Croatia – Get Ahead of the Trend

In 2019, over 20 million tourists visited Croatia to take in the country’s gorgeous natural scenery and rich culture. Had they taken a deeper look, those visitors would have also found a prolific wine tradition that dates back to ancient Rome, and one that, today, represents an undiscovered bounty of unique grapes and terroirs that make compelling, affordable and, most importantly, delicious wines.

The modern era of Croatian wine began in the 18th Century, when the area was a part of the Habsburg Empire. Historically, most of what was produced came from large cooperatives, eager to satisfy the local market and tourists alike with simple, pleasant wines. More recently, the industry has undergone a focused, quality-oriented transformation. There are still plenty of large producers making rather ordinary wine, but dig a little further and you’ll find an abundance of small- and medium-sized wineries making exceptional wines for all occasions.

About the Region

Croatia is a relatively small wine-producing country, with only 20,000 hectares under vine (Spain has 1.2 million hectares planted). There are over 400 grape varieties grown here, the vast majority of which are indigenous to the area.  Sadly, many of these local grapes are being uprooted in favour of more recognizable international varieties.  Generally speaking, Croatia’s wine geography consists of two areas (inland and coastal) split in two by a series of ridges that run parallel to the Adriatic Sea.

Croatian Grapes

The inland region has a classic Continental climate, with hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters.  90% of the grapes found here are white, chief among them Graševina, the most prevalent grape in Croatia with substantial plantings throughout the country.  This is a late-ripening variety that makes aromatic, textured wines with zippy acids and an orchard fruit profile.  Other white grapes of note include Malvazija Istarksa, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  The primary red grape from inland Croatia is Frankovka, known elsewhere as Blaufränkisch.  Like most of the red grapes from this area, Frankovka tends to make elegant, mid-weight wines with a lovely combination of crunchy berry fruit and savoury complexity.


If it’s full, fleshy reds you’re after, you’ll want to head to Croatia’s coastal region.  The climate here is Mediterranean, with a long, warm growing season and moderate winter.  Plavac Mali is the country’s most recognized and revered grape.  It makes darkly-coloured, dense and tannic wines with plenty of rich, dark fruit character.  For most of its life, Plavac Mali was mistakenly identified as Zinfandel, the popular variety responsible for brambly, appealing wines predominantly from California.  In fact, it was recently discovered that another Croatian grape, Crljenak Kastelanski, is identical to Zinfandel.

The Wine World’s Best Kept Secret

Unfortunately, Croatia appears to be far better at making wine than marketing it.  There is little infrastructure in place to coordinate campaigns to help spread the word.  However,  this is slowly changing. The country’s entry into the European Union in 2013 was a huge boost to the industry and interest in Croatian wine is on the rise.  The well-known and highly-respected British magazine, Decanter, recently identified Croatia as one of the wine trends to watch in 2021.  It has all the ingredients needed to become a significant contributor on the world wine stage: proper terroir; established vineyards; quality indigenous grapes; a thriving tourist industry; and passionate, knowledgeable individuals. 


For now, these wines remain under the radar in Ontario, as few find their way here. But Buyers+Cellars is ahead of the trend, with several terrific offerings from Feravino.  Here is your opportunity to take full advantage and taste for yourself what all the fuss is about!

DIKA Grasevina 2019

On the nose, the 2019 Graševina offers notes of cut grass and dried hay, elderflower and green apple. On the palate, minerality mixes with citrus, stone fruit and bright acidity.

$264.00 per 12 bottle case

Classic Grasevina 2019

A wonderful, everyday House White brimming with bright orchard and citrus fruit. The palate is soft, mid-weight and slightly oily with gentle acids and a salty, mineral-inflected finish.

$216.00 per 12 bottle case

DIKA Frankovka 2017

This is a fleshy, heady style of Frankovka. Brilliant ruby in the glass, it is extremely evocative on the nose. There is the signature black fruits and spicebox, but there is a touch of anise and pipe tobacco that is enchanting. The acidity at the core of the wine ensures there is balance and the supple tannins are barely noticeable but form a lovely backbone.

$264.00 per 12 bottle case

 **Due to high demand, we are currently out of stock. More is on its way this month!

Classic Frankovka 2o18

A fresh and bright red reminiscent of quality New World Gamay. Light in body with a soft, round palate and forward berry fruit. Widely appealing.

$216.00 per 12 bottle case

**Due to high demand, we are currently out of stock. More is on its way this month!

‘Save on shipping! We will waive the delivery fee for residents of Ottawa and the GTA, residents outside of those areas will save $10 on their shipping costs'

Share This Post