La Croatia, especially in the north, has always been a crossroadsonce beaten by emperors, crusaders and even doges. Perhaps at the time without paying too much attention to the local wine, now much in demand by the owners of yachts anchored in the country's characteristic ports.
This is a land of incredible and ancient wine-making traditionhome of two of the most legendary grapes ever, the Plavac Mali and Crljienak Kastelansky.
Croatia is cut in two by the Dinaric AlpsThe coastal section is in turn subdivided into several regions, la Hrvatska Istra (Croatian Istria), Hrvatsko Primorje (Croatian Coast), Sjeverna Dalmacija (Northern Dalmatia), Srednja i Juzna Dalmacija (Central Dalmatia and Islands) and finally Zagora (Dalmatinska Zagora) further inland. White wine dominates in all these areas, it is produced with the Gravesina, the local Riesling Italicowhich is not inferior in prestige to the other two grapes mentioned above. This iconic grape covers about a quarter of the entire Croatian wine-growing area, but in recent years there has been an increase in plantings of Riesling, Chardonnay and Traminac, with some really interesting versions in the Plesivica and Zagorje areas.
Red wine also seems to be making a comeback, especially in coastal areas.
In Istria, the trend is to follow the Slovenian tradition of prolonged maceration of the grapes on the skins and their refinement in acacia barrels, and not from Slavonia, a region famous for its oaks. The most popular grape is Malvasia Istriana, but Teran and Plavac Mali are also widely used, especially in Dingac, whose terroir elevates its power, and Postup. Descending towards Primonsten, Sibenik and Split we find larger plots of Crljenak Kastelansky (red grapes from Kastela, a small island) and the very elegant Babic. In the central and southern area we also find the Marastinaa distant relative of Malvasia Toscana.
The islands are home to some really interesting indigenous grape varieties such as the Zlahtina on Krk, the Vugava on Lis, the Bogdanusa on Hvar and the Grk on Korcula.
Croatian wineries, around 1600, produce in the vast majority of cases natural winewhich, if handled well in the winemaking process, can undoubtedly turn into heavenly nectar.
The total hectares under vine are 24000 for a total production close to one million hectolitres and an export value of around 6 million euros