Take a Wine Journey with Zinfandel Food and Wine

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Tash Pericic

Travelling to Croatia? Do not leave without sampling and learning something about the wine! Zinfandel Food and Wine Bar in Split is one venue where you can taste, learn and maybe even begin to love, Croatian wine.

When friends visit, we always want to show them the best of our home, particularly if our new home lies on the opposite side of the world. Last month, I had two friends from Australia visit and my version of ‘showing people around’ inevitably ties into gastronomy – as I believe this is one of the best ways to get a feel for the people and country.

We already had dinner booked at Zinfandel for Daniela’s (Split Editor) birthday; so, I thought brilliant timing to bring my friends to one of Split’s best restaurants. And, while I have dined at Zinfandel plenty of times (always accompanied with the finest wines); I have never done their wine tasting. Perfect opportunity because the other thing that tends to happen when friends visit is that we (re)discover what is right under our noses.

Zinfandel’s wine tasting costs 150 kn (€20), for this you get to sample four different wines and are expertly guided by their knowledgeable and entertaining staff.

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My friends and I arrived a little early, so we thought we should start with a local brew and even this was explained in detail to us…

We also ordered the charcuterie platter which came with a beautiful selection of top quality Croatian products, from Pag cheese to Black Slavonian sausage. And, let’s face it – wine is always better with cheese!

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Knowing that we would write about this experience later, Daniela and I put the spotlight on my friends – Lucy McGettigan and Pat Montgomerie to film their experience. Everyone knows Italy, France, California, New Zealand… for their specific wines, but still, very little is known about Croatian wines even though Croatia has 130 indigenous grape varieties; however, slowly but surely, the world is starting to pay attention.

Zinfandel Food and Wine Bar was founded on the premise of sharing the Croatian wine story as well as promoting the best of Croatian cuisine and produce. Their passion and wine list received its due recognition in June this year, when they were awarded One-Star in the World’s Best Wine List Awards 2017.

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In terms of the wine tasting, we opted for the “Heritage” wine tasting which is two whites and two reds. Before the wine tasting, my friend Lucy professed to me that she “isn’t really a wine drinker” and Pat said “I don’t mind reds but never been a big fan of the whites.” So, it was going to be interesting.

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Our wine tasting took us from Hvar to Vis, Šibenik and the Pelješac Peninsula; from Bogdanuša – a light, crisp white which grows only on the island of Hvar, to the big robust reds that the Pelješac is famous is for. Throughout the entire ‘vino journey’ we were told all about the grapes and the history of the region; while I have become quite familiar with Croatian wines, I hadn’t tried 3 of the 4 wines we sampled and was extremely impressed.

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More importantly, what did my friends think? Well, they were pleasantly surprised by all of the wines.

Pat responded: “I don’t normally like white wine, but this is really good” (Bogdanuša).

Lucy (the non-wine drinker): was also impressed and surprised that for the most part she enjoyed all the wines and one of my favourite pieces of feedback – “I don’t know much about wine but Goran didn’t make me feel stupid for asking questions and he put it into terms that I can relate to which has given me a new appreciation for wine.”

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If these aren’t some of the best compliments from a wine tasting, then I don’t know what is. Any connoisseur can appreciate good wine and service but it takes something (or someone) special to inspire in everyone a new love and appreciation for wine.

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Credit: Tash Pericic; Pat Montgomerie and Lucy McGettigan enjoying the wine tasting at Zinfandel

Goran’s take on this?

“Some restaurants or staff approach food and wine with their nose in the air, putting people off, making it seem like it’s only for the elite. But that’s stupid, wine is for everyone. I like making people feel comfortable, sharing my passion and getting them to try something new.”

After the wine tasting we carried on into the night, all of us continued to drink our favourite wines from the selection we sampled. Job “well done” by the Zinfandel team I would say.

See the short, fun video we made from the tasting below.

Interested in seeing more from Zinfandel?  Visit their page or LIKE their Facebook page here.


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