The beautiful Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is located in western Croatia and encompasses the Kvarner Bay and the islands of Krk, Cres, Rab and Lošinj, the coastal area down to Senj as well as the mountainous region of Gorski Kotar.
This region has very little wine production when compared to Istria, Dubrovnik-Neretva and Central Dalmatia but the little wine they do produce is excellent. There are two small pockets of wine production in the region, the first on the island of Krk, the second in Novi Vinodolski and both produce Žlahtina, an indigenous white grape variety.
Starting with the island of Krk, Žlahtina is primarily cultivated in Vrbnik on the island and all wine produced from here carries the name Vrbnički Žlahtina to differentiate it from other žlahtina being produced.
Vrbnička Žlahtina is known as being the best quality žlahtina being produced due the grape flourishing in the Vrbnik micro climate. The grape derives its name from the Slavic word žlahten which means noble, and noble it is. The wine is a pale yellow to straw colour with a mild bouquet and freshness and perfect for eating those delicious Kvarner scampi.
If you’d like to taste some Žlahtina on Krk some of the best winemakers are Vrbnik Agricultural Cooperative, Frajona, Gospoja Agricultural Cooperative, Toljanić, Antun Katunar, Ivan Katunar, Dobrinčić family’s Šipun Winery, Juranić family’s Nada Winery, and Petar Čubranić.
One of the leaders in winemaking on Krk is the Vrbnik Agricultural Cooperative and back in 2006 they conducted an experiment by placing sparkling wine made from Žlahtina at a depth of 30m into the sea. Here the sea temperature is a constant 12 degrees Celsius, ideal for the fermentation of sparkling wine. The results of this experiment surprised the winemaker as the quality of the sparkling wine was much better than they could produce in their cellar, and so was born Valomet, sparkling wine from the sea. When on Krk, do not miss your chance at sipping on this outstanding sparkling wine.
Leaving the island if Krk head for Novi Vinodolski where you’ll find Pavlomir Winery. Located just outside town, Pavlomir produce Žlahtina, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Frankovka, and Pinot blanc. Of particular note is their Cabernet Sauvignon, which is delightful and won a number of awards. A visit to this winery is a must where you can enjoy a guided wine, local ham and cheese tasting as well as a walk around the vineyards.