Did you know there are already over 140 registered producers of sparkling wines in Croatia, with over 500 various domestic and foreign labels available in stores? There is no doubt this is one of the fastest growing segments of the wine industry.
Hence the decision of organisers Dražen Lazić and Dean Radinović to start a new, specialised wine festival Zagreb Bubbles is not surprising. Devoted to sparklings, it takes place in the Klovićevi Dvori Gallery and on the Gradec plateau.
One of the inaugurating wine workshops was, in mine and the opinion of many, truly historical. The workshop was I love Stars: Sparklings from Plešivica, where we tasted, under the maestro guidance of the renowned wine connoisseur Ivo Kozarčanin and sommelier par excellence Filip Savić, 11 sparklings and one base wine for sparklings. From Plešivica, of course.
Regardless of the respectability and the 100 presenters which included the foremost sparkling wines available on the Croatian market, including 15 sparkling wine producers, the biggest event was the first joint appearance of the bubbles maestros from Plešivica who are undoubtedly leading the production of sparklings in Croatia. All of them through the classic method. The six of them from wineries Tomac, Šember, Kolarić, Kurtalj, Korak and Jagunić, presented their best sparklings.
Some of them, such as Tomac and Šember, are veterans of sparkling production on Plešivica, while other like Korak built their name on still wines, but are now seriously heading into the sparkling story. In any case, all the sparklings were excellent, balanced and very different, made from various and often old Plešivica varieties. They included the Three Stars by Jagunić, Rosé and Dri Brut Kurtalj, Rosé and Brut Šember, Coletti Rosé and Brut Nature, Tomac Diplomat and Amfora Brut Nature; Rosé and Brut Nature Korak.
What is important and historical is the fact this was the first time the best winemakers from the leading Croatian sparkling region came together, the region being dubbed “little Champagne,” just like it happens with the Italian region Franciacorta. Considering the tasting was also attended by Jaska Mayor Zvonimir Novosel, there is a realistic chance these producers join into a consortium, define and set certain standards and aid each other in branding and better placement on domestic and international markets. Can we begin to dream of geographic origin protection of this truly quality sparkling wine, which in its best versions can be on par with champagnes in quality?