Slavonia & Croatian Danube

Introduction

Panonia, the fertile and scenic Central European plain laced with rivers, was the goal of great migrations of nations and conquerors. Turbulent history has left deep traces and also a distinctive mark on the wine culture. In its Croatian part – Slavonia and part of the Danube – there is a number of positions where experts advised Roman generals to plant vineyards, back in the time when they invaded the territory. Roman legions were not only conquerors; besides building camps they also promoted agrarian development. Learned monks followed their advice centuries later. Sandy vineyards descending towards river beds and southern slopes of central Slavonia are positions that open up possibilities for the highest wine challenges for skilled winemakers. Still, history is not a chronology of continuous progress. Ottoman invaders were not fond of the wine culture. Therefore, for a victory over Turkish forces noblemen and army leaders were rewarded with estates where vineyards and wineries in castle cellars would appear. Some of them are preserved, back in function, not only as museum space but also as wineries, impressive witnesses of the continuity of wine culture in Croatia. The cellars of Kutjevo, Ilok and Kneževi Vinogradi store and age the most famous Croatian wine archives.

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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.

Furthermore

In the socialist period, the imperative of high yields and large quantities largely overshadowed the pursuit of cultivation and elegance. Agricultural cooperatives from that age contributed to the expansion of vineyards, so the size of a vineyard was atypical in comparison with most of the other Croatian wine regions and their fragmented plots. The revival of wine production started, as in almost all other Croatian wine regions, at the end of the 20th century. The arguments to attract wine lovers are convincing: these wineries produce not only stylistically the most diverse Graševina wines of the world but also the best, by far. Predicate Traminers used to be part of celebrations at courts; even today they are irresistible to the Tudor dynasty. Slavonia and Croatian Danube are not only white wine reserves. All traditional French red grape varieties thrive in this region and are produced and bottled as both varietal and blend wines. The case is similar with Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. Although varietal diversity is a good argument to attract the audience, there is no doubt that Graševina is the key to the wine story of Slavonia and Croatian Danube.

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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Recently, tasting rooms have opened, wine hotels have been built, and all is accompanied by a suitable gourmet scene. All these things are preconditions to modern wine tourism that has been increasingly spreading from Croatian Adriatic regions to the continent.

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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.