Wines of Dalmatia – Zadar area

This is the exclusive post! Few have heard of this and even less have been witnessing the re-birth of quality wine growing in Ravni Kotari region! Thanks to several people, Secret Dalmatia was at Benkovac winery on exclusive wine tasting that will shake the foundations of Croatian wine growing!

The region was always known for good wines but, in the last 60 years, that was destroyed and most of the wines coming from the region have been hardly drinkable. The local sorts have almost disappeared and now we have foreign sorts growing like shiraz and grenache… Back in the 1954. the building of Benkovac winery has been erected for mass production of wines and grapas. Now they are owned by huge company Badel 1862. which makes it a bit slow in responding but the trends are changing so they are thinking about the marketing and better wines. The most popular wine was local Benkovac Rose…

The main building of Benkovac winery
The main building of Benkovac winery

So, nothing to even remotely consider including this place in our wine tours of the region! But, through several sources, I started receiving the news on the fantastic new wines being produced there. Still suspicious (but hoping that the rumors are true!) I got the contact of Brane – the guy in charge of the production and new developments.

We met in Benkovac. In the winery. We immediately started discussing the potential of the area and the possibilities of bringing the travelers to the cute park just outside the main building. Brane is a younger generation and a person with great sense not only for wines but for other things that accompany a modern wine making.

So we took the tour of the winery and discussed all the possibilities of cooperation and how to put Benkovac on a serious wine tasting route.

Wine tasting at the lab!
Wine tasting at the lab!

End of this brief introduction to the potential and the future of the winery was left, of course, for the actual tasting. We went to the lab. Dated and “antique” in certain aspects, it was VERY different than any other places where we tasted wine! Looked like a lab in a local hospital! Unusual, different, but very charming at the same time.

We tasted shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Merlot was young but the potential is there! Very strong! Almost all wines were over 15% in alcohol. Although not a big fan of CS, I had to admit that this was a very lovely wine but shiraz was a wonderful one! I am not an expert and I like only the wines I enjoy drinking not caring about their price, origin or anything else so I cannot discuss the different tastes emerging from these wines.
At he end, Brane prepared a coupage of all three sorts! Although the coupage is reserved for lower quality wines, the mix of these three was unbelievable! Luckily, they are expanding their vineyards and will be able to offer these wines at competitive prices – especially as they are the “new guys” on the scene!

Benkovac fortress from the winery
Benkovac fortress from the winery

So, something new and good in the world of Croatian wines! Cannot wait till October when these wines, in limited editions will hit the market!

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