Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Croatia Series Part 1: Bibich Dégustation

As my series on Croatia begins, I think might as well start at the top. There were many extraordinary experiences in Croatia, but the visit to Bibich was what I was most excited about beforehand. I’d already been introduced to a few of their wines by Frank Dietrich of Blue Danbue Wines during the Wines of Croatia tasting I held at my house back in August and was really looking forward to tasting more of the Bibich wines in Croatia. One clarification to avoid confusion:– Babić  is the grape name while Bibich is the winemaker. 

Press trips by their nature are very jam packed and tightly scheduled, and there was much to see and do before Bibich time, including a walking tour of Šibenik, a exquisite seafood lunch at Konoba Dalmation (more about that to come) and a visit to Krka National Park to view the waterfalls. The only problem was I’d had little to no sleep the first two nights and now was running on fumes and sheer willpower to stand upright by our third very packed day. But I willed my self to carry-on and kept reminding my self, this was the day we would visit Bibich. By 5 pm my strength was waning but just seeing the sign for Bibich perked me up. We were greeted at the door and whisked inside the cozy space where Alen Bibić gave us the background on the 500 year history of the vines and winery and it’s operation. 
Next we sat at a small table and the eight wine & seven course Dégustation began:

Pairing # 1 Bibich Brut Sparkling wine / Oysters 2 ways: Raw Oysters and Oysters with Lemon ice and Worchester Foam. I never even got to taste the lemon ice ones! My fellow (ravenous) writers jumped all over them before I got the chance. 

Pairing # 2  Debit 2010 / Cucumber sorbet topped with trout caviar.  Granita of smoked trout. The Debit was dry and lively with a mineral chalky quality and nose of flowers granite dust. The cucumber sorbet was an unexpected flavor sensation but it really made the Debit come alive. 

Pairing # 3 R5 Riserva 2008 a blend of Debit, Pošip, Maraština, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay –all the flavors in harmony. Paired with Sea bass tartar w/ olive oil, pepper, chili, and an orange roof. Just as this dish was served my phone died and I frantically looked for an outlet to recharge. So no photo. Sorry! UPDATE: I recently discovered photos of the Sea Bass tartar with orange roof and several more of the other pairings on my digital camera click here to view them.

Pairing #4 Lučica 100% Debit / Scallops grilled with goat cheese & black sesame seeds. The Lučica is very special limited production wine from vines close to 50 years old. Lovely rich flavors 13% alc. I was very captivated by the Lučica--
To the Eye: Golden amber color.
On the Nose: A rush of apple and apricot with a light honeysuckle and violet perfume.
On the Palate: Bright and smooth. Flavors of granite/limestone and vanilla with a touch of caramel.
In the Ear: A chorus of Angels!

Pairing #5 – Riserva R6 2008/ Cuttlefish pasta balsamic reduction and olive oil dust. The R6, a favorite of mine, is a blend of Plavic, Lasin and Babić with a floral rosy vanilla nose and full rich flavors. The pairing dish was a play on black and white, a deconstructed take on cuttlefish as a pasta with paski (cheese) cream, almonds, and a reduction of balsamic vinegar with olive oil dust. Deconstructed and delicious! This dish discombobulated me. I was no longer responsible for my actions. I was fully under the Bibich spell. 

Pairing #6 – Wine 1- Sangreal Merlot 2007/ Lamb Filet with hazel nut, chili oil and Mediterranean spice “glass top” brittle / Wine 2- Bas de Bas 2007-- The luscious Sangreal Merlot is very limited production. I suggest you try to get some. The Bas de Bas was a Crno Syrah oakey notes on the nose and palate and a deep ruby color. 

Pairing #7 Ambra / Baked Chocolate Mousse and Cream Catuluna.  Ambra Debit 100% had awesome fig and apricot flavors.

I loved all the wines, but the Lučica was the one I was most enthralled with. One in our group (I’m looking at you KL)  had the presence of mind to buy some Lučica. But I was so completely wrapped up in the reverie of the moment and in such a blissed out state I barely remember leaving under my own locomotion. I slept that night for the first time in two days and sweet dreams of Bibich danced in my head. 

Above: Me flanked by the cherubic faced Sime (right) and the slightly Faustian Alen (left)

The cozy unpretentious setting belies the world-class wine and food at Bibich. If not for the goofy red and white checkered tablecloths, which gives the place a slightly tourist feel, one might mistake it for the weigh station to heaven--wine pairing heaven that is. Soon the world will know of Bibich, as Anthony Bourdain was scheduled to stop by the next day. But up until then it was ours alone.

Bibich is located outside of Sibenik in Skradin. Do what you must to get there. It’s well worth the effort. 

Links to all Croatia Series Posts:
Croatia Part 1: Bibich Dégustation
Croatia Part 2: The Splendors of Split
Croatia Part 4- Zadar, The Perfect Date

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