As you have all probably figured out by now, I am VERY patriotic when it comes to Dalmatia, Croatia in general and Zadar area in particular. I love the city, history, culture, food… and cannot stop promoting. But I (still) don’t like the wines.
So, when I heard that the Zadar county is organizing the first ever bottled wine tasting I was quite interested in tasting some local wines. This is actually 13th wine tasting of Ravni Kotari region but the event usually takes place in Stankovci and I was always a bit skeptical about those events and how everything is organized and the audience itself.
But, the bottled wines served in Zadar – I had to be there!
Usual crowd gathered: a mix of politicians, local authorities, few friends of the exhibitors and lots of press… The speeches given by the Mayor and the rest were too long and boring, as expected, but with a nice point – support this event and these wine makers, so we finally start working on producing quality wines in this region.
Of all regions in Croatia, Ravni Kotari si one of the most fertile and with great Mediterranean climate but that means nothing in wine growing…
And I was supportive.
The procedure was as usual, for 10 Kn one gets a commemorative glass and circles around tables tasting, talking, nibbling on some almonds, home made bread, cheese…
I started at the table that looked the best. I never heard of them but they obviously invested in packaging, marketing, promotion. “Figurica wines” are a small wine cellar from Smilčić – the heart of Ravni Kotari – and they are producing syrah, cuvee, cabernet sauvignon, crljenak and white maraština. I sampled syrah and cabernet sauvignon and the quality was satisfying.
Figurica wines need a lot of work but they are fairly affordable (I purchased Syrah at 45 Kn or 9$ to samle it with some “real” food”.
I am usually not a person of crowds and wine tasting like this event but I prefer a nice atmosphere and good small company when sampling something new.
Next stop – Vrsaljko Wines from Nadin
This wine cellar exhibited only one wine and it was their Nadinska rana. This cuvee of grenach and syrah was a bit muddy and not a real pleasure to drink. The young, 2009 Nadinska rana was much smoother but still needs a lot of work!
I tasted few more reds not willing to get drunk although the girls serving didn’t spare anything when serving and people were usually getting full glasses! One of the reasons why I left early before the accidents and traffic accidents start happening!
Overall: Mladen Anić from Smilčića with Figurica wines, Denis Rako from Pag with Merlot, Vranac and Cabernet Sauvignon, Šime Škaulj from Nadina with Tomislav and Cabernet Sauvignon, Željko Vrsaljko from Nadin with Nadinska rana, Zlatko Kaštelanac from Polače with Trebbiano Toscano and Krešimir Dražina from Pristeg with Krešimir were the exhibitors this year with great hopes that next year more people will show up!
Overall, the wines are not something to write home about and, although very authentic, the entire event needs a bit more class. Education, education and education – the only way to make it in this tough business. But I have to give credit to people who are entering this world breaking boundaries and opinions of the past.
I have seen a lot of their own children and that is promising. Unlike Bibich, who is light years ahead with his wines and philosophy itself, most of the people exhibiting are farmers and need years of education, help… We will probably never have spectacular wines from Zadar hinterland but having a couple of decent bottles will definitely be a big success!