November 6, 2018 – Tucked away in the stone back streets of Jelsa on the island of Hvar, winemaker Teo Huljic is building up a fascinating portfolio of wines.
One of the things I always try and do when returning to Hvar these days is to pop in and see Teo Huljic, a small winemaker hidden away with his small restaurant and winery in the pretty old town of Jelsa. Jelsa is the town of wine, of course, and with famous names such as Andro Tomic and Ivo Dubokovic, Teo Huljic rarely appears in the spotlight, which is a pity, as his story is very interesting, and the wines he is experimenting with and producing more interesting still.
I first met Teo Huljic several years ago when I went to eat at his restaurant which is open for the summer. There is nowhere quite like it on Hvar, with its uneven stone tables, which are afforded shade by two abundant lemon trees, whose juicy fruits have been known to fall from the tree onto the table during a meal. An accomplished chef as well as winemaker, Teo Huljic offers an exceptional slow food and wine tasting experience you can book through Hvar Tours.
And although he only makes about 7,000 litres of wine a year, his range of wines is quite breathtaking, some 15 in all at current count. Like a true artisan, his passion is making wine, rather than making money, and his dedication to the indigenous varieties on the island, coupled with his curiosity about how international varieties might blend mean that he has the most diverse range of grape varieties in his portfolio. He is, I think, the only winemaker who produces a single variety Mekuja, an almost-extinct Hvar white variety, and my last visit was an introduction to a variety I had not heard before (and nor had Google) – Palarusa.
Last week’s visit was a chance to do some very early tasting of the 2018 tasting, including the quite delightful experience of witnessing Teo Huljic trying his new Posip for the first time. I don’t think I have ever been with a winemaker for a moment like that before. He was pleased with the results, and then went on to show me what else he had been up to.
He had told me previously that he planned to introduce a little Chardonnay to Hvar, as he thought it would blend nicely with two local white varieties, Prc and Posip (and the early signs are that he is right), and I thoroughly enjoyed his Cabernet Sauvign0on and Merlot cuvee, but he saved the new wine of which he was especially proud for last – a Mali Plavac rose, which had more strawberries and roses in a very long-lingering finish than s long summer romance.
If you are a wine lover coming to Hvar, visit this man. To learn more about Teo Huljic and his wines, click here.