We wanted to share a little about Croatian wines to get you excited about your sailing holiday. Honestly, we could talk all day about wine – preferably with a crisp glass of wine in hand! Croatia truly has an incredible wine scene, and we are always excited for our guests to discover this. Contact us to book your Croatian sailing holiday or learn more. And, keep an eye out for our Red wine edition of this Croatian wine story.
White Wines to Try on Your Croatian Sailing Holiday
With more than 130 indigenous grape varieties, Croatia has an incredible wine scene that is still unknown and undiscovered by most. For such a small country with a small wine production, Croatian wines have won numerous world awards. We like to encourage our guests to try local wines as this is all part of the experience. Guaranteed, every week, our guests are thrilled with Croatian wines – we have had wine connoisseurs discover a new favorite wine, and many guests even send cases of wine home! So, we wanted to share a little about Croatian wines to get you excited about your sailing holiday (and wine tasting tour) in Croatia.
Pronunciation Cheat Sheet
Let us first introduce you to a few Croatian letters to help with pronunciation. While Croatian can sometimes be a tongue-twister, one great thing is that it is a phonetical language. So, once you understand the sounds of the letters, you can pronounce the words well.
Č or Ć – sound like 'ch' in English, as in “cheers”.
J – is the equivalent of a 'Y' in English, as in “young wine”
Š – is like 'SH' for “Shiraz”
Ž – is a soft sound, like the 'S' in “pleasure” or the 'J' in “Bonjour”
And here is a Croatian word to learn for your trip – ŽIVJELI (cheers)!
Let’s start with Pošip, the Queen of Dalmatian white wines. Pošip is indigenous to the island of Korčula but grows in abundance throughout Dalmatia, and can be found on most Dalmatian islands. Pošip is characteristically a dry wine with high alcohol content, expect notes of citrus or stone fruits. This wine is brilliant young and fresh, it also ages well. Oak-aged Pošip creates a richer and more complex palate, similar to an oaked chardonnay with caramel and vanilla tones. Pošip pairs well with grilled fish and seafood, an oaked Pošip can also be served alongside rich dishes like Octopus. Notable wines and winemakers to try are PZ Pošip Čara, Pošip by Mike Grgich, Korta Katarina or Zlatan Otok.
Wineries: We highly recommend visiting the Korta Katarina winery or Saints Hills on Pelješac, or the gorgeous Zlatan Otok on island Hvar, three world-class wineries.
Vugava is an indigenous grape to island Vis which has made a resurgence in recent years. Vugava is rumoured to be related to Viognier and shares similar characteristics. Vugava is a dry, full-bodied wine with low acidity and minerality, and high sugar content. Vugava has a deep honey colour, while the palate is well-balanced with notes of apricot and apple. Vugava can be enjoyed with seafood dishes or white meat. If you do a tour of Vis, you will come across numerous small, family-run wineries; stop in to try this wine and get a feel for the local culture. Note: people from Vis are known for their hospitality and probably won’t let you leave without trying some local food too!
Grk is a unique grape and story, it only grows in the town of Lumbarda on the island of Korčula (just outside Korčula town). It is said that Grk was brought to Korčula by the Greeks – hence the name, alternatively, that it got its name from ‘gorak’ which means sour. Either way, it is a unique and rare wine worth trying. Grk is a dry wine with high sugar and balanced acidity. Grk has a fruity palate with notes of pear and melon. Pairs well with cheese, salads, seafood or white meat dishes.
Experience: visit the Zure Winery on Korčula or have dinner at Konoba Ranch Maha, an eco-farm run by two brothers – enjoy peka and try Grk from Bire winery here.
The history of Debit is hard to pinpoint, as such it is thought that it might be an indigenous grape variety. Debit grows in the Šibenik region; it has strong aromatics, reminiscent of pinesap and croutons. On the tongue, Debit has good acidity, a chalky mineral profile with kiwifruit, and hints of vanilla. Debit shares similar characteristics with Sauvignon, Riesling and Chenin Blanc. Debit should be enjoyed young and pairs well with seafood or anything with sweet notes.
Winery: Bibich winery is the most well-known and acclaimed producer of Debit. Bibich is a family-owned winery with a 500-year-old history. Their wine and food pairing even left Anthony Bourdain speechless! When sailing this region, we recommend a wine and food pairing at Bibich winery.
Even though most choose to sail Dalmatia, it doesn't mean you are limited to wines from Dalmatia, be sure to try Malvazija (Malvasia) from Istria too. This grape has won numerous awards on the world stage; it can be fruity and fresh, or oak-aged Malvazija has beautiful depth and complexity.
Try: Sv. Jakov Malvazija from Clai winery. Giorgio Clai’s wines can be found in top New York and San Francisco restaurants. Margaret Rand even included it in her ‘101 Wines to Try Before you Die’ – an incredible endorsement.
My oh my, so many great wines to try!
Honestly, we could talk all day about wine – preferably with a crisp glass of wine in hand! Croatia truly has an incredible wine scene, and we are always excited for our guests to discover this. The crew on our yachts have excellent wine knowledge and wines aboard; of course, we can get aboard any wines you wish but we suggest you give Croatian wines a chance. From your preferences, the crew can also match the flavor profile of your favorite wines to local wines. If the food and wine scene here could wow Anthony Bourdain when he visited Croatia, we are sure it will meet, if not – exceed, your expectations. Contact us to book your Croatian sailing holiday or learn more. And, keep an eye out for our Red wine edition of this Croatian wine story.