25 May, 2010

Unexpected wine from an unexpected place.

I love New World wines, Oregon Pinot Noir and Australian Shiraz are two particular favorites. In fact, I'm a bit intimidated by Old World wines. The labels are hard to understand; it's difficult to determine if you're going to like what you're buying. I've been trying to expand my wine knowledge through trying more Old World wines. So when I heard a trusted source rave about Croatian wines this last week, I needed to try for myself.

While we haven't heard much about Croatia here, wine has a long, long history there. They've been cultivating wine several centuries BC, most likely introduced by the Greeks. In more recent history, the political upheaval of the region has destroyed many of the vineyards. Vineyards are still littered with land mines and it is predicted that they will not be cleared until 2020. That, of course, has not stopped the spirit of the small producer and entrepreneurship triumphs again.

It is now believed that Zinfandel, that classic American wine, has its roots in Croatia. Crljenak Kastelanski  is considered to be its parent and Plavic Mali is considered a close relative. Whites are Croatia's predominate type with 2/3 of the production coming from white varieties. It was a rave about a white, about Korta Katarina Posip, that prompted my trip to the wine store.

Pronounced po-ship, this wine is delicious! A little darker yellow in color, you can expect this wine to have a fuller body than many other summer wines like Sauvignon blanc, however, it still has that punch of acid that you won't get from many Chardonnays. On the nose you'll get hits of mango, pineapple and even peaches. Take a sip and you'll see how creamy it tastes, just before you get that bright hit of acid, making this one refreshing wine. (That creaminess, by the way, comes from 6 months in french oak barrels.) Serve this with luxurious seafood: crab, lobster, scallops, grilled prawns and the list could go on. However, the price tag is not all that luxurious. I purchased this at Solo Vino for about $15 on sale. Fantastic!

My lesson here is to not fear new regions or new wines. Sure you could get a dud, but you could also get something amazing. Now it's time to do a side by side tasting of Zinfandel and Crljenak Kastelanski.

(Cheers or to life in Croatian)


  1. The first time I tasted the Korta Katarina Posip was at a class with Leslee and Anissa at Pairings Food & Wine Market in Minnetonka, and it was in the context of "not Chardonnay". I think that categorizes this particular grape perfectly. It's close in many ways, but at the same time is distinctly and wonderfully different. I'd absolutely recommend this to a Chardonnay drinker who is looking to expand their horizons.

    Out of curiosity, how quickly did you go through the bottle? One of the things we noticed is how dramatically this wine changes over a three to four hour period of being open.

  2. I'm a big fan of old world wines & find I tolerate them much better than those from CA & Australia. So, this sound really interesting to me as I'm always looking for good whites

  3. Nicholas, I, too, thought it was a good wine for a Chardonnay drinker as it has that creaminess that's so beloved by them. To answer your question, I have yet to finish this bottle. I've only had two glasses from it on the night it was opened and really didn't notice a change in it. One of the downsides of being married to a craft brew enthusiast is you have lots of opened wine. After reading your comment, I tasted what was left in the bottle, and I have to say it still has the same nose, but the fruit flavors are lost. This wine is now much more astringent tasting. Bummer. Note to self: finish the bottle if you can.

  4. I haven't had the Posip next day, but I can't say I'm surprised that it fell apart. I don't know that I've had a white of any varietal that wasn't a shadow of itself after being open overnight, but I'm fortunate that my wife consumes her fair share of the bottle so it's a rare circumstance in our home.