Roxanich 2007 Malvazija Antica
Deep gold. Very perfumed, complex – notes of yeast, marmite, thick cut marmalade, fernet branca. Dry, textured, good acidity, long flavours, evident amontillado sherry character. Touch of alcoholic warmth on finish, very fine.

Saints Hills 2009 Nevina
Aromas not too oaky, note of pepper. Higher in alcohol than most and seems heavy.  Appears to have sacrificed flavour for alcohol. But interesting blend of an international variety (Chardonnay) with a local grape (Malvasia Istriana).

Tomac (2007?) Anfora
Deep, orange gold. Complex aromas of poached pears, toast, creme brulee – note of acetate. Somehow smells of ice cream. Dry, assured, pleasing orange-peel tanginess. Surprisingly, not that oxidative. Very persistent, very natural, very good.

Trapan 2010 Malvazija Istarska Ponente
Gently perfumed, touch phenolic, hint of marshmallow. Fine, dry, touch mineral, bit heavier than the others, but the overall sensation of lightness is still very pleasing.

Trapan 2009 Uroboros (Malvazija)
Honey, nuts, creamy. Rich, oxidative notes, but not overtly oaky. Good acidity and very clean finish. Lasts well, fine food wine.

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ROSE WINES

Korta Katarina 2010 Rosé (Plavac Mali)
Subtle, vinous, really smells winey, even of white wine. Lovely flavours, not like any other rose I have tasted, note of pepper, which reinforces the sensation of great freshness. Very good.

Roxanich 2008 Rosé
Mature orange. Stewed strawberries, marmite, almost smells of Rivesaltes, definitely some very attractive grapey notes. Dry, very Burgundian, somewhat surprisingly it tastes of mature red Burgundy! Intense flavour, fresh, dry, persistent. Interesting.

Saints Hills 2010 St. Heels Rosé
High alcohol, dry, but lacking a core of flavour. A bit heavy-handed and lacks the pure drinkability and freshness of a rose.

Tomac Pjenušac Rosé (sparkling)
Pale, red tinge.  Excellent, fruit aromas, very bright.  Dry, fresh, beautifully balanced, long and elegant.  Extremely classy glass of sparkling rose.

Trapan 2010 Rubi Rosé (Cuvee)
Deepish colour, pale red. Touch confected, smells familiar, almost Australian, may be the Syrah component. Plenty of flavour, vinous, tastes off-dry (but is apparently dry). Good, bold style that retains good freshness.

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RED WINES

Badel 1862 Korlat Syrah 2007
Fabulous aromas; pepper, ginger, spice; reminiscent of young Grange. Sweeter style of Syrah; intense, ripe, mellow tannins, spicy, savoury and hedonistic. Very generous; lovely current drinking.

Badel 1862 Plavac Mediterano 2008
Meaty aromas, note of liver, notes of green pepper, reminiscent of certain St Emilion.  Fresh, fruity, Merlot character persists, but with more overt freshness. Good – and genuinely tastes Mediterranean!

Bibich 2008 Riserva R6
Mature-looking. Warming, pleasing aromas, some of the sweetness of aroma of a Tawny Port. Sweetly fruited, mature but not cedary. Dry and slightly bitter on the finish, comes across as faintly Italian in style on the palate.

Bibich 2008 Bas de Bas
Very deep colour. Lifted, perfumed, strong new oak. Sweet, expressive but not overripe Syrah; very fine. Really intense on the palate, well judged oak, beautifully balanced by an overall sensation of freshness. Seductive, not over-extracted. Well done!

Boškinac 2007
Rich, oaky; perhaps a note of volatility. Bold, high alcohol, big wine. Better suited to the US than the UK.

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Degrassi 2007 Merlot Contarini
Really good Merlot aromas, note of meatiness. Good sweetness of fruit and a fine, fruit-forward, appetising appeal that seems to characterise the Degrassi style.  Fresh, pure and early-maturing, excellent restaurant wine.

Degrassi 2005 Refosk Terre Rosse
Creamy, spicy, but seems to be tiring. High acidity, bitter cherry characters, very Italian. Very long and very fresh for its age. Definitely interesting but seems better suited to Italian market than British one.

Degrassi 2007 Terre Bianche Cuvee Rouge
Deep, youthful. Very fresh, bright Cabernet aromas. Refreshing, peppery edge to the fruit; juicy, flavoursome; tastes just off-dry. Really enjoyable and the sweetness of fruit is balanced by the pepper character.

Figurica 2009 Cuvee Figurina
Fresh, unusual aromas – a mix of raspberry fruit and gamey characters. Juicy, fresh and flavoursome, apparently with a touch of sweetness. Light, appetising and easy drinking.

Korta Katarina 2007 Plavac Mali
Mature looking. Stewed aromas, alcoholic, big wine, could easily have been made in Australia. Touch of volatility? Reminiscent of Chateau Musar; not a style that would be mainstream in the UK.

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Roxanich 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep, starting to mature. Really classy; pencil-lead cabernet aromas, a sort of restrained Penfold’s Bin 707. Very pure, ripe cassis character; assured, long, tobacco edge, moderate tannins. Great freshness; top class.

Roxanich 2007 Superistrian
Intriguing aromas that remind me of butter, cream and coconut……..but it is not oaked! Fruit comes through well on the palate but not yet as complex as it could be.  The firm tannins and grip suggest this will still improve for a few years.

Roxanich 2006 TeranRe
Intriguing aromas, seems to show the meatiness of Merlot but also the rawer meat characters of Syrah; touch of reduction (in a positive way). Very fresh acidity, great flavour; firm but balanced tannins. Tastes like a really classy Pays Catalan.  Magnificent.

Tomić 2007 Plavac Mali Reserve
Perfumed, classy – clear oak, but also some lifted fruit and floral characters. Really nicely made, good oak, fine overall balance and intensity of flavour. Warming, but not alcoholic.

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SWEET WINES

Bibich Ambra NV (Debit)
Pale to medium, yellow-brown. Unusual aromas, notes of dried grapes like PX, but also reminiscent of the must aromas of Pineau de Charentes. Compelling on the palate though, great grip and length. Sweet, well done.

Bodren 2008 Chardonnay Ice Wine (Ledeno Vino)
Not as sweet as the Riesling, but still very sweet. Beautifully made and balanced, very complete…….but I cannot help thinking that the relative lack of aroma and character betray the fact that Chardonnay lacks the intensity of flavour to make the best dessert wines.

Bodren 2008 Pinot Blanc Ice Wine
Fresh, pears, stone fruits. Very sweet, good texture and beautiful balance. Really good, with a fresh, peppery finish.

Bodren 2009 Rajnski Rizling Izborna Berba Prosušenih Bobica (TBA)
Very fine, baked apple aromas, lifted, pure, fine Riesling. Very, very sweet, almost liquorous, like apple puree. But well balanced acidity, hugely impressive.

Degrassi 2009 Muškat Bijeli San Pellegrin
Lightly grapey, also a touch soapy. Sweet, some CO2 for freshness, well balanced, but lacking a bit in real grape flavour and verve.

Kozlović 2009 Muškat Momjanski (semi-sweet)
Excellent aromas, reminscent of Muscat blanc a petits grains. Sweet, grapey, floral and bright. Fresh, flavoursome, lovely balance. Not that complex but beautifully done.

Tomić 2006 Prošek Hectorovich
Perfumed and soapy, notes of grapes and orange. Sweet, well balanced acidity, gripping and very fresh. Very good, really zingy – hard to describe the flavours, but it certainly works!

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