Top 10 Croatian Sparkling Wines
Except for a few wineries in the Plešivica sub-region and the Peršurić family in Istria, almost no one made commercially available sparkling wines in Croatia some 15 years ago. However, the market for sparkling wines was continuously growing. Sparkling wines are now produced literally everywhere in Croatia: from Istria, through the Croatia Uplands region (where they have a longer tradition due to more beneficial climate influence for sparkling wine production), to Slavonia and Danube, even the warmest Dalmatia region. In this article, we uncover the top 10 Croatian sparkling wines!
Introduction to Croatian sparkling wines
Today, it is increasingly difficult to find a winery that does not produce or plan to start producing sparkling wines, whether made using the
- traditional (champagne) method or
- the tank method (Charmat), or
- the famous Pet Nat, with producers naturally hoping to benefit from the enormous global success of Prosecco.
Since sparkling wines are, technologically, quite a complicated product that is difficult to obtain in every climate zone, the results in some regions are more impressive.
Here is our list of the top 10 Croatian sparkling wines!
Tomac Amfora Brut Nature, Plešivica
The Tomac Winery is primarily responsible for promoting Plešivica as a region ideal for sparkling wine production. Each vintage of Tomac’s sparkling wine from amphorae is a spectacle, combining the power and depth of macerated wine with the elegance of top sparkling wines.
The Tomac family is probably the first in the world to produce sparkling wine from amphorae. Today, however, even some essential Champagne producers are experimenting with amphorae.
This innovation brought Tomac an honorary place in Decanter’s selection of the most important sparkling wines for 2016. Almost every lover of sparkling wine will recommend the Amphora sparkling wine if you ask them for a recommendation for a quality Croatian sparkling wine.
This sparkling wine is crafted with a perfect blend of Chardonnay and indigenous Plešivica varieties. Its luscious old gold hue is just the beginning, followed by a denser texture and an intense aroma that enchants your senses.
Using the traditional method, the wine was macerated for six months in clay amphorae, then aged for another 18 months in large oak barrels, resulting in an unparalleled depth of flavor. The wine boasts a rich combination of quince, tobacco, brioche, and toasted bread with a hint of oranges, all complemented by vivacious acidity.
Jagunić Three Stars Brut, Plešivica
Jagunić Winery is dedicated to producing amber (macerated) and sparkling wines, and they excel in this area. Their wines are crafted skillfully. The winery’s dedication, years of experience, innovation, and professional development have resulted in some of Croatia’s finest sparkling and varietal still wines.
Three Stars will transport you there if you cannot visit Jagunić in person to see the scenic Plevišica hills. It is a sparkling wine created by blending the best grapes from three vineyards. With more extended aging on yeast, the traditional method gives this wine a serious character modeled after Champagne.
However, Jagunić’s vision and climate give it a delightful and drinkable taste for any occasion. This wine boasts a perfect harmony of acidity, alcohol, and sweetness.
Ivančić Griffin Zero, Plešivica
Ivančić-Griffin is a boutique winery producing sparkling wines from Rizvanac (Müller-Thurgau), Portugieser, and Chardonnay grape varieties. Their sparkling wines are among the best in the Plešivica region.
Zero sparkling wine is produced using the traditional method, with no added liquor or sugar, resulting in completely dry, complex, and creamy flavors. The base is made from carefully selected Chardonnay grapes grown at the best position in Plešivica, over 400 meters above sea level. The taste is dominated by caramel, butter, and vanilla, with citrus freshness in the background.
Puhelek Kraljica, Sv.Ivan Zelina
Family Puhelek Purek has been in the viticulture and wine production business for over a century. Their family winery is located on a hill in the Sveti Ivan Zelina region, just 40 minutes from Zagreb. The winery has a stunning view of picturesque landscapes, perpetually bathed in sunlight.
Puhelek Purek is widely recognized as the most renowned producer of Sauvignon Blanc in Zelina. Still, their most acclaimed wine is a sparkling wine made from the native Croatian variety Kraljevina. This sparkling wine is exceptional, with a short stay on the lees after a long fermentation, leading to notable light floral and honey aromas with a subtle hint of sweet spice, vanilla, and cloves.
Kota 267 Extra Brut, Croatian Uplands
Located in the Croatian Uplands region, the Kota Winery vineyards benefit from perfect conditions for growing high-quality grapes on the southern slopes of hilly and terraced terrain. In two hectares of land, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are grown. Each bottle is marked with the altitude and name of the vineyard where it was grown, highlighting the attention to detail and care taken in the production process.
One of the winery’s standout products is its Extra Brut sparkling wine, made using the traditional method with Chardonnay grapes. It boasts a fruity aroma, high penetrating freshness, a creamy champagne texture on the palate, and a fruity finish.
Meneghetti Brut Classic, Istria
Istria is a region with a rich tradition, and Meneghetti’s philosophy is based on the quality of life in harmony with the surrounding nature. The Meneghetti sparkling wine is powerful and intensely flavored.
This Istrian winery produces an intense, creamy wine using the classic method. Due to its pleasant, long-lasting finish and rich aroma, Meneghetti Brut Classic, made from Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc grape varieties, is a perfect example of a high-quality, elegant sparkling wine.
It is straw yellow with golden reflections and clear and complex aromas. At first, ripe fruits dominate – peach and pear – while the aromas of white flowers, acacia, citrus, hazelnut, and toast, with hints of yeast and brioche. It is creamy and well-rounded on the palate, with an elegant structure and excellently integrated bubbles.
Kabola Re, Istria
Kabola Winery is an Istrian gem in the picturesque northwestern Istrian peninsula, perched 275m above sea level. With breathtaking views of the stunning Alps and Dolomites on one side, the lush greenery of pristine nature, and a gorgeous sea panorama on the other, it’s easy to see why Kabola is a must-visit destination for wine lovers worldwide.
Their vineyards are situated near Momjan on rich clay soil filled with marl, which imbues their wines with special characteristics.
This sparkling wine has a subtle greenish-yellow color, a medium body, and a pleasant bouquet with notes of peach, pear, lemon peel, and freshly baked croissant. Dry yet soft and warm, it remains fresh and full-flavored with a long, balanced finish. With notes of fresh apricot in the aftertaste, Kabola’s wine is of excellent quality and harmonious.
Domaine Koquelicot Luna, Istria
Domaine Koquelicot may sound like a French winery, but it’s a fascinating tale of a Burgundy wine enthusiast, Olivier Ertzbischoff, and a Croatian native Jacqueline Marovac who teamed up to create their wine in Istria. The name of the winery is a modified version of the French word for poppy.
This amazing French-Croatian couple carefully selects grapes from local vineyards and processes them in their wine cellar in Gračišće.
Since Oliver is an enologist, an exceptional assortment of Chardonnay, Malvasia Istriana, and a combination of the two that beautifully combines the style of Burgundian white wines with the unique Istrian terroir, is being produced.
Among their impressive selection is their Blanc de Blancs – extra brut, made entirely from hand-harvested Chardonnay grapes. This wine has delicate bubbles, intense fresh fruit notes, and a slight brioche aroma. It finishes with an elegant minerality and long-lasting freshness, with no hint of acidity.
Misal, Millennium, Istria
The Peršurić family has been involved in the wine-making industry for more than five centuries. In the late 1980s, the founder of Misal’s line of sparkling wines, Đordano Peršurić, began working on his first sparkling wine as part of his research. By the early 1990s, he had produced the first hundred bottles.
Katarina and Ana, his daughters, joined the family business after completing their studies, primarily managing wine-making and marketing. However, they took over the winery entirely after their father passed away in 2015.
The most popular Misal sparkling wine, Millenium, is made from Malvasia Istriana grapes that undergo a minimum 12-hour maceration and age on yeasts for at least 12 months. Misal Millenium is a dry sparkling wine with fruity aromas, highlighted by green apple notes and acacia flowers. It has a fine structure and full body, with a pleasant freshness complemented by a gentle bitterness reminiscent of almonds.
Vislander Komiška bonda, island Vis
Vislander Winery prides itself on the unique story behind its wine, which reflects the difficult times faced by the people of the island of Vis. Their respect for history and terroir sets us apart. The Vislander story is of the islanders and their alliance with the British during World War II. In exchange for food, the islanders traded their Plavac wine grown on the perfect sand field terrain through sustained labor.
Meanwhile, their refreshing sparkling wine, made with native varieties Kuč as the base variety and Vugava added to the blend, opens fruity aromas of apricot and pear, harmonious taste, and long-lasting bubbles with playful acids and delicate fruit flavors. The finish features a subtle hint of roasted nuts.
Are you ready to experience a bubbly sensation like no other? Look no further than our expertly curated selection of the finest sparkling wines from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia.
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