Croatian Uplands

Introduction

Zagreb is surrounded with Zagorje and Prigorje, with Plešivica, Moslavina and Međimurje in its close vicinity. Although Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, a city with a population of million, traces of vineyards and viticulture in the past are still present, in different ways. The fact is, apart from a few miniature public vineyards of a purely symbolic and touristic importance, only the Faculty of Agriculture manages a demonstration vineyard and a fairly serious winery. Yet, in the aforementioned areas surrounding the capital, the winemaking story is fermenting rather strongly. The boom of tourism, wine bars and wine shops makes Zagreb the informal reception of the Croatian Uplands and its wine roads, as well as a great platform for the promotion and consumption of local wines.

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Graševina

In Croatia, Graševina is the most planted white grape variety. It is grown in all the inland wine regions, particularly in Kutjevo municipality and around Ilok, both in the far east of the country.

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Zagorje region proves that it is full of potential, and Zagorje wines have been receiving important international awards lately, like at Decanter World Wine Awards. In addition to white grape varieties, a selection of premium red grape blends from Zagorje wineries is a special surprise. Rustic Zagorje cuisine, which used to be labelled as “peasant food”, gets all the praise now because of its authenticity, and the region’s rural hospitality industry stimulates the local wine production. In Prigorje, potentials of Kraljevina are being put to the test, with sparkling wines as a special issue, while Plešivica is all “bubbly” and nicknamed little Croatian Champagne. In the beginnings, local winemakers tried to imitate their French role models and consistently hold on to the traditional Champagne method. Now they dare to go their own ways, leaving even the international experts amazed. Sparkling wine made from grapes aged in a large Georgian amphora is one such example. New and comfortable hotel facilities on the doorway to this wine region now make the vision of ambitious Plešivica wine tourism appear real.

Frankovka

In Croatia, the nearly 880 hectares (2,175 acres) of Blaufränkisch, known as Frankovka, represent around 2.7% of all Croatian vineyard plantings. This number is expected to rise, as many plantings previously thought to be a different variety, Borgonja, have now been proven by DNA testing to be Blaufränkisch. Most of the Croatian plantings are found in the Kontinentalna Hrvatska (Continental Croatia) region in the northwestern part of the country and on the Istrian peninsula along the Adriatic Sea.

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In Moslavina, Škrlet used to be popular in the past – not because of its quality, but as a young wine that reaches consumers early, along with Portugizac. As such it avoided extinction and captured the market, especially through local restaurants and bars. Now it shows it is ready for something more, and can more often be found on prestigious wine lists, in a refined version, or even as an aged wine with an elegant touch of minerality. The number of small wineries in Moslavina has been rapidly rising in recent years.Međimurje is an example of an excellent value for money ratio. Local winemakers especially prove it with the leading regional grape variety, the crispy Pušipel. Sauvignon Blanc is part of the story that connects Međimurje with Slovenian and South Austrian wine regions whose modern approach to this variety has gained attention of experts all over the world. By the end of the last century, Riesling lost the prestige it had enjoyed in continental Croatia for a long time, but Međimurje winemakers are working to improve its reputation. Tasting rooms of small and midsize family wineries are becoming more charming and professional, which guarantees a successful future for this region, too.

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Traminac

Traminac is a Croatian name for another of the Central European white wine favourites, the variety known in German as Gewürztraminer. The varieties name comes from a name of a village in South Tyrol, the German-speaking part of north Italy, called Tramin, but unfortunately we can’t really say that it’s where the variety is originally from.