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)