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Ilok Wine Cellars April 2013.

 

We were honoured to receive an invitation to a presentation of Ilok Wine Cellars, one of the best and oldest Croatian wineries. Ilok is positioned at the far east part of Croatia on a perfect spot for quality wines, near Danube river on the slopes of  Fruska Gora mountain. The fact that the wines in this region have been continuosly produced, all the way back from the 3rd century, is just amazing. Thus wines that they have are just astounding, and there are a bunch of medals and prizes to confirm, like the recent Decanter events where Traminac has won the gold medal in white wines world competition. About 200 years before famous Bordeaux region Ilok winers started producing and bottling wines in their cellars, a process later called domain. That way they were able to keep high quality and fair prices. About 85% percent of their production are white wines but my favourite and certainly new experience was Traminac-the late harvest (or cold harvest). By intentionally leaving the grapes in the fields and waiting for a freezing cold to pick them up, they managed to produce a wine that doesn´t even taste like wine. 14.8% percent of alcohol and pure pleasure that I´ve never tasted before. If You ever visit Split let our sommelier take You to their new shop in the town center where You can try all their fantastic achievements.

 

Fortress Starigrad above Omiš January 2013.

A cold winter day with Bura wind was a nice chance to drive to town Omis and check out the view from Fortica. This amazingly well preserved medieval fortress  above Omis offers spectacular view in all directions. Our cold winter wind Bura usually clears the air so we were able to see all the nearby islands and countryside with Cetina river. It is first mentioned in the 15th century under the name Castrum Stary or Civitate Antiqua. From Fortica it was easy to control the whole area which Omis pirates used very well in their looting attacks. It also came out handy during the Turks attacks because it was very hard to conquer. During the last aggression on Croatia a group of local enthusiasts with assistance of school children restored the fortress with their hands, all without use of any modern technologies. Croatian Mountain Rescue Service uses Fortica as one of many stations for search and rescue missions.

Grabovac Winery January 2013.

As Anthony Bourdain said: Why, o why does this country have so many amazing wines? We set out to Imotski to see for ourselves. Our hosts, family Grabovac from village Proložac near town Imotski was the finest example of how much people can accomplish if they love their work. Wine is their life and it can be felt on each corner of the house and every moment spent with these modest and diligent people. Their wine cellar offers a variety of white and red wines and it´s really hard to say what would be the first choice. Barrels full of Kujundzusa, Posip or Crljenak (from which Zinfandel actually originates from) fill out two floors of their house. After a fantastic homemade 5 year old Vinjak (similar to Cognac), great local sheep cheese with homemade fritters, 100 liter bowl of Gulas (a meat dish, this time with pasta) there was nothing else to do but try everything they have in the cellar. There is a saying that no headache will come when first class wines are in the glases, and it´s true. Oh and let´s not forget town Imotski with Blue and Red lake, a worlds unique carst hydrography phenomena, a must see places nearby. But that´s a long story…


 

 

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