Tasting at Škaulj Winery 2018

This past Sunday I had a pleasure to attend a very special wine pairing lunch at Škaulj wine cellar. This is one of the most important wine cellars of Nadin region of North Dalmatia and is know for a great selection of quality wines.

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Nadin with view of flooded Nadinsko blato valley

Nadin region is known for superb fertile land for millennia and settlements from pre historic times are here to prove it. The main vineyards are located in Nadinsko blato – a depression in the fields that gets flooded in the winter months. While the tradition exists in this region for several centuries, the new breed of winemakers are planting mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot…but also local Plavina and Maraština. Among several producers, Škaulj, Vrsaljko, Odžaković…are best known.

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The event started by a short presentation by Mr. Šime Škaulj and his son Tomislav. All 9 labels of theirs will be offered in 2018. season and they are also creating an interesting surprises. But more on that once the wines are released.

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Mr. Šime Škaulj
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Mr. Tomislav Škaulj

While the cellar is not much, the entire property does offer a lovely learning experience on local traditions and both Šime and Tomislav talk with passion about their wines.

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Here is a great video on their cellar and wines!

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The meal was prepared by chef Vrsaljko, a Nadin local with international experience and all meals were paired with Škaulj’s best wines.

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Chef Vrsaljko

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The menu was superb and well executed.

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Asparagus moose on green apple
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Scampi ravioli
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Swordfish
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Beef filet
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Profiteroli
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Ice cream by Eva from Zadar

The selection of ice cream and sorbet at the end was provided by artisan ice cream place in Zadar called Eve. A MUST when in Zadar!

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Tasting room

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Overall, the meal was great and we made some new friends. Nadin has a great potential when it comes to wines and wine tourism and true stars of the region are its people!

Of all wines, Cabernet Sauvignon is simply superb and an excellent value at just 120 Kuna! Maraština and Rose were also great but they will be more appropriate with warmer weather. Perfect for hot, summer days!

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The Sleepy Silba

Many wonderful islands are still “hidden” from the masses of sailing guests enjoying the central Dalmatian archipelago all the way to Dubrovnik. And that is absolutely fine. It is not like these islands don’t get anyone, but that is far from the crowded shores of Hvar, busy bays of Brac or the lines in front of Blue Cave of Biševo.

One of such, less visited pearls is definitely Silba. Beautiful island paradise North West of Zadar and just a short sailing distance from the southern shores of Lošinj.

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(image from TZ Silba web site)

Silba is an island where one can only think of peace and tranquility when mentioned. There are no cars on the island and there are only 290 inhabitants year round. Summer is, of course, more lively but that is a very short period.

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The main pier and ferry harbor

History of the island and its only settlement is quite simple as it was always owned by some of the local noble families from Zadar or Losinj with “independence” bought only in the 1852. The rise of captains and ship owners from Silba started all the way in the 1600s but Napoleon burned down the entire fleet in the early 1800s. The second rise of Silba merchant marine was in the mid 1800s with an impressive fleet of 98 sailing ships. Orebić and Lošinj are more famous as their fleets were larger but the same fate got them all as they did not see the advantages of steamers…

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Silba harbor in the 1970s

Another terrible disaster was the arrival of Phylloxera and the death of all of Silba’s vineyards. The vineyards were never replanted which is a pity as Silba was home to one very special type of vine that would ripe earlier than any other grape variety on the coast: as early as July.

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Typical view of Silba from turn of the century

Today, Silba is best known as an oasis of peace. I had a rare chance to visit this May and enjoyed immensely walking the silent streets, enjoying the genuine tranquility and calmness. Almost a meditation.

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Silba is also known for its best known monument – toreta.

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It was built by a local captain Marinić who built it so his loved one can watch for his ship when returning. In those days, one would sail for years so the young lady could not wait and married another man. When he returned, he realized the sad truth but he also saw a young daughter of his former love and waited for her to grow up and merry her. They lived a happy life and had nine children!

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Before forestation

Silba is also a popular stop for fishermen fishing in this part of the Adriatic for many centuries now.

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With tourism getting to all islands and parts of the coastline, Silba seems to be escaping the faith of southern islands and enjoying the more relaxed atmosphere even in the peak season.

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But spring is the best time to visit. Very different from anything one can see south of Šibenik, Silba should stay a secret!

Ruinart Champagne dinner at Pelegrini

We have been invited by chef Rudi for an evening of Ruinart champagnes paired with his (always) great dishes. Pelegrini is one of the top 3 restaurants in the Country and always an absolute pleasure to dine at so we could not refuse.

After a short intro by a local importer of Ruinart champagnes, we started with carpaccio of oysters and Angus beef with spices and rice chips.

Next dish was gazpacho with scampi and strawberies-an explosion of tastes masterfully blended together!


Everything so far was paired with Ruinart brut. Our next wine was a superb Ruinart Blanc de Blanc.

A dish that followed was scampi wrapped in smoked pečenica bacon on nori algae with banana gnochi.

Pork ears with potatoe purre and mustard followed. Perfectly balanced dish again!


We moved to Ruinart Rose next and the first dish with this wine was octopus (cooked and fried) on purre of beans.

Next was Dom Ruinart (2004). One of My favorite champagnes! Perfect in every way.


And it went perfectly well with veal shank with baked picant cheese iz mišine. Mango purre was a Superb addition!

Before dessert, we had a strawbery mousse with some sort of jello of olive oil and lemon juice. Pure perfection!

Dessert that followed was a bit of surprise. Very American. Oreo cookie tart with peanut butter and chocolate. Raspberry on top and raspberry coulis.

The dinner ended with their own version of traditional mađarica cake made of carob.


Simply put, Pelegrini did it again! Rudi never fails and always delivers exeptional experience. Ruinart champagnes just Made everything extra special!