Croatia is a beautiful country nestled on the Adriatic Sea, part of the bigger coastline of the Mediterranean. Croatia is comprised of over a thousand islands and a large continental or mainland region which is home to several vineyards. There are three main wine regions in the country of Croatia – Continental, near the capital of Zagreb, Istria – along the northern coast and islands and Dalmatia down toward the southern tip and its islands. Each of these regions has their own specific tastes and textures of wine. Here we have a look at all three.
One of the continental regions that is known for its impressive wines is the north eastern region of Slavonia. This area gets a cooler more continental climate that comes down from central Europe and across its diverse landscapes such as valleys, mountains and hills. Plains and river basins with the fresh waters of the Danube, Drava and Sava makes for ideal wine growing country with the Grasevina grape having been planted and harvested here for centuries resulting in some beautifully crisp, fresh white wine.
The largest peninsular region in the Adriatic, Istria is home to luscious weather and cool breezes from the sea. This region was once a part of Italy and it can be evidenced by not only the types of Italian grapes that are found throughout the vineyards but also in the Italian language being spoke throughout the town squares and in the markets. Moscato and Terrano, a controlled grape, are grown in the region with exceptional results in the red earth that is similar to that found in parts of Italy. This makes for Croatian wines from Istria having the level of quality and texture to rival the best Italian wines. For some of the best wines in the area, seek out the Coronica Winery where the grapes are bred with intense character and robust flavour, resulting in impressive wines of exceedingly high calibre.
This gorgeous coastline is home to a number of impressive vineyards that stretch from Zadar down to the area around Split. This area is known for the Babic grape, a Croatian grape that has been used for centuries to create delicious robust red wines with a hefty strength and delicious flavour. Generational vineyards scatter the region where grape growing and winemaking traditions have been passed down though families over time. This creates a rich wine history that is unrivalled in the area, with historic wine blends you are unlikely to find elsewhere. Small plots of grape vines are grown here in small plots surrounded with dry stone walls and the soil, while strange for grape growing, somehow works its magic and produces some of the most delicious grapes for wine you can find. For the best of the region, try to find wines by the Skradin and Bibic families – winemaking families for over 500 years.
So there you have a rundown on Croatian wines and where to find the best in the country. Any trip to Croatia isn’t complete without trying at least one or two of their famous wines, varieties that you are unlikely to find elsewhere in Europe without at least a good hefty hunt through wine stores.