Spring Calls for Spring Wines

Recently held Pink Day, a traditional festival of rosé wines, once again served to remind us how perfectly suited for each other spring and pink wines are. Spring mood and spring food call for something light, refreshing and easy-drinking.

While some ten years ago rosés were hard to find and wrongly viewed as just a sweet, simple, girly version of wine, the situation is quite the opposite now, and this trend doesn’t show any signs of decline. A vast majority of Croatian wineries have a rosé in their portfolio, and it’s definitely not a by-product, but rather a thoughtfully designed wine. Dry or slightly sweet, still or sparkling, simple or more complex, we have them all.

“Early spring is the time for Pink Day, festival of rosé wines.” Image credit: Pink Day FB 

Croatian Uplands, one of our four major wine regions, with Zagreb at its centre, has plenty to offer when it comes to spring wines. Appellations in this area, like Plešivica, Moslavina, Prigorje, Zagorje and Međimurje, share many similar features, most importantly the climate. Cool climate means that white grapes dominate this region. However, rosé wines are made from red grapes – basically, they are red grapes processed as white grapes. Obviously, the most common red variety is Pinot noir, with some occasional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or even Syrah. Therefore, there’s not that much material to make rosé wines to begin with. But don’t despair, you won’t be deprived of good pink wines around Zagreb.

“There’s no better refreshment than a glass of pink bubbles on a sunny day.” Image credit: Taste of Croatia

Since sparkling wines are the flagship of Plešivica region, it’s only natural that rosés come in the shape of bubbles in this tiny area. Connoisseurs will point you to Tomac and Šember wineries, the pioneers of the local sparkling production, and their benchmark rosé brut labels. Not far behind you can find some very fine bottles of pink bubbles by wineries like Kurtalj, Coletti or Barundić, lately also Korak, as well as a unique sparkling rosé made from Portugizer grapes by Krešimir Ivančić. In Zelina, look out for Kos family and their Rosula, in Zagorje try Bregh Rose from Petrač winery, in Moslavina set your palate on Glamour rosé sparkling wine from Miklaužić winery, and in Međimurje sip some Sibon rosé. When it comes to still wines, Bolfan, organic winery from Zagorje, is always a reliable choice. Their rosé is made from 100% Pinot noir, same as still rosé wines from Međimurje, although they like a little kick of sweetness up there. Nice examples come from Dvanajščak-Kozol and Cmrečnjak wineries, and both of them also make a bubbly version.

“There are different styles and colours, lighter, darker, but they should all be enjoyable and easy-drinking.” Image credit: Enogastrobrutal

If for some reason you’re not a fan of pink wines and prefer regular light and crispy whites in spring, you’re in for a treat. Making this type of wine is the speciality of the Croatian Uplands, whether it’s produced from well-known international varieties or exotic native grapes. The best Croatian Sauvignon blanc comes from this area. Their style is not as flamboyant as the ones coming from the New World, but rather refreshing, delicate, grassy and herbal. Moslavina’s flagship wine called Škrlet is the embodiment of a light and fresh spring wine that you can easily drink chilling on a terrace. Prigorje’s candidate in this niche is Kraljevina, and in Međimurje they take pride in Pušipel, their local trademark.

“Škrlet wine from Moslavina is high on the list of best spring/summer wines.” Image credit: Vina Voštinić-Klasnić FB

Warm and sunny spring days are made for easy living, socializing and enjoying the good stuff. Here in Zagreb can really consider ourselves lucky to live surrounded with several wine regions so close at hand, all of them with a steady supply of excellent wines to match our spring mood.

Header image credit: Taste of Croatia

Author: Morana Zibar/Taste of Croatia