Giving Thanks with Terzolo 2008 Teran

Text and photos by Cliff Rames

In a recent packet of samples I received a bottle of Terzolo 2008 Teran – a wine I’ve never tried and about which I have been very curious (and heard good things).

As anyone who follows this blog already knows, I am a big fan of Teran and believe that it will be the next Big Thing to come out of Croatia – eventually taking its rightful place as one of the top three native red grape varieties in Croatia.

This particular Teran comes from a small family property near Nova Vas in the Istria sub-region of northern Coastal Croatia.

Istria as a wine region is most noted for its white wines, particularly the local indigenous variety, Malvazija Istriana. For more background information on the producer and the Teran grape, please see this post on the Blue Danube Wine Company’s website.

Roberto Terzolo (left) (photo courtesy of http://www.istrabiz.hr)

Originally I planned to drink the Terzolo Teran on Thanksgiving Day. I had actually included it in my original line-up of wines for the day’s festivities, as seen by the photo that I posted on Facebook (below).

However, the lavish and overwhelming nature of Thanksgiving dinner with my family got the best of me, and the wine ended up lost in the fray and was never opened that day. This was for the best, I think, because by the time we got around to it, I think everyone’s senses already would have been dulled and overwhelmed. As a result, the wine would have been underappreciated; simply tossed back without a thought.

So I rescued the bottle and returned it to my “pending” pile of samples until the right opportunity came along to open it.

It didn’t take long. A few days later I got around to reading Eric Asimov’s Thanksgiving-themed ARTICLE in the NY Times called “Giving Thanks for the Options” (“Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner” in the online edition). In it Mr. Asimov supports the notion of serving red wine with the Thanksgiving meal (as opposed to common wisdom and tradition, which often favors whites – and in my case, Riesling).

More specifically, Mr. Asimov insists that any wine – red or white – served with turkey, stuffing and dressing must be of a more “gentle” character (no big, bold reds) and offer “grace and refreshment” (in other words, fresh acidity).

All of this got me thinking about Teran again.

Lo and behold, that same evening my sister-in-law invited me to dinner. In offering to bring wine, I asked what she would be serving. She declared that she was preparing a “Little Thanksgiving”: stuffed turkey breast with roasted cauliflower and broccoli.

True to my suspicions – and confirming Mr. Asimov’s thesis, the Terzolo Teran was a perfect turkey wine. To begin with, who could not be impressed by its deep violet purple color, opaque and richly extracted, belying the vibrant freshness within?

On the nose, initial aromas of black cherry, kirsch and pomegranate juice gave way to developing hints of barnyard, cola, and savory black olive. Adding power and structure to the nose were alluring mineral notes of lead pencil and iron.

But be not fooled. As dense and deep as the wine appears and breathes, it is a vibrant fellow – imagine Darth Vader dancing like Fred Astaire. Swirling black cloaks and all the energy of the universe channeled and condensed into your wine glass.

Such is the magic of Teran. At once it can be dark and intense, dense and brooding, yet lively and elevating, giddy and somewhat precocious (and sometimes obnoxious if not made well). It can readily change disguises, showing characteristics of Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Rhone Valley Syrah, all in the same glass.

Turkey meat (it should be noted) has the odd habit of leaving a bitterly metallic aftertaste when paired with certain wines. Not the Teran. Every bite washed down deliciously. The wine practically sizzled on my tongue, its vibrancy cleansing the palate and inducing the appetite to march on. Crunchy bright red and black fruits were offset by smooth tannins, subtle cured meat smokiness, and savory mineral notes. Blood sausage came to mind.

My brother, taking a sip, paused, studied the bottle and asked, “What is this?” With him this is always a good sign. It caught his attention; he wanted to know more. Needless to say, the rest of the bottle went down remarkably easy and was soon relegated to the library of happy memories.

By the way, since we are on the subject of Teran, I will go ahead and make this prediction: Teran will one day become the second most important red grape variety in Croatia. It eventually may even challenge Plavac Mali for the Number 1 spot in terms of popularity among consumers (with Babic holding steady at Number 3).

Based on what I have tasted from Terzolo and other Istrian producers, Teran demonstrates convincing potential. I would argue that it could eventually be placed in the same league with Loire Valley reds, with Cru Beaujolais, or Italy’s food-friendly, northern reds (in fact, it reminded me of an excellent Sagrantino I recently tried).

Whatever the case may be, the 2008 Terzolo Teran is certainly a wine of “grace and refreshment” – and at around $20 it won’t break your budget at the holidays or anytime.

Mr. Asimov, take note.

P.S. Blue Danube Wine Company has informed me that the 2008 Terzolo Teran is now sold out in the U.S. The 2009 vintage though is on the way and should arrive shortly. Please check the Blue Danube website for availability, and stay tuned here for future reviews.

“Croatian Wine Story” DVD Now Available in North America

 

Just in time for the holidays! Wines of Croatia is proud to offer for sale – exclusively and for the first-time ever in North America – the beautifully filmed and informative Croatian Wine Story (“Hrvatska Vinska Priča – Putevima Vina”) DVD.

The 115-minute film, directed by Miroslav Mirković and produced by Mandrak Productions, takes us on an eye-opening journey through some of Croatia’s most stunningly beautiful wine regions, including Baranja, the Croatian Littoral, north and south Dalmatia, the Dalmatian Hinterland, Istria, Moslavina, Plešivica, Slavonija, Srijem, and Zagorje-Međimurje.

 

Your guides on this journey are Franjo Francem, a well-known Croatian enologist, and Nataša Puhelek, the reigning “Croatian Wine Queen”. Together they will take you on a four-season trip throughCroatia, where you will visit some of the country’s leading wineries. From the first bud break all the way to harvest (and ice wine harvest!) you will have an armchair view of the life in the vineyards ofCroatiaand a sneak peek behindCroatia’s unique “wine story”.

For a glimpse of the scenery that awaits you in this film, check out this trailer:

 

 

Wineries featured in the film include: Agrolaguna; Belje; Benkovac (Badel 1862); Coronica; Vinarija Daruvar (Badel 1862); Vinarija Dingač, (Badel 1862); Đakovačka vina d.d. (Misna Vina); Enjingi; Gerštmajer; Grabovac; Iločki Podrumi; Istravino; Jakopić; Kabola; Katunar; Krauthaker; Kutjevo dd; Miklaužić; Mladina; Petrovečki; Skaramuča; Tomac; Vinoplod; PZ Vrbnik; Zdjelarević; and Zlatan Otok.

The film contains 31 chapters and is presented in the Croatian language with optional English or Slovenian subtitles available.

 

Important Note: The film is only available in PAL format (Region 2), which can be played on most computer-based DVD players and multi-format home DVD players. Unfortunately it cannot be played on standard NTSC-formatted (Region 1) DVD players. We tested the DVD on several computers, and it played perfectly each time.

To order your DVD in time for the holidays, please contact us at crames@winesofcroatia.com.

Quantities are limited! The special introductory/holiday price per DVD is $20 USD, plus $6 USPS Priority Shipping (Total = $26) to most U.S. addresses.   For addresses outside the U.S.,  please email us for the shipping price.

Payment should be made via Paypal to the email address crames@winesofcroatia.com. Please contact us for more details, if you have any questions, or if you would prefer to pay by check or money order. Sorry – we cannot accept credit cards at this time.

We think that you – or your favorite Croatian wino – will really enjoy this film, so order your copy now, pop open your favorite Croatian wine, and begin your journey down the wine roads of Croatia from the comfort of your own home.

Happy Holidays!

“Cliff Rames: The Champion of Croatian Wines”

In its November 2011 issue, the English-language magazine published, Croatia: a Fortnight in Review published an extensive interview with Wines of Croatia founder, Cliff Rames.

Croatia: a Fortnight in Review is a bi-weekly, subscription-only magazine published inZagreb for English-speaking residents ofCroatia, including ex-patriot, diplomats and foreign business people.

The 3-page interview begins with this: “We could not pass up the opportunity to consult sommelier Cliff Rames, who is arguably the most prolific (and passionate) promoter of Croatian whites, reds, oranges, roses and sparklings internationally, for his take on the status and the future trajectory of the local industry.”

To read the full article (in flip-book format), please see pages 20-22 of Issue #20 by clicking HERE.

We hope you enjoy the interview, and please feel free to comment below.

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up for November 28, 2011

Compiled by Cliff Rames

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. Come for the Wine: Croatia – Part 4: Zadar, the Perfect Date

November 11, 2011

 

 

 

2. Total Hvar: Introducing Hvar’s Grape Varieties

November 15, 2011

 

 

 

3. Vinologue: Vinarija Dingac – The Other Dingac

November 22, 2011

 

 

 

4. Taste of Croatia: Buhac – Best Buy Croatian Cab Comes from Srijem

November 24, 2011

 

 

 

5. Grk-Lumbarda.com: St Martin in Lumbarda and Grk with Plavac from 2011

November 24, 2011

 

 

 

6. Europe Up Close: Eating Adriatic: Pag – Magical Island Cheese

November 26, 2011

 

 

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: 14 Nov. – 20 Nov. 2011

 

Compiled by Cliff Rames, 20 November 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. Vinologue: To Potomje and Kiridzija

November 15, 2011

A short profile of Vedran Kiridžija, winemaker on the Pelješac peninsula, and one of the more traditional (and finest) producers of Dingač.

 

 

 

2. The Wine Key: Croatian Grape Juice

November 15, 2011

In the hills of San Francisco, sommelier and blogger Charlotte Chipperfield discovers the delights of Bibich 2007 Reserva.

 

3.  Love That Wine: Croatia – Land of Great Small Wine Producers

November 17, 2011

Clai 2009 Brombonero makes a lasting impression.

 

 

 

4. The Guardian: Wines of the Week – David Williams (Italy, Croatia, and Chile)

November 19, 2011

Wine writer David Williams reviews Bolfan Primus Rajnski Rizling

 

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: 17 Oct. – 23 Oct. 2011

 

 

Compiled by Cliff Rames, 23 October 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. This feature will be published every Sunday. Cheers!

 

 

1) By the Tun: Croatia’s Coastal Wine: The New Old World

October 13, 2011 (retroactively included)

 

 

 

2) Wines of Croatia: Matosevic’s Magical Mystical Tour of the James Beard House

October 17, 2011

 

 

3) James the Wine Guy: Wine Review – Terzolo Istria Teran 2008

October 17, 2011

 

 

 

4) My Israel Wine Tours: Croatian Honeymoon, Wine, Olive Oil, and Truffles

October 17, 2011

 

 

5) Vinovagabonds: Drinking Grgic Plavac Mali

October 18, 2011

 

 

 

6) Vinologue: Vina Bibich: the Wines of Bibich

October 19, 2011

 

 

 

7) Manjada: Meneghetti Malvazija 2010

October 21, 2011

 

 

 

8.  Come for the Wine: Croatia Series Preview – Zivili!

October 22, 2011

 

 

 

9) Istriaficionado: Emmy-Awarded American Journalist Fell in Love with Istria

October 23, 2011

 

 

 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: 10 Oct. – 16 Oct. 2011

Compiled by Cliff Rames, 16 October 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. This feature will be published every Sunday. Cheers!

 

1) Chicago Tribune: Istria is Italy without the Price

October 7, 2011 (retroactively included)

 

 

2) Hello Magazine: Autumn is Truffle-Time in Istria

October 10, 2011

 

 

3) Like Wine Now: Bottoms Up! Top 3 Croatian Wines – Venje, Bibich, Matosevic

October 11, 2011

                               

 

4) Taste of Croatia: Korcula Scenic Vineyard Drive

October 12,2011

 

 

5) Wines of Croatia: Oz Clarke, James Beard House, and “Mystical Malvazija”

October 13, 2011

 

6) SGV Tribune: Legendary Winemaker Has World-Wide Impact

October 13, 2011

 

7) NZ Herald: Wine – Balkan Beginnings

October14, 2011

 

 

8. Vinologue: Bakovic on Brac

October 14, 2011

 

 

9) Odd Bacchus: A White Delight from Istria

October 15, 2011

 

 

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