Are These the Best Croatian Wines of 2017?

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Source: Plava Kamenica

As the end of the year is nearing, we look back at what good it brought. In the same manner, the editorial team at Plava Kamenica presents their choice of candidates for Wine of the Year

The name of the winner will be announced between Christmas and New Year. Their proposal consists of new wines, but also some that have been on the market for a while, but which they feel have reached their peak in 2017. They did not list wines which are not yet or any longer in stores.

This year was quite successful for Croatian wines in terms of international recognition. Platinum and gold medals at Decanter’s awards, mostly for dry wines, are witness to the rising quality of the Croatian wine industry. On the other hand, the 2017 harvest was in quality and quantity aspects quite problematic. We have yet to see how our winemakers will face the challenges of this year’s harvest.

Here is their alphabetical list of candidates:

1. Jo Ahearne, Wild Skins 2016 – Dalmatia


The British Master of Wine with a Hvar residency made her Wild Skins from Bogdanuša, Pošip and Kuč, with a longer maceration. Wild Skins is amazingly complex on the nose, still a bit thin and out of harmony in taste and absolutely original for Dalmatian winemaking standards.

2. Antunović, Graševina Premium 2013 – Slavonia and Danube Region


This winery from Erdut won a platinum medal at Decanter with its Graševina, confirming the enormous potential of this variety and the Danube terroir.

3. Benvenuti, Teran 2013 – Istria


Benvenuti’s Teran deservedly became one of Decanter’s champions. The Benvenuti brothers have been producing truly superior Teran for the past few harvests, which affirms this variety internationally as well.

4. Benvenuti, Anno Domini 2015 – Istria


A rich and mighty wine which has for years been among the best aged Malvazijas, winning a gold medal at London’s International Wine Challenge.

5. Clai, Malvazija Sveti Jakov 2015 – Istria


A dozen years ago Sveti Jakov was an original, expressive but unfinished wine. With the last few harvests it grew into one of the best Croatian white wines in general. The 2015 harvest we tasted a few days ago truly impressed us.

6. Coronica, Malvazija 2016 – Istria


Coronica’s fresh Malvazija confirmed again with the last harvest its golden standard status for the Istrian wine industry.

7. Marko Fakin, Malvazija 2016 – Istria


This young garage winemaker from Motovun may soon become a new Kozlović or Coronica. His young Malvazija is the most charming Istrian wine from the last harvest.

8. Križ, Grk 2016 – Pelješac


This is a wine which has impressed us most in the past twelve months. This ultra-rich Pelješac orange wine demonstrates what can be done with white varieties in Dalmatia.

9. Velimir Korak, Sauvignon Kamenice 2016 – Plešivica


Korak’s Sauvignon from the special position Kamenice is the best Sauvignon Blanc we have ever tasted from the Croatian Highlands.

10. Korlat, Cabernet Sauvignon Supreme 2012 – Dalmatia


Korlat’s prestigious Cabernet is the best rated Croatian wine at the recent Italian international championship of Cabernet and Merlot. Absolutely deservingly.

11. Kozlović, Santa Lucia 2015 – Istria


This Istrian Puligny-Montrachet is not only the most ambitious white wine produced to date by Gianfranco Kozlović, but it is also important as it points out potential paths of development of aged Malvazijas.

12. Krajančić, Pošip sur Lie 2015 – Dalmatia


The new Krajančić Sur lie is elegant, rounded, oily, rich in aroma and simply excellent. A classic, great Pošip which could serve as an example to other producers of complex wines from the most important Dalmatian white variety.

13. Laguna, Festigia Malvazija Vižinada Riserva 2013 – Istria


Laguna’s prestigious Malvazija is better each year. The 2013 Vižinada is an exceptionally serious, complex, rich and perfectly precise wine, whose elegance elevated Malvazija to new heights, and can last for a few more years.

14. Frano Miloš, Stagnum 2003 – Pelješac


There are a few bottles of the exceptional wine left in stores, whose almost meditative tone speaks of the Pelješac stone terroir, and successfully witnesses the possibilities of longer aging of Plavac Mali in bottles.

15. St. Hills, Dingač 2012 – Pelješac


Ernest Tolj and Michel Rolland have been producing some of the best and technically certainly most precise Dingač wines. The current version is rich, polished, with a full middle palate and long aftertaste. It is a luxurious and technically flawless wine, which is not overly common in Dalmatia and on Pelješac.

16. Tomac, Brut Rose – Plešivica


This is the most elegant Croatian sparkling wine ever made. Tomac’s Brut Rose is too good for Croatian, even most European standards of production of classic sparkling wine beyond the Champagne region.

17. Tomac, Brut Amfora 2010 – Plešivica


Decanter declared Tomac’s amphorae sparkling as one of the seven or eight most important sparkling wines in the world at the end of last year. Tomac’s sparkling from 2010 is the first commercially produced sparkling wine from amphorae in the world. Brut Amfora 2010 is becoming richer and more complex, but sadly there are only 600 or 700 bottles left.

Translated from Plava Kamenica.


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