A Winemaking Family Affair

A Winemaking Family Affair

Black + red = plavac

If you come across the city of Split on your way, do not miss the opportunity to dive into the wine aromas of the area, which is known for the specific flavours of its indigenous wine grape varieties. In any case, be prepared for it to exceed your expectations, as you will be diving into a true oenological family affair.

 

Since winemaking in the area is more or less a family-based business, not only will you become familiar with several generations of winemakers and experience the full extent of their hospitality, you may even hear the most interesting wine story of Croatia.

Mario Alajbeg / TZ Kaštela

The genetic triad of red wine varieties that have been the subject of decades-long genetic research aimed at determining their origin, has led to the small area of Kaštela near Split, the home of the crljenak grape variety.

Its world-renowned counterparts in other countries are the zinfandel, the Italian primitivo and the Montenegrin krtošija, but the crljenak is the oldest one among them. It all began with this original Dalmatian variety.

And after crljenak’s crossing with the dobričić variety from the nearby island of Šolta, the result was the biggest wine brand of Dalmatia – plavac mali.

Equally good sources of information on the flavours of crljenak are the town of Trogir, placed under UNESCO protection, which has been a favourite port among the global jet set for decades thanks to its three marinas; the wonderful marina at Kaštela; or Split itself, as the nautical and administrative centre of Dalmatia.

Mario Alajbeg / TZ Kaštela

At the beginning of May, Kaštela celebrate its indigenous variety crljenak with a festival that revolves around common spring vegetables, such as fava beans, and that gathers the local top chefs who use the locally sourced ingredients to make sumptuous meals.

If you’ve already tried crljenak in its original form, it would be a shame to miss out on some dobričić. As a beautiful little jewel of central Dalmatia, this indigenous red wine variety from Šolta has seen a real boom in recent years. It is renowned for its intense colour and tartness, which makes it suitable for all the more popular Dalmatian coupages. In the old days, it was used to give colour to other wines and to “build their character.”

Beep Pictures / Matija Prajo / TZ Šolta

If you would like to visit the winemakers that produce this specific wine variety, we recommend that you berth your boat at Stomorska, Rogač or Maslinica, where you can also rent a vehicle to drive inland.

If you’ve already had a taste of the crljenak and dobričić, you can move on to enjoy the aromas of their wine-like offspring nearby. The island of Brač connects with Šolta at the Split Gates strait, and offers an optimal position for growing some of the finest Dalmatian grape vine varieties. To explore the inland wineries, we recommend berthing on the west side of the island, at Bobovišće or Milna. True wine connoisseurs will notice a slight difference in the wine aroma on the west side compared to the south side, which is typically sunnier.

 

To really explore the Brač wine story, we highly recommend setting sail for the town of Bol – not only because of the beautiful pebble beach Golden Horn, but also because of the southern slopes and vineyards of mostly white grape varieties situated only a few hundred metres from the sea surface.

Aleksandar Gospić

Such a position, a good example of which is the village of Murvica, is the secret ingredient that gives them their strong aromas, but also the delicate floral flavour, a legendary Dalmatian note that perfectly complements fish delicacies. One of the more well-known local specialities is the brački vitalac, a dish made of lamb offal, which pairs perfectly with the renowned plavac wines, which are equally complex and mild, and create long-lasting memories – or aftertaste, so to speak.

Local winemakers are keeping up with the global pink wine trend, so don’t be shy and ask for a glass of chilled local rosé, the fragrant and delicate seductress, perfect for drinking in the early afternoon or at sunset.