The Indigenous Grapes of Croatia: Zlatarica Vrgorska

By , 10 May 2017, 12:56 PM Grapes
Monika Prović/Facebook Monika Prović/Facebook

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Although we’ve written about around 30 Croatian indigenous wine varieties on our site, there are many more, as it is estimated that there are over 130 indigenous varieties in Croatia.

One of those 300, not widely popular or well known has also been making a type of a comeback in the past few years, and it’s called Zlatarica.

As we have seen before with Croatian wine varieties and their names, there’s a bit of confusion with this name as well. There are two indigenous varieties on the list of varieties maintained by the Faculty of Agriculture called Zlatarica: Zlatarica Blatska and Zlatarica Vrgorska. Zlatarica Blatska is a white wine variety indigenous to a Blato field on the island of Korčula and is currently planted on less than a hectare of vineyards, with just a several hundred vines currently producing grapes, and has not been making any significant comeback in the recent years. Its only “claim to fame” is the fact that, together with Bratkovina, another variety indigenous to Korčula, it is a parent to a much better known and respected variety, Pošip.

Zlatarica Vrgorska is the one that we have seen revived, with several winemakers working hard on bringing it back to the market, and making it popular within a wider audience, at least among those who appreciate local, indigenous wines. It is planted on over 20 hectares of vineyards (with the number increasing each year), and has recently been shown not to have any genetic link to Zlatarica Blatska, although the research done so far has not shown what its exact genetic linkage to other varieties is. The relatively narrow geographic region where it can be found is (of course) near Vrgorac, in the south of the Dalmatian inland. The yield can be quite high, it’s stable and Zlatarica grapes can produce quite high sugar content. Although it has rarely been made into varietal wine, as we mentioned, in the past few years several producers have been making varietal Zlatarica Vrgorska, and the resulting wine is fresh, with alcohol content around 12% and lovely acids, usually it should be enjoyed in a year or so after the harvest as it does not have a large potential for aging, and can be a perfect summer afternoon wine, or paired with chicken or similar dishes.

The producers currently promoting their Zlatarica wines (and they have joined forces and made a lovely promotion event in a restaurant in Zagreb a few days ago) are Prović Winery with their Livija wine, Grmoja, Gašpar and Prović wineries. They all presented their 2016 harvest Zlatarica, in an event organized by Women on Wine (WOW) association.

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