Krapinsko Zagorska Country or Zagorje as the locals call it is a fairytale land wedged between Zagreb and Slovenia with Medvednica Moutain bordering it on the south and the Ivanscica Mountain to the north.
Zagorje is a home to the Neanderthals that lived near Krapina, ancient ruins, hot springs, endless forests, vast vineyards, and hilltop wineries. Zagorje has some beautiful wines and navigating the rolling hills visiting its wineries is a wonderful experience with many breathtaking views.
Zagorje has had a long relationship with wine and some would say that wine runs through the veins of the people of Zagorje. Roads wind through the hills covered in vineyards where you’ll notice the odd wooden cottage (kleti) selling wine. Don’t be afraid to pull over and say hello and try some wine.
There are some outstanding wines being produced in Zagorje with the predominant varieties being traminer, sauvignon, rhine riesling, pinot blanc, pinot gris, chardonnay, sylvaner green, yellow muscat, white muscat, graševina, furmint, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and frankovka. They are also producing some excellent predicate wines including ice wine.
When it comes to wine history in Zagorje some interesting discoveries have been made for example in Radoboj a vine leaf fossil, vitis teutonica, was found which is 12 million years old. In addition, the mother of many grape varieties, gouais blanc, which was grown in all wine regions of Europe in the middle ages had become somewhat of a forgotten variety was found in a vineyard near Krapina. It would have remained forgotten if scientists had not discovered that in fact, this grape variety was the mother of chardonnay, riesling, furmint and as many as 60 varieties of grape. It’s the Zinfandel story all over again!
If it’s wineries you’d like to visit the one of the best to visit for a tasting and some lunch is Bolfan Vinski Vrh. This winery is perched on top of a hill with panoramic views out over its vineyards, it’s supremely beautiful. Putting its beauty aside for a moment, they also produce some excellent wines which include riesling, pinot noir, pinot gris, sauvignon and yellow muscat. The added bonus with this winery is the excellent onsite restaurant which is housed in a log cottage. The restaurant serves traditional food cooked magnificently.
Another absolute must visit winery is Vuglec Breg who produce and exceptionally good sparkling wine. This is another winery where you’ll need to bring you camera along so you can capture the picturesque landscape. A tasting of their 5 sparkling wines is a must and you can also take a tour of their cellar to see how they produce the sparkling wine. They also have an onsite restaurant serving typical Zagorje cuisine – try the roasted goose or duck which is to die for.
Zagorje’s premium predicate wine producer is Bodren wines who has won numerous awards at the Decanter World Wine awards for his icewines in various grape varieties. The winemaker has really nailed his niche and leads the way in Croatia for predicate wines. The winery is open for tastings so you cane try them for yourself.