Lonely No More: Wines of Croatia Featured in New Travel Guide

With the 2013 summer travel season well underway, we thought we would take a moment to remind folks that the 7th edition of the Lonely Planet – Croatia guide book is now available and is packed with many new features, including a special section dedicated to Croatian wines written by sommelier and Wines of Croatia founder, Cliff Rames.


The 300+ page Lonely Planet “survival guide” has been completely reviewed and updated with the latest insider advice, tips, reviews, maps and other useful information about best places to visit, stay, eat and drink across Croatia.  


In an effort to present the most interesting and intriguing information, the authors of Lonely Planet – Croatia “have hunted down the fresh, the transformed, the hot and the happening” – including extensive coverage of the food and wine scene in Croatia, or what the authors refer to as “foodie-friendly Croatia”.

In that spirit Lonely Planet becomes the first mainstream travel guide to include comprehensive information about the wines of Croatia, as well as region-by-region advice on wineries to visit and recommendations for vino to sample.

Croatian wines get full treatment on page 303, and Slavonia receives a special shout-out on page 85. All together, over 25 wineries are mentioned, along with a number of recommended wines for each and contact information.

If you are looking for a single-source for awesome reviews of places to visit, stay or eat in Croatia, then pick up a copy of Lonely Planet – Croatia and sip on all its juicy information. Even if you are not planning to travel to Croatia just yet, reading this book will make you want to book your reservations – and winery visits – even sooner.  🙂



Two Croatian Wine Stories Published in New Book

“In a recent column in Wine Spectator magazine, Matt Kramer mentioned a fabulous quote from the novelist Henry James: ‘There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition’. This story captures the taste of surprise perfectly.”

Dakovo cathedral

So begins the enlightening tale of drinking Ðakovačka Biskupija 1987 Trnavački Traminac Arhivsko Misno Vino, as recounted by sommelier and founder of Wines of Croatia, Cliff Rames, in the new book “Every Wine Tells a Story”.

Every Wine Tells a Story is a compilation of 39 stories – including two about Croatian wines – written by a number of notable international wine professionals and experts, including Steven Spurrier of Decanter Magazine; Joe Roberts, aka 1 Wine Dude; and Paul Kienan of Grapes of Sloth. The 131-page book was published in November 2011 and was edited by Tara Devon O’Leary, aka the Wine Passionista.

To check out the full list of contributors, click HERE.

Another passionate voice among Croatian wine lovers who contributed the second story in the book is Judith Burns, wine importer and founding partner of Pacta Connect, a U.K.-based import company specializing in Croatian wines. Her story celebrates her experience tasting Clai 2009 Brombonero, a 100% Refošk wine from the Istria region of Croatia that Judith refers to as the “Johnny Depp” of wines and a “truly special” offering.

Giorgio Clai

“In every wine-growing country there is usually one producer whose ‘hallowed’ name you hear above all. In Croatia, that producer is Giorgio Clai,” writes Judith.

To read the rest of Judith’s and Cliff’s Croatian wine stories, as well as the other 37 interesting and touching wine tales, please follow this LINK to purchase your copy of this keepsake book.

And to tease you a little further, check out this promo video for the book. Happy reading!

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up for January 8, 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. Europe Up Close: Daytripping Dubrovnik’s Islands & Beaches

December 19, 2011

After hiking and bathing comes an evening of freshly-caught Adriatic fish, delicious delicacies, liters of local wine, live music, and lots of singing (and maybe even a little romance) for visitors to Croatia’s southern Adriatic coast.



2. Come for the Wine: Croatia Part 6- Istria, Truffles, Olive Oil, Wine

December 19, 2011

The latest Croatia installment in Marcy Gordon’s travel blog in which she discovers the treasures of Istria: truffles, olive oil, prosciutto & wine. And in which we hear that in Croatia, “It’s not just a wine, it’s a lifestyle.”



3. Wines of Croatia Blog: Ensemble Vacations Magazine Calls the Wines of Croatia “Worldly Delights”

December 21, 2011

Croatia wines receive recognition in Ensemble Vacations Magazine.



4. Blue Danube Wine Blog: Shucking Plavac

December 21, 2011

Breaking molds, defying convention, shucking old assumptions, and moving barriers: Croatian red wine with oysters? When it comes to Miloš Plavac Mali, the answer is yes!



5. BK Wine: 11 Wine Regions to Discover in 2012

December 21, 2011

BK Wine Magazine names Istria as one of its “11 wine regions to discover in 2012”.  


6. Europe Up Close: Eating the Adriatic

December 23, 2011

Europe Up Close concludes their visit to Croatia with a culinary journey through Zagreb, in which they discover Dolac Market, Portugizac young wine, “domaci cvarci”, the Museum of Broken Relationships, “strukli”, Klub Gastronomadi, and that Slavonian oak is from Croatia, not Slovenia.



7. Brava Wine: Wine 6 on the Sixth Day of Croatian Vino

December 26, 2011

An American sommelier living in Zagreb reviews Kutjevo Graševina 2009.



8. Secret Dalmatia: Christmas in Dalmatia

December 27, 2011

 Another beautiful report from Secret Dalmatia, where the writer enjoys Korlat Merlot, one  in an exciting (and award-winning) new lineup of wines from Vinarija Benkovac near Zadar.


9. PB Pulse – the Swirlies: The Swirl Girls Picks of the Year

December 27, 2011

The Swirl Girls published their “Picks of the Year” for 2011 (Hint: One is a Croatian wine!)

10. Wine Chap: Round-up-of Top Wines of 2011

December 27, 2011

“Any wine that can be quite so compelling after 48-hrs with no sleep…must be special”. Read on to find out which Croatian wine made Wine Chap’s list of “Top Wines of 2011”.



11. On the Road with Grape Guy: Report from Croatian Wine Dinner at Wildfire – November 3, 2011

December 30, 2011

Michael Pinkus, aka “ Grape Guy” – discovers the wines of Matosevic and Trapan at a Chicago “Meet the Winemakers” event.


12. Wines of Croatia Blog: A Happy New Year 2012 Message

December 31, 2011

Wines of Croatia founder Cliff Rames offers a New Year Wish and some thoughts for 2012.



13. Bloomberg News: Ancient Croatian Grapes Revive Wineries in Home of Zinfandel

January 3, 2012

Bloomberg News suggests Croatian wines as an alternative to Bordeaux and California cabs and highlights Matosevic Malvasia Istriana, Saints Hills Dingac, and Trapan Syrah as excellent choices.


14. The Economist: Dalmatia’s Troubled Waters?

January 3, 2012

The Economist’s “More Intelligent Life” magazine examines the impact on Croatia’s seafood culture as a result of pending European Union integration.



15. Digital Journal: Improving Croatian Wines to Bring New Dimension with EU Entry

January 3, 2012

Paul Bradbury reflects on the “exciting new options” Croatian wines bring to the European market.


16. National Post: John Szabo’s Vintages – Preview for January 7, 2012

January 3, 2012

Master Sommelier John Szabo puts Croatian wines on his discover radar for 2012.


 17. Wines of Croatia Blog: Annual Report – 2011 in Review

January 4, 2012

Statistics and other 2011 site data for the Wines of Croatia blog.


18. Wine Compass: Winechat Transcript Discussing Eastern European Wines

January 5, 2012

Transcript from January 4th’s Twitter #winechat that featured wines from Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia.


19. Blue Danube Wine Blog: Terzolo

January 6, 2012

“Soil so red it stains your hands, a native red variety with off the charts acidity, and a family dedicated to tradition with an eye for innovation”….Meet the Terzolo family of Istria and their delicious flagship wine, Teran.


20. Taste of Croatia: Korak Wines – Keepers of Plešivica Tradition

January 7, 2012

The crew from Taste of Croatia profile Korak winery in the Plešivica Hills of Croatia.


21. Wines of Croatia Blog: Hills Like Sleeping Dreams – Bucavac Vineyard, Croatia

January 7, 2012

Cliff Rames of Wines of Croatia takes us on a journey through the hills of Bucavac vineyard, home to Babić, Damatia’s second most important native red grape.


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 Blog Annual Report: 2011 in Review

Dear readers,

First, we begin 2012 with an fresh, clean new blog design. I hope you like it!

Also, I just wanted to thank everyone who visited the blog, commented, and shared our posts in 2011.  You guys rock!

In case you were wondering, we had over 42,000 views in 2011 – an average of 116 per day, and almost 70,000 (and growing) visits since our first post on December 21, 2009. Not sure how that stacks up in the BIG blog world, but I think it is pretty awesome! So THANK YOU again. And please help us to make 2012 an even better year by contributing ideas for the blog, commenting, and sharing our posts far and wide.

In the meantime, check out the full annual report courtesy of the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys. And enjoy the new blog design – and content – in 2012!

All the best,


Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up: December 18, 2011


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



1. Wine Enthusiast Magazine: Best of the Year 2011

December 1, 2011 (retroactively included)

Wine Enthusiast magazine includes Croatia on its list of the “Best of Year 2011” under the 2011 Highlights in Travel, noting Croatia’s “rich winemaking traditions”.


 2. Pacta Connect: Two Gems Visit Two Gems of Istria

December 6, 2011 (retroactively included)

U.K. wine bloggers Denise Medrano and Niamh Shields discover the wines and food of Istria. 


 3. By the Tun: How to Read Croatian Wine Labels

December 13, 2011

Is that the name of the region? The grape? The producer? The protected geographical area? @ravenoustravelr gives us a brief lesson on the quirks of Croatian wine labels. 


 4. Meininger’s Wine Business International: Croatia Makes Headway

December 13, 2011

In-depth regional analysis of Croatia and its wine by Darrel Joseph in Meininger’s Wine Business International (via the Blue Danube Wine Company blog).



5. Total Hvar: Hvar Wine from a Hvar Character, Andro Tomic

December 14, 2011

Profile of Hvar winemaker and “Bon Viveur” Andro Tomic.


 6. Jancis Robinson: Croatia – Land of Opportunity

December 14, 2011

World renowned wine writer and expert, Jancis Robinson, calls Croatia the “land of opportunity”. (Note: you must be a Purple pages subscriber to access the full text).

7. Brava Wine Blog: Wine 3 – On the Third Day of Croatian Vino

December 14, 2011

An introduction to the newest wine from Roxanich, 2008 Ines u Bijelom – a skin macerated field blend of Istrian-grown white grapes.


8. Taste of Croatia: Best of Croatian Wines Under 60 KN

December 15, 2011

A few suggestions from the Taste of Croatia team for budget-friendly Croatian wines to try this Christmas with family & friends.


 9. Wines of Croatia Blog: A Very Donkey Christmas – Vinarija Dingac 2005 Postup

December 17, 2011

Sharing a little holiday cheer, inspired by our friend the Donkey.



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


A Very Donkey Christmas: Vinarija Dingač 2005 Postup


Okay – just a quick post to share some happiness and holiday cheer. A couple nights ago I brought a bottle of the Vinarija Dingač 2005 Postup to the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at the Plaza staff holiday party. The wine, made from the Plavac Mali grape, was well loved by my colleagues who tried it. Mind you, this is a group that is accustomed to being around and drinking Grand Cru Bordeaux. Said one colleague, “I’m surprised by how smooth it is. It’s really delicious.”

(photo courtesy of Blue Danube Wine Co.)

Yes, the wine showed really well. Elegant and poised yet intensely aromatic on the nose. The light, translucent garnet color betraying its bold notes of dried fig, dusty dried cherry, black olive, iodine, wet limestone, and hint of black truffle. Oh yeah – and that alluring yet all-too-familiar hint of barnyard (our Dalmatian friend, Brett), faint but distinct, adding just the right amount of Old World charm.

At 6 years old, the fruit remained intact, the tannins softened, the wine “so smooth” that it simply slipped too easily down the gullet, leaving a medium, cocoa dust, dried fig and cherry, and seaside mineral finish.

As often is the case with the Donkey and similar Dalmatian wines, this style evokes in my mind images of dining at one of the many open air cafes and restaurants along the Adriatic Sea on Croatia’s Dalmatian coastline. On the table: local prosciutto and cheeses, olives, grilled Adriatic squid, seafood risotto, stewed chard, fresh tomato salad, and crusty bread….

In the background, a troupe of local “Klapa” singers sing songs of the sea, olive picking, lost love, and the beauties of Dalmatia. In the sky, the powdery white path of the Milky Way stretches across the heavens with a vibrancy unknown to many city-dwellers. The air is scented with sea salt, fig leaf, wild herbs, and wood-fires that roast fish to perfection. All is perfect, especially when the wine – made from Plavac Mali or other indigenous grapes – goes down as easy as this Postup.

(BTW: Postup is the name of the geographically-protected area on the Peljesac peninsula where the Plavac Mali grapes were grown. More on that at another time.)

Postup appellation on the Peljesac peninsula (in red)

Too bad then that the Vinarija Dingač 2005 Postup wine is SOLD OUT on the U.S. market. Justifiably so, it seems. Like real donkeys in Dalmatia, this donkey wine is a rare beast: only limited quantities are imported to the U.S.

But fear not, a new batch of Vinarija Dingač wines are on the way and should be available from Blue Danube Wine Company very soon. But if you really need a Plavac Mali wine for your holiday table, other options are available: according to its website, Blue Danube still has limited quantities of Dingač Vinarija 2006 Dingač, Bura-Mrgudić 2007 Dingač, Bura-Mrgudić 2007 Postup, PZ Svirče 2006 Ivan Dolac, Miloš Plavac, Miloš Stagnum, Zlatan Plenković Zlatan Plavac 2007 Barrique or 2007 Grand Cru, and Saints Hills Dingač. Please check with Blue Danube regarding holiday shipping possibilities and times!

In the spirit of the faithful Donkey, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and wondrous holiday season, with many warm memories and exciting dreams inspired by a perfect glass of wine.

To help you get in the spirit, enjoy this video (below) called BOŽIĆ NA MORU (Christmas on the Sea).


-Cliff Rames

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up: December 11, 2011

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

1. Wines of Croatia Blog: Cliff Rames – The Champion of Croatian Wines

November 30, 2011

An in-depth interview with Wines of Croatia founder, Cliff Rames, in “Croatia – A Fortnight in Review”. 



2. Soapbox: The Newest Wine We Are Crazy About

November 30, 2011

Soapbox, “a digital magazine written by chefs” names Pilizota Babić as its “NEWEST WINE WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT”.


3. Come for the Wine: Pilgrimage to Pag – Land of Paski Sir

November 30, 2011

Wine, food and travel blogger Marcy Gordon visits the island of Pag, “one of the most rugged and beaten down places” she’s ever visited.



4. Croatia Exclusive: Two Medals for Krauthaker Wines

December 2, 2011

Krauthaker winery wins two medals at the international Merlot competition “Mondial du Merlot” in Lugano, Switzerland.



5. Wines of Croatia Blog: Croatian Wine Story DVD Now Available in North America

December 5, 2011

Looking for that perfect holiday gift for your favorite Croatian wine lover (or yourself)? A new, beautifully-filmed DVD from the wine roads of Croatia is now available.



6. By the Tun: Talking Croatian Wine with Dolores Milicic

December 6, 2011

Talking Dingac, Croatian Wine, Donkeys, and Why Tasting Fees Shouldn’t Exist.


7.  Wine Enthusiast: Buying Guide – Croatian Wines

December 7, 2011

Croatian wines reviewed and rated in the new edition of the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide!

8. Blue Danube Wine Blog: Our Top 5 Wines in 2011

December 7, 2011

U.S. importer, Blue Danube Wine Company, compiled a list of its 5 Top selling wines of 2011. Find out here what they are and how many are from Croatia!

9. Manjada: An Unusual Teran from Butoniga Lake Terroir

December 7, 2011

Gogo reminds us why it is “always a good idea to leave half full bottle of red wine for tomorrow”.


10. Liveistria: What’s in a Bottle of Wine

December 8, 2011

Ever wonder what it’s like to work the harvest? To “toil under the Istrian sun, as generations have done before”? Find out the story behind what’s in a bottle of wine and check out this enjoyable read from LiveIstria.



11. Food Republic: Top 5 Emerging Wine Regions

December 8, 2011

Are you surprised? @foodrepublic names the Istria region of Croatia among its “five unexpected wine regions making a splash right now”!


12. Vinologue: Down in Smokvica at Jedinstvo PZ

December 9, 2011

Reviews of Jedinstvo PZ’s portfolio of Pošip wines.



13. Wines of Croatia Blog: Giving Thanks with Terzolo 2008 Teran

December 10, 2011

“Darth Vader dancing like Fred Astaire”? Find out what was going on when Terzolo Teran filled our glasses.

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