With plenty of sunshine and rolling hills, Croatia has all the dispositions for a wine-making country, so it’s no wonder it is known for its quality wine. Here’s a rundown of its most famous varieties you just have to try.
Croatia has three wine regions: East continental, West continental and Primorska which breed more than 130 autochthonous grape varieties on 25 000 hectares. The three most popular ones are Plavac mali, Graševina i Malvazija istarska, followed by Merlot and Cabernet sauvignon. Because of climate conditions and terrain, the continental wine regions along with Istria lean more towards the production of white wines, and south Dalmatia towards red wines.
If you’re visiting Pag, stop by the Boškinac winery where you can try many exquisite Croatian wines. The whites are specific as a combination of indigenous and global varieties and Croatian and international wine critics and sommeliers all agree, the Boškinac red is consistently among Croatia’s best wines.
East continental and West continental
East continental and West continental Croatia grow and love a lot of the same wines.
Most common wines is certainly Graševina, the wine of Croatia’s plaines. You will recognize it for its hay-yellow color, dry taste and fruity character. It compliments clams, salads, cheese and cured meat really well. Then there is Rajnski rizling, a bright yellow wine of distinguished aroma, very fresh and harmonious in taste. It is excellent with seafood, asparagus, pasta and cheeses.
Next up is Chardonnay, on of the most popular wines in the world. In Croatia, it is yellow in color with a slight green tint, and has a fruity and nutty aroma that wakes you up with its freshness. Enjoy it alongside grilled fish, chicken, vegetable risotto, cheeses and salads.
Last but not least, a wine with a tinge of pink, Pinot gris. It oozes acacia and pear which goes nicely with seafood and white meats.
Now on to the reds!
Frankovka is the most popular ruby-red, with a blackberry, fruity and slightly peppery aroma. Try it with red and curated meats. Pinot noir is another gem. Packed with tannins, blackberries and raspberries, it is best enjoyed with equally powerful foods such as mature cheeses and game stews.
Cabernet Sauvignon is another world known wine. Taste its deep fruity, spicy aromas with rich vegetable sauces and red meats.
You will know Portugizac by its purple reflection and notes of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry. Enjoy it with duck, sausages, mature cheeses and game.
Malvazija istarska got its name from the Istrian peninsula, where it’s cultivated at more than 3000 hectares. It is a dry, golden wine with a rounded full taste. It can be classified as a variety with fruit-flower potential. It blends well with vegetables, pasta with cheese-based sauces, cream, fish, veal and pork. Its discreet aroma reminds of acacia flower, also apple, plum and apricot, as well as almonds.
Žlathina is a crystal clear white wine, gold and green in color. Its fruity aroma and lively taste go particularly well with cheeses, white meat and seafood.
Cultivated on the island of Korčula, Pošip reminds exactly of the place it is from – its aroma of dried mediterranean fruits blends marvelously with seafood and white meat.
Debit is a dry white wine, with a fresh taste and delicate, full aroma. Sip it with cold entrees, crabs and clams, olives and cheeses.
For lovers of red wine, ruby-red Merlot offers a harmony of fruit and spice. Enjoy it alongside grilled fish, dark meats and game.
If you’re into wines with a strong character, there’s Teran. Teran is a powerful, robust wine of intense aroma best served with game, red meats and curated meats.
Plavac mali is an exceptionally popular grape variety, as well as wine. It is rustic, with undertones of dark berries and spice, a beautiful full-bodied wine. Strong flavor call for equally strong flavors, so taste it with veal, venison or beef.
Babić is another wine and grape variety of high demand. It has a fruity aroma, is high in tannins and density compared to that of oil. Sip it with fish and prosciutto.