Croatian Winemakers: Branimir Cebalo in Lumbarda, Korčula

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The village of Lumbarda on the Korčula Island is the place where almost all of the grk wines in the world are made. Coincidentally, most winemakers producing grk share the last name: it’s Cebalo. And out of the Cebalos in Lumbarda, today we present you Branimir Cebalo, winemaker well-known to the fans of grk in Croatia, as much for the quality of his wines, as for the fact that each year he makes very little of his wines, which leaves his fans wanting for more! The winery web-site says that every year they produce 250 to 400 cases of grk and around 100 cases of plavac, so you know it won’t be easy finding either of those anywhere outside Korčula, but it’s worth the effort.

Branimir Cebalo’s vineyards are exactly where grk vineyards should be: in the sandy soil of Lumbarda, mixed in the vineyard with its cousin, plavac mali that needs to be around, for the pollination. And that’s what they’re making; they are not trying to complicate your decisions on what to try and what to buy: they make grk and they make plavac, and that’s it. Both plavac and grk are dry, as expected; both are quite high in alcohol. Grk has lovely acids, coming from the unripe berries that are always present in the grk grape, very long aftertaste and is a well rounded south-Dalmatian white wine you should drink with a wonderful piece of fish prepared on the grill. Plavac is a classic plavac wine, with the specific flavour of Korčula, but almost as if it too is aware that grk is the star in their cellar.

Maybe if you’re talking about grk wines with the people that know about lumbarda wines, and they’ll refer to a wine as “Maja’s grk”, and you’ll try and find that somewhere, because they’ll let you in on a secret: that Maja’s grk is the one to go for. You won’t be able to find it, because Branimir Cebalo’s grk is the one they’re talking about, and Maja is Branimir’s wife, never present on the label, always present in their winery, ready to talk to you about the wine. What their roles in the production of this treasure are precisely, that is the question that only the two of them would ever be able to answer. And, we don’t need to know that. We just need to get our hands on some of the very little of grk or plavac they make each year!


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