Have you ever looked at the wine list at the restaurant or read a wine review in the paper and thought â€˜What the heck is that all about?â€™ how can wine be so complicated and varied in price. Itâ€™s a simple choice; red or white wine, right?
The world of wine is a complex place full of different grape varieties, grown in different climates with different vineyards and growing conditions. To confuse you further, there are the expertise of the different wine makers adding their magic to create different flavours. This can all be quite overwhelming.
Over the coming weeks we will be demystifying the world of Croatian wine for you. You will gain a fantastic understanding of what our wines have to offer and why it should be your next choice.
To start us off letâ€™s look at the queen of Croatian wine – GraÅ¡evina
Croatians affectionately refer to GraÅ¡evina as the queen of Croatian wine and itâ€™s easy to see why. GraÅ¡evina grapes are very well suited to the climate and soil conditions, particularly those found in the Slavonian region where you find our vineyards. These cooler soils and Continental climate result in the finest harvest and wines with an amazing minerality, truly special.
The soil and climate of continental Croatia results in richer wines with more flavour, who wouldnâ€™t want that?
If you are a fan of Riesling or Chenin Blanc varieties, GraÅ¡evina is the grape for you. It offers fruity, flowery sweet characters with fresh, citrus and crisp green apple. Often harvested late, you will find a glimmer of Botrytis (Noble rot) adding hints of honey.
What the experts say
We have tasted many GraÅ¡evina wines and have selected some of the best for you. Here is what the experts fromÂ jancisrobinson.comÂ had to say about some of our Croatian wines.
Lime and sunflower seeds on a fragrantly pure nose that reminds me very much of a young Trocken German Riesling. So delicate! It seems to float in the mouth. Not long, not complex, but delivers a great deal of simple, perfectly formed flavour and palate-cleansing freshness. Just a little kernel of lemony pith on the finish which gives it the right amount of bite.
Nuttiness and something chalky and a little green â€“ as if someone has just blitzed up a pesto with cobnuts and tarragon and lovage with a dash of chalk dust! A little bit of sweetness on the palate (bit of residual?), tinged with herbaceous/grassy flavours. Tiny bit of chew. Feather light but with a wonderful tactile sensation â€“ chalk dust, again. Something floral lingers on the end. A bit more length than the Feravino GraÅ¡evina.
Cool, lemon-scented, early-morning, crushed-bay-leaf fragrance. Crystalline palate, spiked with sage and verbena, more tension than the Feravino and Papak GraÅ¡evina. Soft edges, but at the same time there is a sharp spine, a stoniness, that carries through to the end. Stony texture as well. Then powdery finish. Lovely twist of gently bitter pith, citrus and stones right to the finish. After a couple of days some soft blossom develops on the palate and nose. This tastes very youthful still!
GraÅ¡evina is a well-balanced wine as it offers crispy fruit and is dry on the palate whilst still offering sweet tones. Perfect to enjoy with most foods.
So, what to eat it with?
GraÅ¡evina goes well with almost everything. Last week Croatian celebrated the bread weak, so our pick of the week is local pastry.
This classic Croatian Bread is very simple to make and will accompany your Croatian wine perfectly.
Why not give making it a go â€“ here is a recipe we have tried and tested.
1 kg flour
40g fresh yeast, you can get fresh yeast from a supermarket bakery counter; alternatively you can use 2 sachets of dry yeast
200 mil milk
300 mil plain yoghurt
100 mil sunflower or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
250 g baking margarine or butter
- Put the yeast and sugar into warm milk, let the yeast rise
- Combine flour, salt and baking powder.
- Add oil, yoghurt and yeast.
- Now bring together to make a soft dough using your hands. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 mins.Â **TIP – It is worth putting in the time to do this as it will pay off later with lovely airy bread. Donâ€™t keep adding flour, a wet dough is better than a dry one, which will bake to a tough texture, so if you donâ€™t like the dough sticking to your hands, lightly oil them. If you are adding flavourings, knead them in gently now.
- Once the dough is ready, separate it into 16 balls. Roll each one into a circle disk.
- Layer the circular disks on top of each other, spreading margarine or butter on top of each layer except the very top one.
- Roll out into a large round circle, like a large pizza and cut into 20-24 triangles. Roll into a croissants shape. **You could add some ham and cheese to your croissants to make them even more enjoyable, but this is optional.
- Place on a baking tray and let it rest for an hour.
- Just before baking, brush the croissants with bitten egg,
- Bake at 200c for 20 min
Alternatively, this Croatian wine works really well with delicious chicken dishes and any fish. If you donâ€™t feel brave enough to try our bread, you can always cook up a simple sea bass dish which will be ideal with our GraÅ¡evina and can be foundÂ here
Donâ€™t forget to check out our vineyard tours if you want to see the vineyards for yourself and maybe sample this wine with traditional food pairings.