Sunday, April 4, 2010

Croatian Kastelet

One of the neat aspects of this little Wine Odyssey, is that I am making conscious efforts to explore more and more distant regions and to try and expose myself to an even greater understanding of just how diverse the world of wine really is.

I picked up tonight's bottle back before the Winter Olympics came to town. I tried to find wines from as many countries as I could that were potential gold medal winners. I can't say that I've ever tried a Croatian wine before, but I didn't get to pop the cork during the Games since the best the country's athletes could garner was two silver and one bronze medal - just shy of that gold medal criteria that I'd set.

That just meant that the bottle was still available to try now that the Games are behind us.

401. 2006 Dalmacijavino Kastelet Red (Croatia)

I couldn't find out a whole lot about this wine - not that I'm all that surprised by the fact. I was, however, rather surprised that the wine was even available at the government liquor store. My guess is that Vancouver's Croatian community has created a demand for the wine and this is one of the more prominent wines available for export.

Dalmacijavino does have a small web page but it doesn't have an English version, so you have to rely on your computer's Croatian to English translation capabilities. It gives a bit of an idea of the content but I did get a chuckle out of one of the translated paragraphs - "Dalmacijavino has its own, technially equipped modern cellars for wine production and the nursing homes, also boast a large capacity is the vineyard." I couldn't help but wonder if the wine is being made for the residents of the nursing homes or whether those residents help cover their room and board costs by working in the fields.

I did find out in general though that Croatia is the 21st largest wine-producing nation in the world. Its wineries produce over three times as much wine as Canada's do. I suppose that shouldn't be that much of a surprise since it is a Mediterranean country. The country still has to move forward more to thoroughly modernize its wine production though. Throughout the not-too-distant communist years, production was based more on quantity than quality, but some change is being seen as there is some interest in investing new monies in the industry.

The country produces mostly white wines - almost two to one when compared to the red wines like the one we're drinking tonight - and there are two major regions, the Mediterranean coast and the more continental interior. The red varietals are largely grown on the coast, particularly on the Dalmatian peninsula.

The label on the bottle states that Kastelet is made from the Plavac Mali grape - another new varietal to add to my Wine Century Club application. The grape is the most common varietal grown along the Dalmatian coast and it is apparently noted for some similarity to Zinfandel. Recent research at UC Davis has identified, through DNA fingerprinting, that Zin is one of the parents behind the cross that became Plavac Mali. I don't think that I would have guessed Zinfandel if I'd been tasting the wine blind though.

Coming in at $11 at the Liquor Store, it certainly has an agreeable price point. Unfortunately, for me, the information I found out about the production of wine in Croatia was more interesting than the wine was tasty. We managed to finish off the bottle, but I doubt I'd pick up another bottle - even if the country's athletes win that gold medal at the next games.

1 comment:

  1. i just dronk a kastelet from 1991 , it is still verry good wine