Žlahtina – Wine that’s hard to pronounce, yet so easy to drink
The very word Žlahtina [ʒlah-ti-na] makes people thirsty. Or, at least Croatians who like to quench their thirst with easy-drinking white wines. It has yet to be determined why exactly Žlahtina has become a so popular wine for this purpose. This is an ongoing discussion, especially with a bottle of Žlahtina on the table.
Žlahtina goes equally well with white meat or sheep milk cheese. Sheep milk cheese is especially good on the island of Krk, the largest Adriatic island, and Žlahtina is the island’s most planted variety by far.
It is an indigenous vitis vinifera which is cultivated almost exclusively in the vineyards nearby the city of Vrbnik.
Vrbnik is an old settlement with a rich history, which is today famous for its geographical feature – Vrbničkopolje (Vrbnik field). Vrbničko polje is a karst field, one of the karst phenomena that the Adriatic coast abounds in.
Vrbnik is situated in the northern Adriatic coast, in the wine region of Hrvatsko Primorje, so it combines the influence of colder climate with the Mediterranean sun.
As a result, Žlahtina is a wine of lively character and low alcohol levels, which often do not exceed 11.5% abv, so it is often drank as aperitif wine or paired with the first course. Its aromas are very subtle so it delights with its freshness.
Most of them are consumed in the first year or several years after the harvest and are traditionally served chilled to a temperature between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius.
Nowadays, most of this grape variety is cultivated in the aforementioned Vrbničko polje. In the past, only vegetable crops were cultivated there. With autumn approaching and possible heavy rains, Vrbničko polje would flood. To avoid harvesting in boats, drainage canals have been dug across the field.
It’s color ranges from pale and straw-yellow to bright yellow, depending on the vintage of a more fruity or floral, but the wine always has fresh primary aromas that go very well with traditional Croatian food. Žlahtina has come a long way from a local grape variety to an inevitable part of Croatian dining culture.
And last but not least, it is a very affordable wine 😉
If you want to try Žlahtina or something similar, check out our selection of Croatian white wines!
Did you know?
The wine’s name, Žlahtina, derives from the Old Slavic word “žlahten”, which stands for “noble”.
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