Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wines of Croatia Tasting: The Recap!

What a day for Croatian Wine! I could never have predicted how a simple tweet would lead to one of the most fun, educational and incredibly delicious events I've ever had the pleasure of hosting.

As mentioned previously in this preview post, it was Cliff Rames of Wines of Croatia (@winesof croatia) who dropped the pebble in the lake triggering my connection with Frank Dietrich @bluedanubewine of Blue Danube Wines. A date was set, bloggers were invited, a hashtag chosen, wines were selected and it all came together beautifully on August 28th.

Croatia has a wide range of grape growing areas but they are basically split into inland and coastal regions. Since the majority of the bloggers were unfamiliar with Croatian wines Frank decided to focus on the coastal region of Istria. And so for a few hours my deck in Sebastopol was transformed into an odd shaped yacht as we virtually cruised the Istrian peninsula and tasted wines from the countries many islands.

Frank proved to be a great guide on our journey as he led us through the tasting and provided extensive background information and details about the wines, winemakers and growing regions of Croatia.

Frank Dietrich leads the tasting

Early on the sun was bright and hot providing the perfect setting to taste the crisp and refreshing selection of whites:
CORONICA -- Malvasia--Istria  2009
KORTA KATARINA--Pošip--Island of Korčula 2008
KRAJANČIĆ--Pošip--Island of Korčula 2009
ENJINGI--Venje--Slavonia 2003
GRGIĆ-- Vina Pošip--Korčula Island 2009

A selection of the whites. The Grimalda was a special addition. 

Previously I tried a different Enjingi Graševina, but this one was fuller bodied and more developed. All of the whites were outstanding, plus we tried a Rose from Korta Katarina that was a spicy delight. My favorite of the whites was the KRAJANČIĆ Pošip from the island of Korčula where apparently Marco Polo was born. Many of the wines we tasted were from Italian born winemakers and the connection to Italy is very strong historically as well. Below are some of my quick tweet impressions at the tasting.

My quick tweet notes on the whites

As the sun dipped westward and shade creeped overhead we turned our attention to the Reds which included the following:
TERZOLO--Teran--Istria 2008
BIBICH -- R6 Reserva -- Dalmatia 2008
MILOŠ--Stagnum Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 2005
KORTA KATARINA--Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 2006
SAINTS HILLS--Dingač Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 200
MARA POSTUP-- Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 2008
ZLATAN PLENKOVIĆ--Crljenak Kaštelanski--Island of Hvar, Makarska 2008

Selection of the Reds

I enjoyed the Bibich R6 Riserva, Korta Katarina Plavac Mali, and the Zlatan Plenkovic Crljenak Kaštelanski which is considerd to be the original Zinfandel. But the wine that most intrigued me was the MILOŠ--Stagnum Plavac Mali--Pelješac Peninsula 2005. This wine had a very deep purple color with the scent of rosebuds and a slight briny taste. Maybe that explains the claim that this wine pairs well with oysters. Oysters and red wine? I need to do some first hand research on that, but I have a feeling it could be true.

The Saints Hills Dingač Plavac Mali image seemed well crafted, maybe too crafted? I can just imagine the eye rolling and the "there-goes-the-neighboorhood" effect this could have on the wines of Croatia. But I think attention is good and if it gets the peeps drawn in then I think it bodes well for all the smaller producers and gives them a greater chance to be discovered by an enthusiastic audience that will want to travel the wine roads in Croatia.

Paski Sir upper right corner

In addition to the wines we had a special guest cheese-- The Paski Sir from the island of Pag pictured in upper right hand corner. Nutty and rich it was a great complement to the whites we tried and also a few of the reds. One of the bloggers, Anthony Burich who is actually Croatian, brought an unmarked bottle of Croatian olive oil too. I did not get the chance to serve it, but tasted it afterwards and was impressed by its distinct spicy and herbal notes. Very bright and delicious. Thanks Anthony!

A few of the "off list" selections Frank poured. 

At the height of the event I took quick look at Tweet Reach which indicated that over 375 tweets had been sent with an exponential reach of over 100,000 impressions! The hashtag went on the generate more than 400 tweets and many impressions beyond that, as the metric was based on only the last 50 tweets at the time. But over all it was pretty impressive for a deck full of wine bloggers to create that much buzz for Croatian wines in one day. The RTs were fast and furious. Another cool way to view the tweets is through Revist  a real–time visualization of twitter messages around a specific topic which shows a dynamic flow of the tweets and the connections as they happened. Check it out here.

"Zivili" or also spelled "Zivijele" is a Croatian toast that means "to life!" So I would like to shout a hearty "Zivili" to Frank Dietrich, Cliff Rames, Andreja at the Croatian Tourist Board for supplying the maps and excellent background materials, Michelle Buster for sourcing the Paski Sir, also special thanks to KORTA KATARINA for the samples (check them out on twitter @kortakatarina) and of course to all the wine bloggers who came to the event and made it so much fun --@amybcleary @brandyea @winebratsf @SonomaWilliam @aburich @VitaeVino @SLHousman @JamesTheWineGuy @RJonWine @20dollarwine @slowgrapes @BrixChick_Liza @norcalwine & @Brixchik_xan

Zivili! -- Thanks so much. Perhaps next time we should have a game of pin the tail on the Donkey Dingac!

Links to other posts from the event. (more to be added as they become available)
Amy Cleary--WineBookGirl
Richard Jennings -- Post on CellarTracker

Links to all previous Croatia Posts:


  1. Thank you, Marcy, for inviting me and for being such a great host. This blogger tasting was one of the most enjoyable events I have participated in.

    A special shout-out Hvala! to Ivica, the bar manager at Lavanda Restaurant in Palo Alto, CA. Ivica was so kind to supply me with the two bottles of Grgic Plavac and Posip. I owe you, Ivica!

  2. @ Frank Dietrich --It was my pleasure Frank. You really made the day a success. Thanks!

  3. Marcy,I just relived the tasting through your blog post - such a wonderful event! Thank you for hosting and thank you to Frank for leading us through the wines.

    Being part of this gathering meant a lot to me. It bought back lots of wonderful memories of my youth - summers with my family in Croatia; thank you for the opportunity.

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