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Coastal Croatia: stars of the Adriatic

Discover Croatia’s indigenous grape varieties with exemplary wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards…

Across the Adriatic sea from Italy lies Croatia, with a plethora of indigenous grape varieties and a history of winemaking dating back to the ancient Greeks.

Yet the country’s wines remain largely an Adriatic secret, with compelling white varieties such as Pošip and Grk and the red Plavac Mali awaiting wider global exploration.

Darrel Joseph, newly announced DWWA Regional Chair for North, Central & Eastern Europe alongside Caroline Gilby MW, advises on this:

‘Always give the smaller wineries and regions – the low-volume producers with funky grape names – their chance to be discovered. In Croatia, for example, there can never be enough attention on all of the regions, but three that simply must be spotlighted are Dalmatia, Istria – home to the seductive white Malvasija Istarska and vivacious red Teran – and the continental regions of Slavonia and Danube.’

At the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 it was Coastal Croatia that caught the expert judges’ eye, with Dalmatian and Istrian wines among some of the highest-scoring wines across the entire competition.

Discover here a selection of Croatia’s top-scoring wines and indigenous varieties worth a try…

Coastal Croatia: stars of the Adriatic

South & mid-Dalmatia

Bire, Defora GRK 2018

Bire, Defora GRK 201897 Platinum
Persuasive and complex aromas of ripe yellow fruits, citrus, dried herbs, brioche and hints of sweet spices from oak. Serious wine, excellent concentration and well-judged oak. Characterful and delicious. Alcohol 13.5%

Zure, Pošip 2019

Zure, Pošip 201997 Platinum
Rich and charming nose of honey, lemon, ripe grapefruit, quince, toasted nuts and hints of spices. Waxy texture on the palate, very ripe and exotic with a long finish. Alc 13.5%

Rizman, Nonno Pošip 2019

Rizman, Nonno Pošip 201993 Silver
Elegant nose of orange peel, hazelnut and Mirabelle plums. Cheerful palate with a creamy, oily texture, warm oak notes and a long finish. Alc 13.5%

Crvik, Vilin Ples Cabernet Sauvignon- Merlot-Plavac 2017

Crvik, Vilin Ples Cabernet Sauvignon- Merlot-Plavac 201795 Gold
Lovely developed nose with notes of pencil lead, cedar, leather and dark berries, gamey nuances. Assertive tannins are well balanced by a juicy fruit concentration. Quite lifted. Alc 13.5%

Vinolog, Éclat Plavac Mali 2013

Vinolog, Éclat Plavac Mali 201395 Gold
Bright and attractive redcurrant and milk chocolate aromas over red berries, plums and figs with nuances of thyme. Smooth with fine-grained tannins, very refreshing. Alc 15%

Pavičić, Plavac Mali Barrique 2019

92 Silver
Notes of dark chocolate, balsamic, tobacco and baked cherry. Complex, rich and spicy. Tannins are a little aggressive but will soften with time. Alc 15%

North Dalmatia

Degarra, Garageist Bili Degarra 2016

96 Gold
Very expressive and characterful, showing scents of red apple, tropical fruit, cream and peach yoghurt. Textured mouthfeel with a lovely balance of fruit and acidity. Alc 13%

Bora, Pošip 2019

95 Gold
Very aromatic nose, lovely aromas of apricot, white peach, fresh flowers and honey notes. Coats the mouth, with a soft and gentle palate and oily texture. Alc 13.9%

Testament, Tribidrag 2018

Testament, Tribidrag 201895 Gold
Traditional nose of Maraschino cherry, raisins, chocolate and lots of sweet oak spices. Chewy on the palate, powerful and rich with very fresh acidity. Alc 14.5%

Zupanović, Galjin Dvor Babić 2018

Zupanović, Galjin Dvor Babić 201894 Silver
+385 22 578 266
Inviting nose of dried cherry, raspberry, sweet spice and coconut chocolate. Modern and glossy with some intense but refined tannins. Alc 14%


Cattunar, Collina Malvazija Istarska 2017

Cattunar, Collina Malvazija Istarska 201795 Gold
Has a very complex nose of spices, smoke and savoury notes of tarragon and rosemary, with a touch of bitter almond. Well-textured palate with a beautiful acidity balancing the alcohol. Alc 14.7%

Fakin, Malvazija Istarska 2020

Fakin, Malvazija Istarska 202095 Gold
Limpid nose with pristine aromas of pithy white lemon, pear and perfumed, delicate white flowers. Very pure on the palate, lively and refreshing, very juicy. Alc 13%

Ravalico, 1903 Malvazija Istarska 2018

Ravalico, 1903 Malvazija Istarska 201892 Silver
Attractive jasmine and peach aromas. Elegant palate showing minerality, green and red apple and peach. Chewy, with a long finish. Alc 12%

Vina Laguna, Castello Festigia 2017

Vina Laguna, Castello Festigia 201795 Gold
Lifted and fragrant nose of cherries, cassis, graphite, cedar wood, green bell pepper and hints of paprika. Harmonious palate. Classy, with plenty to interest and be enjoyed. Alc 13.5%

Benvenuti, San Salvatore Muškat 2015

Benvenuti, San Salvatore Muškat 201597 Platinum
Beautiful nose of lovely dried apricots, orange peel, rose water and sweet honey with nuances of dried berries. Fantastic intensity on the palate with a silky richness. Well layered and lusciously sweet. Alc 11%

Search all DWWA medal winners

DWWA 2022 results will be announced 7 June on Decanter.com

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