Written by: Saša Špiranec
Why? Firstly, Graševina is abundant in the market and the vineyards, so a favorable price is a logical sequence. Secondly, it is grown mostly in Slavonia and Danube Region where vineyards are larger and cultivation costs smaller. Thirdly, the consumption of wine in Slavonia is smaller than in other regions so winemakers from the area are forced to play by the rules of traders and distributors who are always aiming to lower the price. With Malvazija and Pošip wines, the other two most popular varieties after Graševina, the situation is different. Many are sold directly through tourism at the wineries, are not dependent on stores and prices tend to be higher, with best buy wines rare. A similar problem is with Plavac Mali, but beyond that all other important varieties are actually available in quite favorable versions – if you give it some effort. Here is our overview and recommendations:
BUHAČ GRAŠEVINA LISKA 2016 - 35 KN
Buhač Winery has two Graševinas, this being the better and slightly more expensive one. Beyond Graševina, Buhač from Ilok also has great red wines, especially Merlot, the label that initially made them known. Buhač Graševina is a mild wine in alcohol, lively in acids and attractive in view of freshness and aromas.
BELJE GRAŠEVINA QUALITY 2016 - 35 KN
In the past several years, Belje has consistently been producing a great base Graševina available in almost all stores around Croatia. The premium Graševina labelled as superior is also a great wine at a moderate price, the winner of the Best Graševina in Croatia title at a competition in Kutjevo.
MARKOTA GRAŠEVINA 2016 - 30 KN
Markota Winery from Pleternica makes a line of great wines, with marketed red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, but their Graševina is an equally good wine still underrepresented. The process of affirmation and consumer trust is ongoing.
ILOK CELLAR GRAŠEVINA QUALITY 2016 - 30 KN
While the Kutjevo wine region is at the forefront in promoting Graševina, the Danube Region ahead in view of cheaper basic version, as they deliver good quality in that class. Leading the winemakers of the region are Ilok Cellars with a slightly richer wine than the competition.
LEGOVINA MALVAZIJA 2016 - 40 KN
The Legović family from Kaštelir is probably the Istrian leader in affordable basic Malvazijas. At blind tastings their Malvazija is always on par with renowned Istrian brands, although sometimes half their price. In view of the one-year fresh Malvazija, you cannot go wrong with this label.
VINA ISTRIA (AGROLAGUNA) MALVAZIJA 2016 - 35 KN
Formerly Laguna Malvazija is now Vina Istria Malvazija. The name has changed, but quality has not, despite enormous production and presence in almost all supermarkets. At tastings we have not come across one of disappointing quality. Fresh, clear and lovely Malvazija.
POŠIPS AND OTHER DALMATIAN VARIETIES
STINA GODIMENT 2016 - 50 KN
Godiment is a blend of Pošip, Vugava, Chardonnay and Viognier. It is a so-called B line of the Stina Winery, but still very good quality and one of the loveliest wines in this price range in terms of Dalmatian white wines. In style it can be described as a softer and milder version of Pošip.
BIRIN MARAŠTINA 2016 - 40 KN
Maraština is still the leading white variety of Dalmatia, but its position may soon be compromised by the upcoming Pošip. If there were more Maraštinas of this quality, it may fight off its more popular cousin. The best Maraštinas (also known as Rukatac) come from the Šibenik and Zadar area, and Birin’s is a leading one.
OTHER WHITE VARIETIES
KALAZIĆ CHARDONNAY 2016 - 35 KN
Kalazić cultivates many varieties and different ones shine from harvest to harvest. However, the Chardonnay form this basic line with a lock on the label is the most stable wine in view of the price-quality ratio of this winery. Although they have two more lines of ambitious wines, this Chardonnay can be an everyday wine with lunch.
KUTJEVO CHARDONNAY 2016 - 45 KN
Kutjevo Company could be found in many categories and varieties in this selection as their Graševina is equally as good as their Pinot Gris, Traminer, Pinot Noir and other varieties, however, they are usually slightly more expensive than the competition, so we have singled out this Chardonnay whose quality has put it in front of the competition.
BELOVIĆ SAUVIGNON 2016 - 40 KN
The best Sauvignons are grown in the north of Croatia, Croatian Highlands, however most Sauvignons with a good price/quality ratio come from a small space in upper Međimurje. Those from Plešivica or Zagorje are more expensive. Among the Međimurje winemakers, Belović Winery holds the best Sauvignon quality.
ORAHOVICA GREEN SILVANER SUPERIOR 2016 - 45 KN
Orahovica Winery had its ups and downs in view of quality, but for two harvests in a row they have made an excellent Green Silvaner, their leading variety made in three quality lines. This middle one labelled as superior is an impressive wine which could cost twice as much.
TRDENIĆ ŠKRLET PRIVATE COLLECTION - 40 KN
Škrlet wines should be a must have of any wine selection for spring and summer as their freshness and drinkability are refreshing and unburdening, while maintain quality. There are many Škrlet producers in Moslavina with similar quality and price, but this time we chose the most ambitious label of the Trdenić Winery.
KIRIDŽIJA PLAVAC MALI 2016 - 39 KN
With basic everyday Plavac wines, plentiful at this price range, quality form harvest to harvest or even series to series in the same harvest can vary greatly with many winemakers. Thus it is good to choose the dependable Kiridžija whose wines rarely disappoint and whose Plavac wines have the unique taste and richness of the variety.
SKARAMUČA DINGAČ 2013 - 70 KN
In the class of ambitious Plavac wines form the best positions such as Dingač, Postup, Ivan Dolac, Murvica and others, there are not many under 100 kuna, and among those the best in quality is the Skaramuča Dingač. At only 70 kuna you can taste the authentic Dingač terroir, quality equal to Plavac wines of twice the price.
RITOŠA TERAN 2015 - 60 KN
The popularity of Teran as a variety rapidly grew after the conflict with Slovenia over rights to use the name of the variety. After a positive outcome, sales have blossomed for Istrians and the prices of the good ones are not even close to favourable, but Ritoša Winery manages to set a favourable ratio for consumers, offer good quality for a moderate amount.
VINA ISTRIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - 40 KN
Red wines such as Cabernet, Merlot and Teran are in Agrolaguna even more dependable that the Malvazija we mentioned. The reason is their own vineyards with good quality and fine selection, as well as their position in moderate and warm climate, ideal conditions for Bordeaux varieties.
DIKA FRANKOVKA 2015. - 45 KN
Feravino is the leading winery in Croatia for the Frankovka variety. They are good in other varieties too, from Graševina to Syrah and Cabernet, but Frankovka is their brand and they devoted themselves to it. In the Miraz line there is a better Frankovka than this on from the Dika line, but Dika offer an ideal ratio, without losing anything in juiciness and lively fruitiness of the variety.
Translated from Jutarnji List.