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Istria's wine production is concentrated in 4 wine centers (Buje, Porec, Pazin and Rovinj) and their surrounding places.
Come visit them and with the help of local vintners choose one of the wines that have received international awards or one the wines made in the traditional manner.
WINE-ROAD 1: Brtonigla, Umag, Novigrad, Dajla, Nova Vas, Groznjan, Buje, Savudrija
WINE-ROAD 2: Visnjan, Tar, Baderna, Funtana, Lovrec
WINE-ROAD 3: Buzet, Tinjan, Pazin
WINE-ROAD 4: Rovinj, Vodnjan, Valbandon
Istria's winelist contains three wine sorts: malvazija (malmsey) and muskat (muscatel) of the white wines and teran of the red wines. The Istrian malvazija of a century-old tradition varies in color from hay-yellow to golden, while its odor is similar to the locust blossom. Due to its refreshing aroma it is best served with sea food. Teran praised by Casanova differs from malvazija in color. Ruby-red, of a full, fruity scent and flavor, it is best served with meat stews and venison. Muskat or moskat is according to many the best of the Istrian wines. It has a golden color, flowery scent and extraordinary dry-sweet aroma - perfect for gourmands! In addition to all of this, it is considered to be an aphrodisiac.
WINE-ROAD 1: Buje and its surroundings (Brtonigla, Umag, Novigrad, Dajla, Nova Vas, Groznjan, Buje, Savudrija)
This city dates back to the Middle Ages and is placed on a hill in the interior of Istria, 34 km from Porec. Visit the stone towers and houses built in the Venetian style, take part in horseback riding and hunting activities, enjoy a wonderful meal along with a glass of muskat or Bujski merlot
This medieval city with only 193 inhabitants is the world center of Glazbena mladez (association of young musicians) and an artist colony. Its surroundings are known for speleological sites and biking trails, while the konobe (local restaurants) are the best places to taste local food and teran.
Besides its wines, especially malvazija, Nova Vas is also known for the nearby cave - Baredine, home to newts (a type of salamander). In April, you can visit the cave between 10:00 and 16:00. A 300 m path leading through 5 chambers with stalagmites and stalactites ends with a view of a 4 m wide and 66 m deep abyss with underground lakes that are some 30 m deep.
WINE-ROAD 2: Porec and its surroundings (Visnjan, Tar, Baderna, Funtana, Lovrec)
This small city belonging to the top 5 places in the world for the number and importance of its astronomic discoveries is placed 13 km from Porec, close to the river Mirna and the Motovun woods known for truffles. We recommend that you try Porecki merlot or Cabernet sauvignon (local wines).
Tar is a place on the coast close to Novigrad. On a clear, sunny day, visitors can enjoy a unique view of St. Marc’s church tower in Venice and the Alps from the church tower in Tar. If you have dinner in one of the konobe (local restaurants) you will discover istarska malvazija and seafood specialties.
WINE-ROAD 3: Pazin and its surroundings (Buzet, Tinjan, Pazin)
Buzet is placed on a secluded hilltop in the middle of the Mirna valley and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is known to adventure lovers for its paragliding facilities on Raspadalnica, and to music lovers for the music festival "Raspjevana Buzeština" that takes place in April. We recommend a glass of buzetski teran to wine lovers.
Pazin is 32 km from Porec and was in the past the seat of nobility. The old city is placed above a wonder of nature, the cave Fojba, through which flows a brook forming 3 lakes. Pazin's first class turkey dishes along with a glass of pazinski teran are a must for gourmands, while hunters should visit the Vepar Hunting Association.
WINE-ROAD 4: Rovinj (Rovinj, Vodnjan, Valbandon)
A small tourist resort 3 km from Pula is suitable for a quiet holiday. You will enjoy the beautiful mild spring climate on the coast even more if you try the aperitif-wines from the Rovinj wine cellars.
The medieval city of Vodnjan is located on the road to Trieste, 10 km from Pula. Its surroundings are dotted with trails, vineyards and konobe - where you can try sweet malvazija from the Rovinj wine cellars.
ISLAND OF HVAR
The island of Hvar is excellent for winegrowing due to its mild Mediterranean climate with the greatest insolence in Croatia of 2697 sunny hours per year. Winegrowing of Hvar may be divided by soil and varieties in two different parts: winegrowing along the southern slopes of the island and in the valley of Stari Grad – Jelsa. Walking among the vine plants in the valley takes you back to the history, as first vineyards were here planted, in years before Christ, by inhabitants of the Greek settlement of Pharos, remains of which are at the edge of the valley. Today, the indigenous white varieties are prevalent: Bogdanuša, Cetinka, Mekuja, etc. that are rare in other areas, as well as Maraština, Trbljan, etc. According to a legend, the wine called Bogdanuša (bottled by Dalmacijavino Hvarske vinarije Starigrad and Plančić Svirče) for its exceptional quality was usually consumed for religious holidays, from where it derived its name.
Wine of this variety is of greenish-yellow colour, full, harmonious, with a pleasant slightly bitter taste. Maraština is of specific yellow to gold-yellow colour, fine aroma, full and very harmonious taste. Completely different, much more savage and picturesque, are wine-growing areas on the southern side of the island. They may be reached from the valley only by a narrow tunnel near the vineyard in Pitve. To experience this winegrowing heaven completely, it should be seen from the sea, as along the craggy hillside, the vineyards are precipitately diving towards the sea. Many vineyards are difficult to reach, let alone cultivate them manually, which is the only option here. These savage positions are refined and encircled by the picturesque villages of Ivan Dolac and Sveta Nedjelja, where you can enjoy in ruby, ardent Plavac, of harmonious taste with a slight dose of 51 bitter. Top quality wine obtained from grapes on these positions is bottled by Dalmacijavino Hvarske vinarije under the label Faros, Zlatan Plenković- under the label Zlatan Plavac and PZ Svirče labelled as Ivan Dolac. On the southern side of the island, but more towards the west, there is Milna, a winegrowing oasis of white varieties, mostly Maraština and Trbljan.
The largest town on the island, Hvar, is also located on the edge of pearl vineyards. One of the town attractions is an artistic painting presenting pitchers and glasses full of dark, red wine, creating impression in a spectator that an unknown painter was inspired exactly by the wines produced in Hvar vineyards.
ISLAND OF BRAC
The most impressive vineyards of the island of Brač are along its southern slopes, above Bol. Vineyards found their shelter on the small sloping valleys and terraces, and part of them is pressed between the cliffs steeply descending towards the beautiful beaches. For their steepness, vineyards are in perfect position towards sun. Looking at the steep vineyards from the tourist centre of Bol, with a glass of dark red, dense Plavac of pleasant dryness and special bouquet, you may enjoy the specialties of the island.
ISLAND OF VIS
Far away at sea, like a lonely ship dragged away, defying winds and waves, there is the island of Vis. Numerous archaeological findings show that grapevine has been grown here continuously for more than 2000 years. Vineyards on Vis are scattered around the island. They are along the steep slopes towards Komiža, but also in the valley, former army airport. White varieties are predominant on the island, out of which mostly Trbljan, Vugava, Kurtelaška, Maraština, etc. According to some opinions, the oldest variety in this area is Vugava that allegedly originates from the time of Greek colonisation, before Christ, when such vine was grown on these areas. Vugava or Bugava, as called by local population, is the winegrowing symbol of Vis. It is marked by powerful gold yellow colour, specific aroma, and, according to many, luxuriant honey taste and fullness. It is often said to be more of a food than of a drink. Vugava can be particularly felt during the vintage in Vis and Komiža in autumn, when wine cellars are open and wooden casks taken out. That is when the entire villages smell of a specific odour marking a new vintage and a new life of Vugava. Vugava is an early maturing variety and most frequently its harvesting starts the vintage in Dalmatia. This wine is produced by several producers on the island of Vis (PZ Podšpilje, Lipanović, Sviličić, etc.) under various labels. Among black varieties, the most frequent on Vis is Plavac Mali (bottled by Vinogradar, PZ Vis, Poduje etc.).
ISLAND OF BISEVO
A special experience is to visit the environmentally completely preserved island of Biševo (3 nautical miles southwest from Vis), known for its natural phenomenon, the Blue Cave. Biševo is, according to many, a winegrowing heaven. Most vineyards are in the sandy valleys in the middle of the island. However, vineyards of higher quality are those on the slopes towards the sea. That is where Plavac Mali is grown exclusively. Same as on Hvar, Brač and Vis, Plavac is here of very rich extract, dark ruby colour, full taste, high percentage of alcohol with prominent aroma featured with slight bitterness and luxuriant bouquet. Top quality wine obtained on these positions is produced by PZ Komiža. We are not at the end of voyage along the wine roads of the central Dalmatia. There is a number of other picturesque and distinctive vineyards on the island of Šolta, in Kašteli, Cetina region and elsewhere, but we believe that we managed to open slightly the doors to our wine cellars and that we discovered part of their treasure that was created for centuries in the traditional manner.
The winegrowing sub-region of Dalmatinska zagora is located in the Adriatic hinterland separated from the sea by two mountains, Mosor and Biokovo. Frequent images here are lonely vineyards in the middle of stone wasteland. Along the slopes of Biokovo, grapevine grows in little Karst valleys, fighting with stone in search of soil, for which it frequently climbs around the rock, forming unusually picturesque vineyards.
Descending down the step-like slopes of Biokovo, we leave behind the Karst and stone. The eye usually finds pleasure in the image of a beautiful green carpet, Imotsko Polje valley, with mostly plantation- like vineyards. The most prevalent variety is Kujunđuša, of unknown origin, but as it is so frequently grown on Imotski winegrowing hills, it is considered an indigenous variety of this region. Local people call it "the queen and the saint". Wine of this variety is harmonious, and its bouquet has elements of both continental and southern wines (bottled by Imota Imotski and Grabovac Proložac). New impulse for the winegrowing in this region was provided by vineyards around Proložac (seat of Grabovac winery) with new plants of indigenous and European varieties of grapevine. Through the mountainous vineyards scattered in valleys between rocky slopes, we arrive to Vrgoračko Polje valley called Jezero (Lake) as once it was partially under water. Still nowadays, at times of abundant rains, the valley is for the most part flooded. Not once local people harvested
grape out of a boat. In the green scenery of mostly plantation-like vineyards, traditional varieties are cultivated (Medna, Zlatarica, Blatina, Trnjak, Plavina, etc. are bottled by Imota Imotski and Opačak Makarska), and newly introduced varieties (Vranac, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. are bottled by Vinoplod d.d., Šibenik).
KORCULA AND PELJESAC VINES
The tradition of vine growing by Romans and later by Slavs has produced numerous objects of artistic value. The stone presses (prese) from which wine was squeezed, the amphoras, from the sunken Roman galleys in the Korcula-Peljesac channel, the vine motifs on the Bogomil tombs, and decorations on religious monuments and household objects testify to the tradition of winemaking in the Korcula and Peljesac region and to the cult of wine produced in this area and its being treated as a sacred liquid. The statute of the town and island of Korcula of 1214 contains strict rules protecting the vineyards.
Climatic and geographic conditions have enabled the growing of high-quality vines on the vine-growing area of Korcula and Peljesac, and modern wine cellars guarantee the individual farmers not only a standard wine quality but also the purchase of their grapes. The Mediterranean climate, with its rather long, hot and dry summers and mild, short and windy winters with frequent rain as well as abundant sunshine, produces wines rich in dry extract and alcohol. The favorable climate and good soil in Korcula and Peljesac, give the wines a harmonious relation between their ingredients; alcohol, acid, minerals, tannin, colored matter, proteins, vitamins.
The luring call of the Korcula-Peljesac wines could be resisted even by the legendary heroes Antenor and Odysseus on their travels in the distant mythological past. Mythology has passed into history and to the present and the Korcula and Peljesac wines are waiting for their future conquistadors who will come to enjoy, together with the people from their region, this eternal liquid - a compound of sun, soil and effort.
The most represented wines of the Zagreb county are the new white wines. The representation of the wines of the older vintages is still low, but certain family wineries are cultivating mature white wines that reach they optimal quality after certain period of aging in bottle, for more demanding and refined consumers.If we consider white wines of the region in general, depending on the sort, they are characterised by the esteemed lighter yellow-green to lighter yellow colour.
Compared to the wines of other wine-growing districts in the eastern Croatia, these wines are lighter and moderately extracted, with medium alcohol quantity, mostly between 10 and 12,5% Vol. alcohol. They are pleasantly sour, for what they are attractively fresh and smooth. The most common taste is dry, rarely with the rest of the non-fermented sugar. The new wines have a characteristic sort aroma that is often well marked. The sort bouquet is mixture of fine, gentle and esteemed fruit aromas that are developed during the cold fermentation. Mature white wines loose their typical sort bouquet. Wine gets an incomparable, subtle bouquet and the taste of aging. Although represented in smaller quantity, red wines come on the market new, fresh, smooth and with fine fruit aromas.
We should single out portugizac wine, whish is becoming more popular and distinguished new wine of the Zagreb county, although only three wines of this sort have been registered as quality wines by now.
And finally we shouldn't forget kraljevina, an old autochthonous sort of Prigorje, which was recommended in 1870 as the most suitable must sort for the region of the northwestern Croatia, by a well known wine-growing expert A. Trummer, although he said that its wine cannot be compared with the wine produced of other better sorts in that district. Kraljevina wine should again take its place among the white wines of the Zagreb county. In the wide range of white wines of grasevina, white pinot, chardonnay and other sorts, we should know how to recognize and appreciate what is autochthonous and homemade, and also unique. And kraljevina, imbrina or red moravcina, our autochthonous must sorts, should and could give light, moderately alcoholic, smooth, lively, modern and new wines.
This is attested by the fact that 14 wines of this sort in the Zagreb county have a quality wine label.The wines of the meek wine-growing districts of Prigorje and Bilogora, Plesivica and Pokuplje.
The wines are a product of the harmony of climate and soil of this region, sort and year, but also of the continuous and planned connecting of tradition and modern technological discoveries, by a large number of producers.The wines from the Zagreb county won the highest medals at famous international exhibitions and wine grading (France, Belgium, Slovenia), and they take most of the awards at the largest and traditional Croatian wine exhibition "Vinovita".
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