Wine & More

First International Tribidrag Conference in Split – April 27.-28.

You may know Tribidrag under different names, depending on the country where it’s grown. You can find it under the name Primitivo in Italy or, more popular, Zindfandel in the United States. But they all share the same origin, here in Croatia. The conference is focused on exploring all of the possibilities of this indigenous and almost extinct variety in Croatia.

Tribidrag Wine Tasting – Photo: Martina Miličević

Tribidrag is perhaps the most widespread indigenous Croatian grape variety and the one that has significantly contributed in putting Croatia on the global wine scene. While America celebrated Zinfandel and the Italian Primitivo achieved recognizably – Croatian Tribidrag almost got lost from Croatian vineyards.

Professor Edi Maletić explains that the reason is mainly a “less disease resistant grape variety compared to his offspring, Plavac Mali, that had replaced him in the vineyards”. 10 years ago, one couldn’t find any Trbidrag wine on the Croatian market, but thankfully today, we see around 15 producers that are successfully growing and producing Tribidrag wines.

In Croatia, Tribidrag is also called Crljenak Kaštelanski – so you’ll often find that name on the label.

As a variety, it’s is capable of producing wines with lot of character, mighty with pronounced fruit aromas and even delicate, flower aromas. We found it at the recent Tribidrag tasting, organized by the “I am Tribidrag” asscociation, behind the First International Conference about Tribidrag.

The oldest example we tasted was Zlatan Crljenak from 2011, which shows the ageing potential of this variety.

Vuina Crljenak Štafileo 2013. with 14,5 % alc. is concentrated, extracted wine seasoned with spices, black pepper. It was an extremely generous sip from the vineyards located in Kaštel Štafilić, and one of the favourites at the wine tasting we attended.

Trbidrag (Crljenak Kaštelanski) Wine Tasting – Photo: Martina Miličević

As a variety, Tribidrag ripens unevenly, making it harder to produce compared to its offspring Plavac Mali. The quality of the grape is different, has mainly fruit character and holds acidity very well. Because of its thin skin, the grapes aren’t so resistant to diseases in the vineyard.

Winemakers needs to put a lot of effort in the vineyard, to produce well balanced wines from this variety. That makes it a challenge, but when you see the results, you can imagine why it’s worth it.

A bottle of Crljenak Kašetalnski or Tribidrag always comes with the premium prices.

The Stina winery, from the island Brač, is also one of the notable producers of Crljenak. We tasted and compared two vintages, 2013 and 2012. The 2013 vintage is young and refreshing wine, with red fruit character on the nose. We especially enjoyed the “sea touch” found in the 2012 vinatge. The salty aromas of sea shells and clams went perfectly with the character of Crljenak in the bottle. A very interesting producer!

Split Croatia – Photo:

“I am Tribidrag” conference will take place in Split, the second largest city in Croatia. Metropolitan vibe by the sea, a city where historic UNESCO sites meet urban wine bars and restaurants. Split abounds in cultural manifestations, open–air concerts of both classical and modern music to which the centuries–old monuments serve as an impressive stage setting.

As a main port for leaving the land for some of the vibrant Croatian islands, like Hvar, Brač and Vis. Don’t miss that chance. Closest to Split, the island Brač is a home to wineriesStina and Senjković, both worth extending your vacation after the conference.


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