After a few anxious weeks of the dreaded “Sold Out” status on many of our wines, we just received a new shipment of several thousand Croatian wines that are now available for purchase. In addition to wines from Croatia, we also have a wine from Serbia and one from Bosnia & Herzegovina . . . just to keep things interesting! We re-ordered many of the “old favorites” that our customers have come to love, in large enough quantities to keep “sold out” at bay for a while. But we are always looking for new wines, grape varietals, wineries, and wine regions to introduce to the United States market. We are happy to report that we have quite a few new offerings in this shipment – read more about some of them below. All the wines are available for sale at: www.topochines.com.
Wines by Varietal
Pošip. This indigenous grape produces a classically Croatian white wine, full-bodied with an amazing texture, strong aromas, and bold flavors.
2018 Stina White Cuvée. This wine is a blend of Pošip, Vugava (another grape native to Croatia), and a small amount of Chardonnay. A delicious wine offered at the hard-to-believe price of $13.00. 2017 Saints Hills Pošip. 100% Pošip, this beauty is made from grapes grown in both Istria and on the island of Korčula. The end result is a wine with great body and structure. $20.00 a bottle.
2017 Korta Katarina Pošip. Another single-varietal Pošip wine, this 2017 Korta Katarina is a bold, powerful expression of this varietal. $30.00 a bottle.
Vugava. This is our first time selling a wine made from this indigenous grape from Croatia. This grape is most commonly grown on the tiny island of Vis in the Adriatic Sea off of the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. This varietal is most commonly compared to Viognier, and some believe that Vugava is the origin of this more well-known Rhone varietal.
2018 Stina Vugava. Another excellent wine from Stina Vina, a truly outstanding winery in Croatia. This wine bursts with fruit but also has some strong balancing acidity, producing a powerful white wine. $20.00 a bottle.
Graševina. This is the most commonly-planted white wine grape in all of Croatia, growing in vineyards in the continental (ie, not coastal) part of the country. Slavonia, the forested part of Croatia, produces some excellent wines from Graševina.
2018 Josić Graševina. Our first foray with this winery in Croatia was their superb red blend. In one of our prior shipments, our team on the ground in Croatia snuck in a sample of Josić Graševina for us to taste and we were hooked. We ordered quite a few cases so our customers can enjoy this lovely white wine. $20.00 a bottle.
Muller-Thurgau/Chardonnay. I am not going to lie – I generally prefer wines from Croatia that are made from grapes that are indigenous to the country. When we were first offered this blend to sample, we only agreed because every other wine from the producing winery had been excellent.
2016 Griffin Single Vineyard. This wine is a blend of Muller-Thurgau (70%) and Chardonnay (30%) from vines planted in the continental region of Croatia – specifically, Plešivica. A very floral wine with a well-rounded flavor. $22.00 a bottle. Chardonnay. It took some convincing for me to consider tasting a Chardonnay, especially from Croatia. For one thing, we live near Napa Valley and Sonoma wine country and Chardonnay is everywhere here. What’s worse, we’ve had some pretty lame Chardonnay from Croatia. Once again, though, we were convinced to give it a try due to the quality of the winery producing the wine.
2017 Meneghetti White Blend. This wine is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Blanc and is as rich, structured and complex as any white wine I have had recently. Although it fetches $40.00 a bottle, this wine should be on your list if you’re looking for a serious wine with international appeal.
2014 Saints Hills Nevina. This offering from Saints Hills winery is a blend of Chardonnay (30%) and Malvazija Istriana (70%). Intense and complex aroma but a smooth, creamy texture with an excellent blend of acidity and fruit. $25.00 a bottle.
I have a love-hate relationship with so-called “orange” wines – by which I mean I normally hate them! So many orange wines are overly funky with aroma and flavors that my younger daughter says resembles “feet.” But I have fallen in love with an orange wine that in many ways is a classic example of the style (and yes, a bit funky), but still delicious.
2017 Ahearne “Wild Skins” Blend. Jo Ahearne is one of the very few Masters of Wine on the planet, a London transplant who decided to move to Croatia and make wine. We’re glad she did! Her orange wine is a blend of three grapes indigenous to Croatia – Bogdanuša (40%), Kuč (40%), Pošip (20%). She makes this wine from grapes grown on Croatia’s Island of Hvar. A bottle of truly stunning wine and I bet you’ll reconsider orange wines like I did. These grapes were on their skins for 30 days to (in some cases) 340 days, and the juice was on the lees for 9 months with regular stirring. $30.00 a bottle.
2018 Erdevik Winery “Roza Nostra” Rosé. When we added this wine last year, it was our very first offering from Serbia. This 2018 Rosé is an unusual blend – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. The color is stunning, much darker than the “salmon” description that is given to many Rosé wines. A full-bodied, structured Rosé with a nice blend of acidity and fruit. Crisp, refreshing, good to drink by itself or with food. $19.00 a bottle.
2017 Chichateau “Pink Punk” Rosé. Also from Serbia, this garage winery Rosé is another unique blend – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. You’ll have fun with the decidedly unusual wine stopper on this bottle. $17.00 a bottle
Plavac Mali. We might as well start with this grape, the quintessential red grape of Croatia. If there is one grape that defines Croatian wine, it is this one, just as Pinot and Chardonnay define Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot define Bordeaux. We really expanded the number of Plavac Mali choices with this latest shipment and have a wide range of vintages (2009 to present), regions, and even a couple of very special wines that were aged underwater (in the Adriatic sea, to be specific).
2012 Edivo “Navis” Amphora. Let me just start out by saying this is our most expensive wine, something to be savored by wine lovers or given as a gift to a real wine geek. After fermentation, this Plavac Mali is placed in a large amphora (clay vessel) and submerged in the Adriatic Sea for two years. The wine is taken to an “underwater winery” and retrieved two years later by scuba divers. When you buy a “bottle” of this Croatian wine, you don’t, in fact, get a bottle . . . you get the amphora – encrusted with sea life. $399.00 a bottle.
2012 Edivo “Navis” Mysterium. The wine for this 2012 from Edivo is the same as the wine placed in the amphora; however, instead of an amphora, the wine is bottled and the bottle itself is submerged in the Adriatic Sea off of Croatia’s coast. In this case, you do get a bottle, equally encrusted with sea life. $149.00 a bottle. edivo navis 2012.jpg 2013 Edivo Plavac Mali. If you just want a regular bottle of Edivo’s excellent Plavac Mali – without the barnacles – this $29.00 beauty is right up your alley. This wine is produced from grapes grown on steep hillsides on Croatia’s Peljesac Peninsula.
2013 Stina Winery Plavac Mali. Stina Winery sits on the stunning island of Brač off of the western coast of Croatia. While many Croatian Plavac Mali wines come from Peljesac Peninsula, this one comes from estate vineyards on Brač and produces a delicious and unique example of Plavac. $26.00 a bottle.
2015 Stina Plavac Majstor. Also from the island of Brač, this Stina Winery Plavac is a premium wine, built to age. $31.00 a bottle.
2018 Stina Red Cuvee. This Stina Winery red blend is anchored by Plavac Mali (70%) but also has Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Merlot (10%), and Syrah (10%). The resulting blend has the character of wine from Croatia but is a bit more international and approachable for those that might be new to wines of the region. Only $14.00 a bottle!
2016 Tomic Winery Plavac Mali. This is the first Plavac Mali we began selling when we first opened our web wine store, and it has been a consistently-popular Croatian wine. This wine is made on the island of Hvar and is an excellent Croatian red wine. $28.00 a bottle.
2014 Ahearne Plavac Mali. Also made from grapes grown on the island of Hvar, this wine is 98% Plavac Mali and 2% Merlot. This wine is bursting with fruit but has plenty of acidity and earthiness – a truly sophisticated offering. $39.00 a bottle.
2014 Saints Hills Plavac Mali Dingač. If there is one wine-growing region in Croatia that has the gravitas of a Bordeaux or Tuscany, it would be Dingač, a tiny strip of vineyards on the Pelješac Peninsula jutting off the western part of Croatia into the Adriatic Sea. Excellent Plavac Mali is being made from grapes grown up and down Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, but you need to try one from Dingač. $40.00 a bottle.
2014 Matuško Dingač. This well-known winery produces a superior Plavac Mali from grapes grown in Dingač. This is a bold and powerful wine and one that we enjoy having side-by-side with other Dingač Plavac Mali to compare and contrast aroma and flavor. $26.00 a bottle.
2011 Matuško Dingač Reserve. This aged Plavac Mali is a superior wine, made from the best grapes harvested from the best vineyard positions in Dingač. $46.00 a bottle.
2009 Korta Katarina Reuben’s Reserve Plavac Mali. Even at 10 years of age, this wine shows no sign of fading – it can be consumed now or held for at least another 10 years, likely more. This is a bold and powerful wine. $60.00 a bottle (750 ml). A magnum is also available.
2012 Korta Katarina Plavac Mali. This 7-year-old wine is bursting with aroma and flavor, a classic Croatian Plavac Mali. $40.00 a bottle.
2011 Korta Katarina Winemaker’s Selection. This wine was awarded a Silver Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards, and we can see why. The wine that goes into this bottle is selected by the winemaker as the best of the vintage and only bottled after several years of aging. $50.00 a bottle.
Vranac. As obscure as Croatian wine is, wine from Bosnia & Herzegovina is likely even more so for U.S. consumers of wine. This varietal will be new to almost everyone.
2013 Citluk Winery Vranac. Chances are you’ve never had a wine made from the varietal Vranac, which means “Black Stallion” and is believed to originate in Montenegro. This 2013 Čitluk Vranac from Bosnia & Herzegovina is aged for at least two years in 225 liter oak barrels, creating a rich final product. $30.00 a bottle.
Portugizer. While we’re on the subject of grapes that most U.S. wine consumers haven’t heard of, let’s talk about Portugizer. This grape grows mostly in the continental part of Croatia and winemaker Krešimir Ivančić has embraced it and believes it can produce a premium wine.
Griffin Dark Side Sparkling (Non-vintage). Easily the darkest sparkling wine we have ever seen, this wine is made from the Portugizer grape. The deep, dark color comes from the grape itself but also the process of cold maceration. A truly unique sparkling wine and one that we repeatedly sell out. $30.00 a bottle.
2016 Griffin Dark Side Barrique. Also made from Portugizer grapes, this is a still wine but with the same dark character. A real bargain at $20.00 a bottle for this Croatian red wine.
Crljenak/Tribidrag. This varietal has been genetically determined to be Zinfandel.
2015 Stina Tribidrag. This is not the Zinfandel that you are used to drinking; you know the ones, the “jammy” fruit bombs that California is famous for. This is a lower-alcohol, earthier, and more rustic red wine, but delicious all the same. $44.00 a bottle.
I hope you try out some of our new wines and let me know what you think! Cheers!