Besides outstanding cuisine, which may surprise the first time visitor, Croatia produces some awesome wines that rival those of other European countries. With influences by Roman and Venetian rule, as well as many other invading civilizations, the wines of Croatia exhibit depth and full body characteristics worth praising. Typical grape varieties include zinfandel, primitivo, and other robust red grapes, that compliment the pasta dishes, fresh vegetables, herbs, and even truffles that grow in the Istria region.
Mediterranean Climate Ideal for Wine Making:
The combination of perfect climatic and geographic conditions has enabled the wine makers of Korcula and Peljesac to cultivate and produce some of the worlds most outstanding quality grapes.
The Mediterranean climate, with its long, hot, dry summers, mild, short windy winters, frequent rain and abundant sunshine, produce wines rich in dry extract and alcohol.
Croatia , the Birthplace of Zinfandel?
Recent analysis states that all scientific evidence to date points to Croatia as the origin and birthplace of Zinfandel. Historical records testify the existence of Zinfandel on the Dalmatian soil since 183 BC. Using DNA profiling techniques, scientists recently discovered that Zinfandel and an indigenous Croatian grape called Crljenak are one and the same. DNA analysis also helped establish a definite close relationship between modern Italian Primitivo, Croatian Plavac Mali and Zinfandel.
Dingac wine is made from the indigenous Plavac Mali grape variety grown in a very small and protected area known as Dingac on the steep, sun drenched southern slopes of the Pelješac Penisula. Produced and bottled at the Ivo Skaramuca estate, this superbly balanced wine lingers pleasantly on the palate. Its captivating aroma, full-bodied flavor, subtle vanilla and wild cherry nuances will satisfy the most discerning wine lover. (3,000 cases made each year)
The Dalmatian island of Hvar produces rich, full-bodied wines high in acidity and alcohol. Grown on the steep southern slopes of the Island , aged in French barique barrels at a constant temperature of 37oF, Zlatan Plavac Mali is certainly among the top big reds produced in Europe today. This superb wine is available in very limited quantities, it is indeed a rare treat for wine lovers. (2000 cases made each year)
Only the best “first press” juice is used to produce this outstanding plavac mali wine. Each year the wine maker, Zlatan Plenkovic, personally selects the best grapes to be used for his best wine which he proudly calls grand cru. This superb wine is available in very limited quantities, it is indeed a rare treat for wine lovers. (300 cases made each year)
The Dalmatian Wine Making Tradition:
Illyric Tribes were the first Dalmatian wine makers 3,800 years ago.
390 BC – Wine growing tradition is developed during the Greek Colonization.
339 BC – Dalmatia becomes part of the Roman Empire and wine becomes part of Dalmatian lifestyle.
4th Century – Recognition of Christianity. The Church develops its expertise in winemaking.
1400 – First laws on wine production and quality control are written in Dubrovnik Republic.
1797 – Before the fall of Venetian Republic , production of wine in Dalmatia reached 21 million gallons per year.
1870 – Filoxera destroys vineyards in France and Italy . Both countries decide to import Dalmatian wines.
1875 – 1900 Croatia produces 26 million gallons of wine per year.
1920 – 1940 Wine production reduces to 18 million gallons after Austro-Hungarian Empire begins importing Italian wines.
1945 – Beginning of Communist regime, collectivization of land destroys the wine industry.
1991 – Croatia becomes independent, new market economy stimulates tremendous growth of private sector and strive for quality.
1997 – Croatian wine makers produce 620 various kinds of wine from 54 sorts of grapes.