The excitement about Croatian winehas taken some time to reach our blustery shores here in the UK. However, Croatians have been perfecting their craft for thousands of years, from the sandy soils of Korcula to the red clay of Istria. Recently, Croatia has become the holiday destination for everyone, from wine lovers to partying teens to families seeking out the sun. So, if you’re a connoisseur of fine wines who enjoys experiencing a little culture alongside a dry white or rich red, read on to find out where to go (and what to drink!) to get the most out of the country’s outstanding winemaking heritage.
If you visit the island of Korcula, make sure to take a trip to one of its family-run wineries. Easily accessible on two wheels or four, these vineyards contain grape varieties which have been growing on Korcula for thousands of years. Here are two of the best.
· Grk: A perfect accompaniment to seafood, Grk is a dry white that grows exclusively on Korcula.
· Pošip: This Croatian wineis a full-bodied and crisp white with just a hint of almonds. Native to Korcula, the grape can also be found on other islands like Hvar and Brac. To get an authentic tasting experience, enjoy it with a local sheep’s cheese from Pag called Paški sir.
This stunning coastal region includes the popular holiday destinations of Split and Dubrovnik – cities packed full of fascinating culture and excellent cuisine. It’s a little-know fact outside of the wine world, but the popular American grape Zinfandel originated in this area of Croatia! Take time out from a day’s exploring to sample some of the wine the region has to offer today.
· Plavac Mali: This Croatian wine makes a wonderful accompaniment to a traditional evening meal of veal cooked in red wine with tomatoes and dried plums. You’ve probably tried this famous red at home; with its fruity aroma and peppery notes it’s a firm favourite all over the world.
Istria is a fascinating area of Croatia as it once belonged to Italy. The influence of Italian culture can be seen everywhere in this region, from its cooking to its architecture. Make sure you devote some time to exploring the Roman ruins and hill top villages before getting down to some serious Croatian wine tasting.
· Malvazija Istarska: Enjoy this refreshing dry white on a hot summer’s day whilst eating a meal of freshly prepared, locally caught fish. This is the classic white of the region and varies distinctly in taste from the Italian Malvasia.
· Teran: Visit a vineyard which grows the Teran grape and you’ll spot the large, closely-packed bunches easily enough. This full-bodied red loves the mineral-rich red clay soil of the Istrian peninsula. Drink whilst sampling local cheeses and prosciutto before your evening meal.
If I’ve inspired you to fly off to Croatia for your next holiday, then “Živjeli!” – or “Cheers”! Book your plane tickets and get ready to relax by the sea, a glass of delicious Croatian winein hand.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays all over the Mediterranean, as well as holidays in Bermuda, Croatia and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and as a result is an expert on topics as diverse as Croatian wine and Moroccan culture. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts and history.