New to Croatian wines? Here are 7 things you need to know
We’ve all been there…wanting to taste new wines from a previously unknown region or country, not knowing where to start and what to look for!
Croatia might be a small country, but it has a long history of winemaking that goes back to the ancient Romans and Greeks for several centuries BC.
Fast forward to the 21st century: literally, thousands of wines are produced in Croatia yearly. Here are some useful tips we would like to share with a newbie interested in tasting Croatian wine to avoid the paralysis of choice and ensure that your Croatian wine experience is loved at first sip.
You know what they say; there is only one chance to make a good first impression. So here is our guide to help you have the best first impression of Croatian wines.
Discover the main Croatian wine regions
Croatia can be divided into two main geographical and, thus, wine subregions: Continental Croatia (Kontinentalna Hrvatska) and Coastal Croatia (Primorska Hrvatska).
Of course, it pays off to remember that this is a rough simplification. Each Croatian wine in our webshop, just beneath the country of origin, will state the name of one of the four main wine regions:
- Istria and Kvarner wine region,
- Dalmatia wine region,
- Croatian Uplands wine region,
- Slavonia and Danube wine region.
That way, you can filter them out by this or many other criteria. Our map will help you.
Despite generally connecting Coastal Croatia with the popular Croatian red variety Plavac Mali and Continental Croatia with the white variety Graševina, every region has outstanding white and red wines, rose and amber/orange, and dry and sweet, still and sparkling.
Because Croatia is the homeland of both world-renowned red and white native varieties, you should look no further if you are interested in tasting some of the best Croatian wines. Many of the finest Croatian winemakers started regrowing native varieties; the results are impressive.
Let’s name some of Croatia’s most popular grape varieties:
Plavac Mali is a red grape variety that reigns supreme in the Dalmatia wine region. It boasts high tannins and alcohol content but can yield exceptional wines. The best appellations for this drop are from Dingač, Postup in Pelješac peninsula, and Ivan Dolac on Hvar. Komarna region has amazing Plavac mali wines as well. Our team curated some of the best Dingač wines produced by renowned Pelješac winemakers and a special selection of Plavac Mali wines from Dalmatian boutique wineries.
Pošip is the most planted Dalmatian white variety. Pošip provides fruit for a structured white with age potential for cellaring, and it can also be a very useful fruit-forward refreshment. The best ones have nice acidity, fruity aromas, and a nice round body and are very good on the back end, with a lovely mouth feel. Check out our hand-picked selection of outstanding Pošip wines.
Crljenak (known as Zinfandel and Primitivo) is the parent grape of Plavac Mali and the original Zinfandel. We covered an amazing story about its origins, and it’s not to be missed. Check out our Croatian Zinfandel wine case if you have difficulty deciding which one to try first!
Malvasia Istriana is the best varietal from Istria. Fresh, light, aromatic, and aged in oak or amphoras, it’s perfect all year round. Check out our Istrian white wine case, and have a mind-blowing wine tasting.
Graševina is one of the most popular and most planted Croatian white variety. Although it carries a bunch of synonyms, Croatian winemakers proudly state that this variety shows the best results in Slavonia and Danube region. And it indeed does! That’s why we have an amazing and diverse selection of Graševina wines.
Teran is a native Istrian red. This unique and vigorous red variety showcases amazing health benefits. To savor this exquisite wine, watch for bottles produced by these winemakers. Our team prepared an Istrian red wine case if you want to taste the best from this region.
Learn how to pronounce Croatian wines
For those unfamiliar with the language, pronouncing the names of some of the 130 Croatian native wines can be a daunting task, but fear not! After reading this guide and indulging in some Croatian wines, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge of a true wine connoisseur and will confidently order your next glass of white, red, or bubbly on your Croatian wine-cation!
Even if some wine names may appear unpronounceable to non-Croatians, this video will help guide you through and add an extra layer of enjoyment to your Croatian wine-tasting experiences.
Visit some of the most renowned Croatian wineries
If you’re interested in visiting some of the most renowned Croatian wineries, you’re in for a delightful experience in a country known for its beautiful landscapes and excellent wine.
Croatia has a rich winemaking tradition with diverse grape varieties and unique terroirs that produce high-quality wines.
Croatian wineries offer a glimpse into the rich winemaking heritage of Croatia, and many of them also provide wine-tasting tours, allowing you to enjoy the flavors of the region while surrounded by stunning landscapes.
Stay in top Croatian wine hotels and winery accommodations
With its plethora of charming villas, luxury wine hotels, and rustic winery cottages, Croatia is home to some of the most unique and unforgettable accommodations.
These unique wine hotels and wineries offer unforgettable experiences and are the perfect way to explore Croatia’s wine regions.
Many Croatian winemakers provide an authentic and immersive experience that includes gourmet restaurants, luxurious stays, and top-quality wine and food pairings, making it a popular destination for wine lovers and travelers seeking an unforgettable adventure. Croatia offers plenty of options if you’re looking for a wine-focused vacation.
Visit the most unique Croatian vineyards
While staying in some of the best Croatian wine hotels and accommodations, why not visit unique Croatian vineyards? Each region offers breathtaking sceneries, although some are more dramatic and diverse than others.
From Pelješac peninsula and its famed Dingač and Postup appellations to Istria, Croatian Uplands, and Slavonia and Danube region, there are plenty of breathtaking vineyards to visit and enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of awarded Croatian wines!
Visit top Croatian wine festivals and events
Whether you’re seeking grand-scale festivities complete with mouth-watering cuisine, live music, various activities, or intimate wine tastings, there is something for every wine lover during a Croatian wine-focused trip.
With our ultimate guide to Croatian wine festivals and events, you can plan a visit to the hottest festivals and events held in this beautiful country. The best way to taste and learn about Croatian wines is to visit some amazing events and speak with winemakers. Up close and personal!
Cheers — or as we say in Croatia – Živjeli!