Nenad Trifunovic

5 Best Buy Organic Wines


Best Buy or Best Value are not necessarily the cheapest wines. These are wines that represent the best value for money. In the category of “natural”, non-interventionist, biological, or organic wines, prices are often a psychological category that justifies ideology rather than the quality or significance of the specific wine.

Below we have selected 5 Croatian wines that represent the best value for money in this category:

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1. Tomac Marany

Of course, white organic wines do not have to be amber/orange. Marany does not try to impress by superficially catering to the niche market in the sense of extreme maceration. Also, it was not created in an amphora in order to achieve a higher price on the market. Amphoras are a tool that the Tomac family believes in and with which they achieve globally recognisable results. And, in this case, globally competitive prices. Marany breaks prejudices against amber and amphora wines. Instead of hardness, there is finesse. Instead of weight, there is dynamic wine.

Marany is neither compote nor vinegar, just a little reminiscent of good cider perhaps, but also of blood orange, ginger, dried apricots, grapefruit and exotic spices. Clean and exciting, it achieves the stamp of the terroir, but also the clear signature of the winemaker. It’s not about a style statement but about the desire to make “natural” normal and accessible, despite the uncompromising quality.

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2. Miloš Plavac

The Miloš family is one of the first to work ecologically and traditionally truly, which is why they had to break through many barriers, primarily psychological. Today there are no more controversies, but the wines remain. Those wines, in possession of those lucky people who had the opportunity to keep wine bottles for the past 20 years or more, today are the best proof of how the vision of Frane Miloš was right.

The so-called “basic” Plavac Miloš, therefore not Stagnum, which is conceptually and also price-wise, designed to compete with the greatest wines in general; that elementary Plavac is today the “benchmark” of how Plavac can and should behave in a bottle.

How the recognizable aromatic profile, in which carob, dried figs, sour cherries, and above all medicinal herbs (sage) stand out, deepens over time and how the mineral, stony-earthy aspect persists. An authentic character in which the naturally lower acids do not disturb the balance, as well as the naturally elevated tannins of Plavec. In its youth, an almost impenetrable wine that needs so much time and air to open fully, much more than we expect from a wine of this price category.

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3. Kosovec Škrlet

Yes, Croatia is a land of sea and sun, but Croatia is also a land of hills and plains. Škrlet is not a wine for sea fish and olive oil but for pumpkin oil and continental cuisine. This is not true for all Škrlet on the market, but Kosovec had only one direction from the beginning, to define what Škrlet actually is, that local variety of the Moslavina subregion.

Currently, Kosovec makes beautiful red wines, such as Zweigelt and, especially, Frankovka. Nevertheless, his search for Škrlet is significant, and his path is full of obstacles.

Insistence on full phenolic maturity, combined with the tendency to achieve extremely dry wine, over the years gave Škrlete wines with high alcohol content. All these wines were balanced but still extracted to such an extent that the drinkability was burdened.

With the year 2020, Ivan Kosovec does not change his style that much. Of course, he still insists on spontaneous fermentations and not forcing the wine in the cellar, but the moment of harvesting has moved a bit earlier. It is not the influence of climate change because he continues to pick after everyone else, but a conscious desire to define the ideal Škrlet.

Conventional descriptors do not help when trying to describe the Kosovec Škrlet. A white wine with a medium body, pronounced dryness, refreshing acids, and balanced structure… it does not speak of an authentic character, of patinated fruit (quince, apple) and specific minerality. Seemingly familiar, yet utterly different from everything we know.

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4. Bunčić Voščice White

Avant-garde by all accounts. Completely unknown even in Croatia, however, Bunčić from the island of Vis has long been the choice of connoisseurs. His alchemy is certainly not born in the cellar but in the vineyard. The vineyard is located on Vis island in the field of Voščice. The varieties are local Kurtelaška, then Maraština, and Kuč.

Some crazy herbs mixed with saltiness and iodine, drinkability and complexity at the same time. Sage and immortelle in a grape squeeze do not immediately reveal everything to the impatient taster. With a bit of patience and tuning to a specific frequency, you will stop looking for turquoise beaches bathed in the sun of Vis.

You will begin to thirst for the karst fields of the interior, the infusion of medicinal herbs and Mediterranean stone, to wonder how such a thing is even possible in wine and, most of all, at such an acceptable price.

Julio Frangen photo

5. Bolfan Primus Natura

Truly uncompromising, Natura is a Traminac of spontaneous fermentation and 6-day maceration, aged for 3 years in a 500-litre wooden barrel, bottled unfiltered. However, what we can consider truly uncompromising is that it was created without added sulphur.

Who would have thought that Gewurztraminer, with naturally lower acids, is so alive and full of tension? Ripe quince, rose petals, and meadow honey dominates the rich aromatic profile. The tightening tannicity is in harmony with the fullness of the body. Overall harmonious and with exceptional ageing potential in the bottle.

Bolfan’s Primus Natura is unusually successful in pairing with various dishes, but especially with the menu of the restaurant within the winery itself, known for using only ingredients from local producers.

It is fair to say that this list is not exhaustive, and it is possible to supplement it with other Croatian wines. Nevertheless, in the context of exceptional value for money, the price factor makes these wines the ideal answer to the question – which is Croatia’s Best Buy Organic wines.

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