There are fascinating wines coming from the Balkans at the moment. No surprise given the history of wine cultivation there. Who can forget the beauty of the two thousand year old Ilyrian wine amphora discovered recently off the coast of Albania on a Roman wreck? Take a peek here if you haven’t [ http://bit.ly/nh8d4o ]. A touch patronising today then to be ‘discovering’ wines from the region but a recent tasting organised by Wines of Croatia, including a selection of forty odd wines chosen by the UK’s merry Wine Gang of journalists, showed how modern techniques, indigenous varieties and diverse terroirs are producing some brilliant wines. Certainly you wouldn’t want to miss out on the wild flavours of the red Plavac Mali grape or Pošip, a local white. Malvasia Istria also turns it hand at some tremendously refreshing, and occasionally weighty whites. You may not have herd of Crljenac but you’ll better know it as Zinfandel. Babić and Teran, a Refosco relative, can also produce very good reds.
Zlatan Otok makes some interesting wines on the Croatian island of Hvar. The white Pošip is pretty good and their Plavac Mali, in various guises, ranges from the meaty to the tannic. The Crljmenak [Primitivo] 2008 was also pretty good. I thought that Gracin made an interesting red from the Babić variety. I also had a look through the wines of Korta Katarina in southern Dalmatia – lively whites from the Pošip grape and gamey, forest floor Plavac Mail from Dingac and Postup. These wines are clearly only a fractional snapshot of what is going in Croatia.