Six of the Best Croatian White or Orange Wines in 2017

By , 12 Jan 2018, 17:39 PM Bottle Reviews
Six of the Best Croatian White or Orange Wines in 2017 Source: Pixabay

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The year behind us was a successful ones for Croatian wines, says sommelier Saša Špiranec

For example, at international competitions, especially the most significant ones such as Decanter and IWC, many medals were awarded from the most prestigious order, such as trophies, platinum or gold, which is not a consequence of a medal inflation or decrease in standards, but a confirmation of a constant growth of domestic wine quality in the past two decades. Even more, it seems that commission at such competitions are more rigorous and the number of samples keeps rising, with some countries in the Croatian neighbourhood did not manage to win any awards. The current high quality of domestic wines is also a consequence of good harvests in 2015 and 2016 which are dominating the market currently. Those harvests truly had plenty of ripe and healthy grapes for every winery. In such an abundance of highest quality wines, we’ve decided to single out 6 of the best white or orange wines, Jutarnji List published on January 11, 2018.

1. TOMAC AMFORA RAJNSKI RIZLING 2011. PRICE: 260 KN (VRUTAK)
The Tomac Winery has been a pioneer for a full 25 years. They have returned respect and reputation to Plešivica, once one of the most scorned wine regions of Croatia, together with several equally good winemakers. Their excellent sparklings affirmed that same wine region as the most wanted destination for sparkling production. They are pioneers in introducing biodynamic principles in vineyards and cellars. They were among the first to introduce fermentation and aging in buried amphorae into regular practice. Their excellent Pinot Noirs and Rhine Rieslings focused on a variety which in that chilly climate gives the best results. They were the first in the region to use a decent and modern bottle and packaging design and proved that this segment in the affirmation of a winery is equally important as the quality and authenticity of wine. In some of their wines they use grapes from old vineyards of mixed varieties, in an old tradition that could die out, saving both the tradition and old varieties. Their experimenting does not end. Their newest product of constant pushing of limits is a sparkling from amphorae which was listed in 2017 among 75 stellar buys by the British Decanter Magazine. Wine of the Year Rajnski Rizling Amfora 2011 embodies everything the Tomac Winery wants to state with their wines. It is a wine expression of the climate, untarnished tradition, knowledge and curiosity, respect for nature and a serious experience without which nothing good comes around. A more elegant wine that its many orange and macerated siblings, and yet so intensive and long, with a fine tannin edge and savour of late autumn pit fruit. It can be kept for decades and its value will only rise.

2. BENVENUTI MALVAZIJA ANNO DOMINI 2015. PRICE 144 KN (MIVA)
Just when we thought the ambitious winemakers from the Buje area have presented all the potential of Istrian Malvazija, came the discrete Benvenuti brothers from Motovun and without any pomp said – please, try this wine too. We did, and so did the IWC commission and said – this is the best white wine from Croatia in 2017. It is hard to disagree. The Benvenuti family clearly knows how to recognize the moment when freshness and ripeness are in ideal balance. They schooled it additionally in oak barrels for 24 months, previously macerated for 15 days and then bottled, with a life of up to ten years.

3. KRAJANČIĆ POŠIP SUR LIE 2015. PRICE 115 KN (VIVAT)
The man who elevated the Pošip variety to new heights is called Luka Krajančić, and the wine he did so with is Intrada. However, the crown of his work is this Sur Lie Pošip. Ripe and full wine with a texture of a creamy Chardonnay, but with authentic aromas of a Mediterranean island, ripe citruses and bushes. Generous when giving, shy when receiving, just like its author, the embodiment of a Dalmatian peasant world view. He works a lot, speaks in raptures and creates masterpieces such as this one. How can a wine be lavish and reserved at the same time? We don’t know, but if you try it, you will see it can.

4. CLAI MALVAZIJA SVETI JAKOV 2015. PRICE 190 KN (VINO.HR)
Grande Clai, as his friends call him, has outdone himself in this harvest and made his best Malvazija ever. As all other wines of this Istrian master, this too is a product of biodynamic cultivation and long maceration, which gives it an amber-orange colour, strong and hearty taste and scent of candied citruses, cider and yellow pit fruit. The tannin finish gives it a frame, and the rich aftertaste a savour which lasts long. A Malvazija with a lifespan of classic red wines up to ten years from harvest.

5. ANTUNOVIĆ GRAŠEVINA PREMIUM 2013. PRICE: NOT AVAILABLE
Graševina in Croatia has several faces, and the one nourished by Jasna Antunović Turk from the Erdut wine region on the Danube represents the admired ripe and aged version we often interpret as a late harvest, with fresh aromas such as apple or pineapple are pushed out by meadow flowers, ripe pears and quinces, with fantastic depth and complexity, as well as a freshness and roundness. A true small masterpiece equally valued by the commission of Decanter Magazine which gave it a platinum medal and 95 points.

6. KRAUTHAKER GRAŠEVINA PODGORJE (ŠAMPION) 2016. PRICE: 66 KN (KRAUTHAKER.HR)
The famous slanted label which was the beginning of the Krauthaker Winery in the early 1990s. The greatness of Krauthaker wines is that their leading label, with an exceptionally reasonable and unbeatable price in terms of price and quality, always serves a high quality. For over twenty years. This specific wine is the winner of a national competition of Graševinas taking place each year in Kutjevo. Its style is in the class of fresh Graševinas of regular harvests, those going best with seafood.

Translated from Jutarnji List.

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