Even though Croatia is not known as a “wine country” many different types of wine are produced here. Most of this wine is consumed in Croatia, and therefore there is not much left for export and outside Croatia their wine is not very well known yet. All types of wine is made in Croatia; sparkling wine, rosé, white and red wine and now the ‘orange’ wine a variation of white wine very much in fashion lately. The interior of Croatia is mostly known for it’s dry and sweet white wines, while on the coast along the Adriatic Sea from Istria in the north to Dubrovnik in the south, many different types of red wine, but also white wines are produced. Since the ancient times of the Greeks wine is made along the Dalmatian coast.
Orange coloured wine is produced by a specific method of wine making. It is made from white wine grape varieties and to obtain the orange colour the maceration time is prolonged where there is contact with the grape skins. Usually when making white wine the grapes are crushed and the grape juice is quickly removed from the skins. The grape skin contains colour pigment, phenols and tannins which are not necessary for white wine so it keeps it light colour, while for red wines skin contact and maceration is essential in the production process as that gives red wine its colour, texture and flavour.
Croatia is a great wine country!
A specific grape variety that grows mainly on the coast is the Plavac Mali, the little blue grape. This grape variety is one of the most important native red grape and makes for a pretty powerful dark red wine. In addition, the wine has quite a lot of tannins (which feels dry in the mouth) and a high alcohol content, sometimes up to 16%. Nevertheless, some wine producers manage to make a lighter wine version with this grape variety, which goes excellent with fish dishes.
The grape variety Plavac Mali does not have much needs and grows on the dry sandy and stony earth along the Adriatic coast of central and southern Dalmatia and on the Dalmatian islands, where it enjoys the warm sun during the long hot Croatian summer. On the Peljesac peninsula small short vines grow on very steep slopes close to the sea, where the salty sea air and the special soil give a special flavour to the wine. From this region the best known red Croatian wines origin, made from Plavac, and the wine is called Postup and Dingac. In earlier times the grapes on these steep slopes were harvested with the help of donkeys, and therefore you often see the depiction of a donkey on the label of wine made from Plavac grapes.
The origin of the grape variety Plavac Mali was unclear for some time and it was thought that it was identical to the American Zinfandel and Italian Primitivo grape varieties. Research has shown that it is family with these grape varieties, but it certainly is a unique grape variety with its own unique flavour.
Croatian wines are classified on the basis of their quality which is indicated on the wine label in Croatian, and is as follows:
- Vrhunsko Vino = Premium Quality Wine
- Kvalitetno Vino = Quality Wine
- Stolno Vino = Table Wine
Other useful Croatian wine-words are:
- Suho = Dry
- Polusuho = Semi-dry
- Slatko = Sweet
- Bijelo = White
- Crno = Red (literally meaning black)
- Rosa = Rose
- Prošek = Dalmatian sweet dessert wine made from dried grapes
Ask around which restaurants serve local dishes and let yourself be surprised by the delicious local recipes. From Mediterranean cuisine at the coast to continental dishes with local ingredients and inspired by Turkish and Austrian-Hungarian kitchen. Each region can be proud of their specific local delicious dishes. In the interior try a nice fresh white wine with the well known …
We from Croatia4me have some great ideas and tips to help you plan a day or more days out in specific regions in Croatia. These are just ideas you can add to your own holiday plans, you can follow the day to day ideas we have written below, or mix it all up or pick one or two items that …