Tag Archive | Croatia

A Happy New Year 2012 Message from Wines of Croatia

Dear friends,

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to believe. Another year has woven its winding path and is about to quickly disappear over the horizon. Yet I hope that somewhere along the way you found the time to stop and enjoy many of Life’s beauties and precious moments, glass of great wine in hand, and friends and loved ones by your side!

With that said, I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and to THANK YOU for your ongoing support, encouragement and friendship. It has truly been a wonderful journey so far! And I have no doubts that 2012 will bring us even better reasons to salute and celebrate the winemakers and wines of Croatia!

As always, I welcome your suggestions and feedback for the blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and website (yes, it will be completed in 2012 – I promise!). Remember, these pages are for you and for your enjoyment. So, I will be soon asking you for your ideas, comments and criticisms so that in the coming year we can serve you better.

In the meantime, enjoy the holiday celebrations – and please be safe!

May the New Year bring you much joy in your heart, sacred peace in your soul, passion and exuberance to your spirit, and vibrant health to your body! I hope that the days and months ahead bring you closer to your dreams and find you waking each morning with the excitement and lust that come from knowing that Life has a purpose, Love waits to greet you, and Opportunity and Success serenade you like the sweetest of songs.

I look forward to tasting our way down the wine roads of Croatia with you in 2012. “Sretna Nova Godina – and Živjeli!!!”


Cliff Rames

Founder, Wines of Croatia

Ensemble Vacations® Magazine Calls the Wines of Croatia “Worldly Delights”

In its Winter 2011 issue, Ensemble Vacations® Magazine features the wines of Croatia under the headline, “Worldly Delights”. The author, Alison Kent, goes on to describe Croatia as a “vibrant viticultural region” and a “country steadily gaining international recognition”.

Ensemble Vacations is a member-sponsored travel organization that “brings you a world of opportunity, presenting…experiences to spark your imagination and whet your appetite”.

To read a PDF copy of the article, please click the link below. Enjoy the article and feel free to leave your comments.

Link to article:  Winter11Vacations_Croatia

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up: December 18, 2011


In case you missed anything, here is a round-up of the past week’s links to the news articles, blog posts and videos that highlighted Croatia, its wine or wine culture.



1. Wine Enthusiast Magazine: Best of the Year 2011

December 1, 2011 (retroactively included)

Wine Enthusiast magazine includes Croatia on its list of the “Best of Year 2011″ under the 2011 Highlights in Travel, noting Croatia’s “rich winemaking traditions”.


 2. Pacta Connect: Two Gems Visit Two Gems of Istria

December 6, 2011 (retroactively included)

U.K. wine bloggers Denise Medrano and Niamh Shields discover the wines and food of Istria. 


 3. By the Tun: How to Read Croatian Wine Labels

December 13, 2011

Is that the name of the region? The grape? The producer? The protected geographical area? @ravenoustravelr gives us a brief lesson on the quirks of Croatian wine labels. 


 4. Meininger’s Wine Business International: Croatia Makes Headway

December 13, 2011

In-depth regional analysis of Croatia and its wine by Darrel Joseph in Meininger’s Wine Business International (via the Blue Danube Wine Company blog).



5. Total Hvar: Hvar Wine from a Hvar Character, Andro Tomic

December 14, 2011

Profile of Hvar winemaker and “Bon Viveur” Andro Tomic.


 6. Jancis Robinson: Croatia – Land of Opportunity

December 14, 2011

World renowned wine writer and expert, Jancis Robinson, calls Croatia the “land of opportunity”. (Note: you must be a Purple pages subscriber to access the full text).

7. Brava Wine Blog: Wine 3 – On the Third Day of Croatian Vino

December 14, 2011

An introduction to the newest wine from Roxanich, 2008 Ines u Bijelom – a skin macerated field blend of Istrian-grown white grapes.


8. Taste of Croatia: Best of Croatian Wines Under 60 KN

December 15, 2011

A few suggestions from the Taste of Croatia team for budget-friendly Croatian wines to try this Christmas with family & friends.


 9. Wines of Croatia Blog: A Very Donkey Christmas – Vinarija Dingac 2005 Postup

December 17, 2011

Sharing a little holiday cheer, inspired by our friend the Donkey.



P.S. We love to hear from you!

If you have comments or other news to share, please comment on this post or email us at info@winesofcroatia.com


A Very Donkey Christmas: Vinarija Dingač 2005 Postup


Okay – just a quick post to share some happiness and holiday cheer. A couple nights ago I brought a bottle of the Vinarija Dingač 2005 Postup to the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at the Plaza staff holiday party. The wine, made from the Plavac Mali grape, was well loved by my colleagues who tried it. Mind you, this is a group that is accustomed to being around and drinking Grand Cru Bordeaux. Said one colleague, “I’m surprised by how smooth it is. It’s really delicious.”

(photo courtesy of Blue Danube Wine Co.)

Yes, the wine showed really well. Elegant and poised yet intensely aromatic on the nose. The light, translucent garnet color betraying its bold notes of dried fig, dusty dried cherry, black olive, iodine, wet limestone, and hint of black truffle. Oh yeah – and that alluring yet all-too-familiar hint of barnyard (our Dalmatian friend, Brett), faint but distinct, adding just the right amount of Old World charm.

At 6 years old, the fruit remained intact, the tannins softened, the wine “so smooth” that it simply slipped too easily down the gullet, leaving a medium, cocoa dust, dried fig and cherry, and seaside mineral finish.

As often is the case with the Donkey and similar Dalmatian wines, this style evokes in my mind images of dining at one of the many open air cafes and restaurants along the Adriatic Sea on Croatia’s Dalmatian coastline. On the table: local prosciutto and cheeses, olives, grilled Adriatic squid, seafood risotto, stewed chard, fresh tomato salad, and crusty bread….

In the background, a troupe of local “Klapa” singers sing songs of the sea, olive picking, lost love, and the beauties of Dalmatia. In the sky, the powdery white path of the Milky Way stretches across the heavens with a vibrancy unknown to many city-dwellers. The air is scented with sea salt, fig leaf, wild herbs, and wood-fires that roast fish to perfection. All is perfect, especially when the wine – made from Plavac Mali or other indigenous grapes – goes down as easy as this Postup.

(BTW: Postup is the name of the geographically-protected area on the Peljesac peninsula where the Plavac Mali grapes were grown. More on that at another time.)

Postup appellation on the Peljesac peninsula (in red)

Too bad then that the Vinarija Dingač 2005 Postup wine is SOLD OUT on the U.S. market. Justifiably so, it seems. Like real donkeys in Dalmatia, this donkey wine is a rare beast: only limited quantities are imported to the U.S.

But fear not, a new batch of Vinarija Dingač wines are on the way and should be available from Blue Danube Wine Company very soon. But if you really need a Plavac Mali wine for your holiday table, other options are available: according to its website, Blue Danube still has limited quantities of Dingač Vinarija 2006 Dingač, Bura-Mrgudić 2007 Dingač, Bura-Mrgudić 2007 Postup, PZ Svirče 2006 Ivan Dolac, Miloš Plavac, Miloš Stagnum, Zlatan Plenković Zlatan Plavac 2007 Barrique or 2007 Grand Cru, and Saints Hills Dingač. Please check with Blue Danube regarding holiday shipping possibilities and times!

In the spirit of the faithful Donkey, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and wondrous holiday season, with many warm memories and exciting dreams inspired by a perfect glass of wine.

To help you get in the spirit, enjoy this video (below) called BOŽIĆ NA MORU (Christmas on the Sea).


-Cliff Rames

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up: December 11, 2011

In case you missed anything, here is a round-up of the past two weeks’ links to the news articles, blog posts and videos that highlighted Croatia, its wine or wine culture.

1. Wines of Croatia Blog: Cliff Rames – The Champion of Croatian Wines

November 30, 2011

An in-depth interview with Wines of Croatia founder, Cliff Rames, in “Croatia – A Fortnight in Review”. 



2. Soapbox: The Newest Wine We Are Crazy About

November 30, 2011

Soapbox, “a digital magazine written by chefs” names Pilizota Babić as its “NEWEST WINE WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT”.


3. Come for the Wine: Pilgrimage to Pag – Land of Paski Sir

November 30, 2011

Wine, food and travel blogger Marcy Gordon visits the island of Pag, “one of the most rugged and beaten down places” she’s ever visited.



4. Croatia Exclusive: Two Medals for Krauthaker Wines

December 2, 2011

Krauthaker winery wins two medals at the international Merlot competition “Mondial du Merlot” in Lugano, Switzerland.



5. Wines of Croatia Blog: Croatian Wine Story DVD Now Available in North America

December 5, 2011

Looking for that perfect holiday gift for your favorite Croatian wine lover (or yourself)? A new, beautifully-filmed DVD from the wine roads of Croatia is now available.



6. By the Tun: Talking Croatian Wine with Dolores Milicic

December 6, 2011

Talking Dingac, Croatian Wine, Donkeys, and Why Tasting Fees Shouldn’t Exist.


7.  Wine Enthusiast: Buying Guide – Croatian Wines

December 7, 2011

Croatian wines reviewed and rated in the new edition of the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide!

8. Blue Danube Wine Blog: Our Top 5 Wines in 2011

December 7, 2011

U.S. importer, Blue Danube Wine Company, compiled a list of its 5 Top selling wines of 2011. Find out here what they are and how many are from Croatia!

9. Manjada: An Unusual Teran from Butoniga Lake Terroir

December 7, 2011

Gogo reminds us why it is “always a good idea to leave half full bottle of red wine for tomorrow”.


10. Liveistria: What’s in a Bottle of Wine

December 8, 2011

Ever wonder what it’s like to work the harvest? To “toil under the Istrian sun, as generations have done before”? Find out the story behind what’s in a bottle of wine and check out this enjoyable read from LiveIstria.



11. Food Republic: Top 5 Emerging Wine Regions

December 8, 2011

Are you surprised? @foodrepublic names the Istria region of Croatia among its “five unexpected wine regions making a splash right now”!


12. Vinologue: Down in Smokvica at Jedinstvo PZ

December 9, 2011

Reviews of Jedinstvo PZ’s portfolio of Pošip wines.



13. Wines of Croatia Blog: Giving Thanks with Terzolo 2008 Teran

December 10, 2011

“Darth Vader dancing like Fred Astaire”? Find out what was going on when Terzolo Teran filled our glasses.

P.S. We love to hear from you!

If you have comments or other news to share, please comment on this post or email us at info@winesofcroatia.com


Giving Thanks with Terzolo 2008 Teran

Text and photos by Cliff Rames

In a recent packet of samples I received a bottle of Terzolo 2008 Teran – a wine I’ve never tried and about which I have been very curious (and heard good things).

As anyone who follows this blog already knows, I am a big fan of Teran and believe that it will be the next Big Thing to come out of Croatia – eventually taking its rightful place as one of the top three native red grape varieties in Croatia.

This particular Teran comes from a small family property near Nova Vas in the Istria sub-region of northern Coastal Croatia.

Istria as a wine region is most noted for its white wines, particularly the local indigenous variety, Malvazija Istriana. For more background information on the producer and the Teran grape, please see this post on the Blue Danube Wine Company’s website.

Roberto Terzolo (left) (photo courtesy of http://www.istrabiz.hr)

Originally I planned to drink the Terzolo Teran on Thanksgiving Day. I had actually included it in my original line-up of wines for the day’s festivities, as seen by the photo that I posted on Facebook (below).

However, the lavish and overwhelming nature of Thanksgiving dinner with my family got the best of me, and the wine ended up lost in the fray and was never opened that day. This was for the best, I think, because by the time we got around to it, I think everyone’s senses already would have been dulled and overwhelmed. As a result, the wine would have been underappreciated; simply tossed back without a thought.

So I rescued the bottle and returned it to my “pending” pile of samples until the right opportunity came along to open it.

It didn’t take long. A few days later I got around to reading Eric Asimov’s Thanksgiving-themed ARTICLE in the NY Times called “Giving Thanks for the Options” (“Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner” in the online edition). In it Mr. Asimov supports the notion of serving red wine with the Thanksgiving meal (as opposed to common wisdom and tradition, which often favors whites – and in my case, Riesling).

More specifically, Mr. Asimov insists that any wine – red or white – served with turkey, stuffing and dressing must be of a more “gentle” character (no big, bold reds) and offer “grace and refreshment” (in other words, fresh acidity).

All of this got me thinking about Teran again.

Lo and behold, that same evening my sister-in-law invited me to dinner. In offering to bring wine, I asked what she would be serving. She declared that she was preparing a “Little Thanksgiving”: stuffed turkey breast with roasted cauliflower and broccoli.

True to my suspicions – and confirming Mr. Asimov’s thesis, the Terzolo Teran was a perfect turkey wine. To begin with, who could not be impressed by its deep violet purple color, opaque and richly extracted, belying the vibrant freshness within?

On the nose, initial aromas of black cherry, kirsch and pomegranate juice gave way to developing hints of barnyard, cola, and savory black olive. Adding power and structure to the nose were alluring mineral notes of lead pencil and iron.

But be not fooled. As dense and deep as the wine appears and breathes, it is a vibrant fellow – imagine Darth Vader dancing like Fred Astaire. Swirling black cloaks and all the energy of the universe channeled and condensed into your wine glass.

Such is the magic of Teran. At once it can be dark and intense, dense and brooding, yet lively and elevating, giddy and somewhat precocious (and sometimes obnoxious if not made well). It can readily change disguises, showing characteristics of Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Rhone Valley Syrah, all in the same glass.

Turkey meat (it should be noted) has the odd habit of leaving a bitterly metallic aftertaste when paired with certain wines. Not the Teran. Every bite washed down deliciously. The wine practically sizzled on my tongue, its vibrancy cleansing the palate and inducing the appetite to march on. Crunchy bright red and black fruits were offset by smooth tannins, subtle cured meat smokiness, and savory mineral notes. Blood sausage came to mind.

My brother, taking a sip, paused, studied the bottle and asked, “What is this?” With him this is always a good sign. It caught his attention; he wanted to know more. Needless to say, the rest of the bottle went down remarkably easy and was soon relegated to the library of happy memories.

By the way, since we are on the subject of Teran, I will go ahead and make this prediction: Teran will one day become the second most important red grape variety in Croatia. It eventually may even challenge Plavac Mali for the Number 1 spot in terms of popularity among consumers (with Babic holding steady at Number 3).

Based on what I have tasted from Terzolo and other Istrian producers, Teran demonstrates convincing potential. I would argue that it could eventually be placed in the same league with Loire Valley reds, with Cru Beaujolais, or Italy’s food-friendly, northern reds (in fact, it reminded me of an excellent Sagrantino I recently tried).

Whatever the case may be, the 2008 Terzolo Teran is certainly a wine of “grace and refreshment” – and at around $20 it won’t break your budget at the holidays or anytime.

Mr. Asimov, take note.

P.S. Blue Danube Wine Company has informed me that the 2008 Terzolo Teran is now sold out in the U.S. The 2009 vintage though is on the way and should arrive shortly. Please check the Blue Danube website for availability, and stay tuned here for future reviews.

“Croatian Wine Story” DVD Now Available in North America


Just in time for the holidays! Wines of Croatia is proud to offer for sale – exclusively and for the first-time ever in North America – the beautifully filmed and informative Croatian Wine Story (“Hrvatska Vinska Priča – Putevima Vina”) DVD.

The 115-minute film, directed by Miroslav Mirković and produced by Mandrak Productions, takes us on an eye-opening journey through some of Croatia’s most stunningly beautiful wine regions, including Baranja, the Croatian Littoral, north and south Dalmatia, the Dalmatian Hinterland, Istria, Moslavina, Plešivica, Slavonija, Srijem, and Zagorje-Međimurje.


Your guides on this journey are Franjo Francem, a well-known Croatian enologist, and Nataša Puhelek, the reigning “Croatian Wine Queen”. Together they will take you on a four-season trip throughCroatia, where you will visit some of the country’s leading wineries. From the first bud break all the way to harvest (and ice wine harvest!) you will have an armchair view of the life in the vineyards ofCroatiaand a sneak peek behindCroatia’s unique “wine story”.

For a glimpse of the scenery that awaits you in this film, check out this trailer:



Wineries featured in the film include: Agrolaguna; Belje; Benkovac (Badel 1862); Coronica; Vinarija Daruvar (Badel 1862); Vinarija Dingač, (Badel 1862); Đakovačka vina d.d. (Misna Vina); Enjingi; Gerštmajer; Grabovac; Iločki Podrumi; Istravino; Jakopić; Kabola; Katunar; Krauthaker; Kutjevo dd; Miklaužić; Mladina; Petrovečki; Skaramuča; Tomac; Vinoplod; PZ Vrbnik; Zdjelarević; and Zlatan Otok.

The film contains 31 chapters and is presented in the Croatian language with optional English or Slovenian subtitles available.


Important Note: The film is only available in PAL format (Region 2), which can be played on most computer-based DVD players and multi-format home DVD players. Unfortunately it cannot be played on standard NTSC-formatted (Region 1) DVD players. We tested the DVD on several computers, and it played perfectly each time.

To order your DVD in time for the holidays, please contact us at crames@winesofcroatia.com.

Quantities are limited! The special introductory/holiday price per DVD is $20 USD, plus $6 USPS Priority Shipping (Total = $26) to most U.S. addresses.   For addresses outside the U.S.,  please email us for the shipping price.

Payment should be made via Paypal to the email address crames@winesofcroatia.com. Please contact us for more details, if you have any questions, or if you would prefer to pay by check or money order. Sorry – we cannot accept credit cards at this time.

We think that you – or your favorite Croatian wino – will really enjoy this film, so order your copy now, pop open your favorite Croatian wine, and begin your journey down the wine roads of Croatia from the comfort of your own home.

Happy Holidays!

“Cliff Rames: The Champion of Croatian Wines”

In its November 2011 issue, the English-language magazine published, Croatia: a Fortnight in Review published an extensive interview with Wines of Croatia founder, Cliff Rames.

Croatia: a Fortnight in Review is a bi-weekly, subscription-only magazine published inZagreb for English-speaking residents ofCroatia, including ex-patriot, diplomats and foreign business people.

The 3-page interview begins with this: “We could not pass up the opportunity to consult sommelier Cliff Rames, who is arguably the most prolific (and passionate) promoter of Croatian whites, reds, oranges, roses and sparklings internationally, for his take on the status and the future trajectory of the local industry.”

To read the full article (in flip-book format), please see pages 20-22 of Issue #20 by clicking HERE.

We hope you enjoy the interview, and please feel free to comment below.

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up for November 28, 2011

Compiled by Cliff Rames

In case you missed anything, here is a round-up of the past week’s links to the news articles, blog posts and videos that highlighted Croatia, its wine or wine culture.

1. Come for the Wine: Croatia – Part 4: Zadar, the Perfect Date

November 11, 2011




2. Total Hvar: Introducing Hvar’s Grape Varieties

November 15, 2011




3. Vinologue: Vinarija Dingac – The Other Dingac

November 22, 2011




4. Taste of Croatia: Buhac – Best Buy Croatian Cab Comes from Srijem

November 24, 2011




5. Grk-Lumbarda.com: St Martin in Lumbarda and Grk with Plavac from 2011

November 24, 2011




6. Europe Up Close: Eating Adriatic: Pag – Magical Island Cheese

November 26, 2011



P.S. We love to hear from you!

If you have comments or other news to share, please comment on this post or email us at info@winesofcroatia.com


Wines of Croatia News Round-Up: 14 Nov. – 20 Nov. 2011


Compiled by Cliff Rames, 20 November 2011

In case you missed anything, here is a round-up of the past week’s links to the news articles, blog posts and videos that highlighted Croatia, its wine or wine culture.


1. Vinologue: To Potomje and Kiridzija

November 15, 2011

A short profile of Vedran Kiridžija, winemaker on the Pelješac peninsula, and one of the more traditional (and finest) producers of Dingač.




2. The Wine Key: Croatian Grape Juice

November 15, 2011

In the hills of San Francisco, sommelier and blogger Charlotte Chipperfield discovers the delights of Bibich 2007 Reserva.


3.  Love That Wine: Croatia – Land of Great Small Wine Producers

November 17, 2011

Clai 2009 Brombonero makes a lasting impression.




4. The Guardian: Wines of the Week – David Williams (Italy, Croatia, and Chile)

November 19, 2011

Wine writer David Williams reviews Bolfan Primus Rajnski Rizling


P.S. We love to hear from you!

If you have comments or other news to share, please comment on this post or email us at info@winesofcroatia.com



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