Wine Tastings & Tours

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Random Selection of Bulgaria

Let's start with a few facts that you probably didn't know about Bulgarian wines.  We all remember the 1980's early 90's when Bulgarian Cabernet was cheap and cheerful, the wine of choice for those strapped for cash.  They had started on the varietal labelling before the Australians and Californians had thought of it and they flooded the market with gluts of very drinkable low price wines, particularly reds.  The reason they could do that was that the whole industry at the time was state owned and subsidised by the Communists to bring in much needed hard currency. 

But what happened before or after?  Well long before, very long before, the Thracians invaded the territory of what is now Bulgaria and made themselves at home there.  This ancient tribe, that never managed the basics of reading and writing, were famous for 2 things: they were fierce fighters and they loved their booze.  So they introduced viticulture to the region well before even the Greeks and Romans had thought of that, in fact the latter were still busy wielding wooden clubs and crawling out of caves.  Bulgaria can therefore claim to be one of the cradles of winemaking alongside Georgia and Armenia, something not many people are aware of. 

Wine production continued to flourish as the Greeks and Romans invaded respectively, but then the 15th century came along and with it the Turks, Muslims of course, who weren't very keen on wine for some unknown and unfathomable reason.  So viticulture went into decline and never fully recovered, until now... perhaps... 

Well the Wine Anarchist has set out to find out more about the current state of the wine industry in Bulgaria.  After the fall of Communism the land formerly nationalised was redistributed to it's former owners, a slow and messy process.  Some native varieties have miraculously survived centuries of neglect, such as Melnik, Mavrud, Gamza and new money started pouring in, but the country is still poor and infrastructure isn't what you'd expect of a member of the EU.  People are starting to find their feet again and wine producers are finding it hard to compete in a market that still remembers the cheap offerings from a couple of decades ago, but the potential for quality wine is clearly there as the WA discovered on his visit to Borovitza.

To find out a bit more the Wine Anarchist went into a large supermarket and selected a random selection of Bulgarian wines from the shelves and tested them.  This is a totally unscientific sampling, all made from international grape varieties, that should give some idea of what is now produced.  Here are the results of the experiment:

Leva Winemaker's Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Rose Valley:  This wine, according to their web-site, apparently won the 'Golden Rython' Prize, which the WA has never heard of either.  The colour is a pale straw; the nose has notes of green apples and nettles; the palate is well defined with crisp fresh apple notes, hints of cloves and minerals.  A very elegant wine in the Loire style with a long elegant finish and nice fruit characters.  Jolly nice value at BGN 6.75*

600 Sauvignon Blanc 2011 'No Man's Land' Danubian Plain, Damianitza Winery
 The No Man's Land brand is apparently because the winery own vineyards in the former no-go zone near the Turkish border, but this offering comes from the north of the country.  The 600 in the name is not explained...  The wine is very pale straw; the nose displays green gooseberries and some minerally, flinty notes; on the palate we found fresh zesty lime fruit and steely notes.  Perhaps a bit mean, lacking real fruit, neither having huge complexity or length.  It came in a gift pack with a 1/2 bottle of Buteo Cabernet Sauvignon from the same company, together costing BGN13.65

 Buteo Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, 'No Man's Land' Thracian Valley
70% of this wine have been matured for 10 months in French barrique.  The colour is medium ruby with a garnet rim, showing it's age; the bouquet has herbal qualities, including eucalyptus reminiscent of cough sweets, combined with hints of cow manure and sweet redcurrants; whilst this may not sound too appealing the palate was complex with more slightly medicinal characters and a soft yet firm structure and a good length.  A wine definitely at the peak of it's development and good drinking if you like mature wines.  Note: this wine was out of a half bottle and therefore be a bit more advanced in its development.

Junior Merlot Tempranillo 2012 'Young Wine' Katazyna Vineyards, PGI Thracian Valley: This was obviously an attempt to emulate a Rioja Joven and had caught the WA's eye for that reason, however he was to be disappointed: The colour was medium purplish and the nose was quite promising with intense ripe and lush fruit of elderberries, plums, cinnamon and stewed figs; however the palate was dominated by the high alcohol levels, giving a burning sensation (14.5%); the very soft acidity and lack of tannin failed to offer a balance to the alcohol and it finished on an unpleasant bitter note.  Altogether a badly balanced wine and not worth the BGN8.55.  The WA did not even manage to finish the bottle, a rare occasion for him!

 Edoardo Miroglio Cabernet Franc 2010 PGI Thracian Valley.  Now if this sounds a bit Italian, it's because the owner IS Italian Edoardo has actually come into wine via the textile industry, which, forgive the WA's cynicism, was probably a way to invest his money safe from the Italian tax authorities.  However the wine isn't so bad at all!  The colour is medium ruby; intense, lush notes of ripe blueberry, freshly mown hay and plums pervade the attractive aromas; the palate is soft and rounded with some gorgeous fruit finishing long on hints of liquorice, vanilla, spice and chocolate.  A really pleasant, easy drinking wine.  In fact the WA is sipping on some of it as he writes these lines and enjoying it immensely.  BGN 12.99

 Dominant 2009 Castra Rubra (Syrah/Cabernet), Tharcian Valley.  Made from organic grapes under the supervision of French winemaker Michel Rolland.
This was definitely the highlight of the tasting.  A deep ruby colour was followed by an intense and complex nose of liquorice, black pepper, brambles, violets, lilac and dark chocolate; the palate was rich and full-bodied, displaying spicy notes, more liquorice and blackberry with a fair backbone balanced by some lovely juicy fruit.  Long, complex, very good indeed, giving many an Australian Shiraz a run for is money, but at a fairly hefty BGN17.49

In conclusion it must be said that Bulgaria certainly has the potential to produce world class wine, but seems to be struggling to find its new identity again.  On a future occasion the WA is planning a tasting of indigenous grape varieties, which surely should be the strength of what this country can produce

*BGN (Bulgaria Leva) converts to about €0.50

Monday, 20 May 2013

Borovitza Winery, North-Western Bulgaria

 On his travels the Wine Anarchist had the great pleasure of being the guest of Ognyan (Ogi) Tzetanov and his partner Adriana at the Borovitza winery near Belogradchik in north-western Bulgaria (They don't actually have a proper web-site, but check out their Facebook page too).  The region is famed for its bizzarly shaped red rock formations that litter the countryside for over 30km, the highlight of which is the Belogradchik fortress pictured above, which is nestled into the rocks for extra natural protection. 

It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, so you would be expecting this place to attract a large, numbers of tourists, yet although it was a main holiday time for Bulgarians with May Day,Orthdox Easter and the National Holiday all falling in the same week, it was remarkably quiet.  Yes of course we weren'y alone, but this area is ranks as the poorest region within the European Union, despite al the tourist poential, not to mention... potential to make world class wines!  And that's of course what we are here to talk about!

The Wine Anarchist had previously visited this winery back in November 2012, but the weather was grey and foggy and he didn't get to see anything of the rocks or the vineyards and also he was suffering from a stinking cold at the time, so missed out tasting some of the gems on offer.  On this occasion he got to see one of the outlying vineyards in the village of Gradetz, some 50km north of the winery, near the Danube river on the border to Romania and Serbia.

This partcular plot is planted mosty with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as a little Sauvignon Gris, a rare varient of Sauvignon Blanc which has a pink-hued skin and is even more aromatic than its white cousin. 

Now at this point it might be a good time explain some of Ogi Tzetanov'sapproach to wine making.  During the Communist era, Ogi worked as a microbiologist at the National Research Institute in Sofia, so he knows a thing or two about the chemistry of it all.  He has also spent some time in California, where he widened his experience and world view.  It shows his ... how shall we put it ... excentric, quirky, plain odd? ... nature that he chose to buy a run-down winery in the poorest part of Europe back in 2004 to try and make boutique wines here.  And there is no other way of describing his wines.  He makes dozens of small to tiny parcels of wine, each different and individual.  Some parcels are as small as a dozen... 20 bottles, if, as he puts it, the wine deserves its individual expression and attention.

Now back to the Gradetz vineyard, much of it got killed off during the catastrophic frosts of 2010/11, and is only slowly recovering.  It is gently south sloping (so away from the river Danube which lies to the north) and pure limestone subsoils, similar, in fact almost identical , to those of the Champagne region in France.  Here is a nice profile picture of the soil at Ch. de Val, which right next door to Ogi's vineyard.

One of the wines made at this site is the excellent Cuvée Cadeau Pinot Noir.  The WA didn't get around to making any tasting notes this time, but he liked the firm structure of this wine with well integrated Pinot fruit.  He did get to taste a barrel sample of the 2010 Chardonnay from this vineyard too though, which despite 2 1/2 years in barrel still displayed remarkably fresh pineapple fruit together with some herby nettle notes.  The texture was soft, creamy and rich with a long spicy finish.

 Yes and talking of barrel samples, the WA and his companions Vasko from BuyVinaR, his wife and his dog, were treated to a sampling of quite a few things directly from the barrels as Ogi went around with his 'thief' to delight his guests.

As the WA and Vasko almost always differ when it comes to tasting notes, heated discussion soon ensued about which was the better Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, each competitively blending their respective favourites to come up with better results, suggesting to turn this one to a sparkling wine, blended with a bit of that one, until he was completely confused as to what he actually had in his various glasses that accumulated in front of him.

Anyway to give you some idea, here are at least some of the notes he took before confusion started to reign:

  • Marsanne/Roussanne/Viognier 2012: Aromatic and fresh yellow fruit, touch of spice, warm and full; lovely fruit with apricot stones and a slight almondy finish.  Very nice indeed.
  • Incidentally he took a bottle of the 2011 of the same wine with him to taste and these are his impressions on tasting this wine at a later date: Medium straw colour; some aromatic peaches coming through, hints of banana skin, but more of the almond notes on this one as well as some mineral quality and less fresh as the 2012; full-bodied, with more of the peach fruit coming through and a long spicy finish.  
  • Cuvée Borovitza Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc: Yeasty, bready nose; soft, a bit tart on the finish, but kind of lacking fruit
  • Pinot Noir Chardonnay (base wine for sparkling wine): Plenty of Pinot fruit, high acidity, long and elegant.  It shold turn out to be in the Louis Roederer style, which is very much to the Wine Anarchists liking.
  • Pinot Noir Rosé: Pale pink; a nose of raspberries and water paints; intense sweet strawberry fruit on the palate with a crea, mouth-waterring texture with a long finish.  Very nice indeed.
The majority of the vineyards are actually around the village of Borovitza, where they own some 7.5 ha.

 Other bottled wines tasted on this occasion were:

  • Borovitza White Cuvée 2010: Medium straw colour; a slightly mature stalky nose of damp hay and nutmeg; the palate is soft, smooth with some baked apple notes and some more of that nutmeg-like spice and even a touch of anise.  Pleasant enough, but previously the WA had tasted the fresher 2012 which was much fresher and more aromatic, showing plenty of Muscat fruit.  The wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Muskat.  
  • Borovitza Gamza 2010, Great Terroir Range:  Gamza is one of Bulgaria's indigenous grape varieties and is widely considered their answer to the Gamay of Beaujolais, i.e. good for making light, easy drinking reds.  This example comes from a vineyard with sandy clay soils planted with 39 year old vines, the wine was then aged for 2 years in oak.  The result is a wine with a light ruby colour; a bouquet of blackberries and forest floor / damp leaves.  The palate light and soft with hints of spice and some gorgeous mouthwatering fruit reminiscent of blackberries and sweet plums, finishing long.  Pleasant easy drinking, but enough character to keep up the interest.
  • Borovitza Bouquet 2011, Great Terroir Range: Bouquet is a grape variety bred in Bulgaria as a cross of the indigenous Mavrud and Pinot Noir, kind of Bulgaria's answer to Pinotage.  This particular example has been matured in oak for 16 months.  The cross seems to have inherited more from it's Mavrud parentage with a deep purple colour; a rich and fruity nose of blackberries and blackcurrants; The palate displays a lively acidity and slightly tart ripe berry fruit flavours, particularly fruit of the forest and ribena-like blackcurrants.  It is a lovely easy drinking wine with a long and pleasant finish.
  • Sensum 2008: An appropriately named Cabernet/Merlot blend (75/25), this wine still has a vibrant deep purple colour and an intense nose of blackcurrants and lead-pencil sharpening, not unlike a good Margaux in a ripe vintage.  There also hints of sweet violets detectable.  The palate brings out intense spicy, ripe and appealing fruit flavours, which is drinking really nicely at this stage, finishing long on hints of liquorice.  An absolute stunner this one!
  • Borovitza Merlot Pepper Garden 2009.  This wine is made from very old vines (55 years old) grown on clay gravel soils and matured for 3 years in Bulgarian and American barrique.  The colour is deep ruby, but showing signs of maturity towards the rim; the nose displays intense blackberry and plum fruit with distinct black pepper and vanilla notes; the palate  brings out some warm herbal and spicy notes of thyme and black pepper and the lovely warm fruit is well balanced by a firm structure; he finish is long with hints of liquorice and plenty of spice.  A wine of great intensity and complexity.
Where can I get hold of these wines I hear you ask.  Well you can either come on holiday in this stunningly beautiful region and pop into the winery, taste your way around, and if you like something snap it up imediately, because next time it's likely to be gone.  Alternatively, if you live in the UK, contact the Wine Anarchist's good friend Vasko Rachkov, who imports some these gems.  Currently he does not have a web-site (yet), but you can contact him via his Facebook page

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Pleven Wine Museum

This was supposed to be a post about THE place to start finding out about what Bulgarian wines have to offer in a place of stunning natural beauty with plenty of photos of the exciting and informative exhibits in the Pleven Wine Museum.  Well as for the photos... the Wine Anarchist lost his camera before he got around downloading his photos onto another device, so all photos are taken straight from the official website of the Pleven Wine Museum.  As for the exciting and informative exhibits, more on later.  At least there was some stunning natural beauty,one out of three ain't bad...

If you google the words wine and Bulgaria, the website of the Pleven Wine Museum comes up fairly near the top.  It claims to be the only museum dedicated to wine in the Balkans and according to their blurb "is a result of a long-time development work carried out by a team of Bulgarian and French professional architects, designers, enologists and museum experts".  It boasts a collection of some 7,000 Bulgarian wines, some as old as 90 years old, and "visitors can taste wine and buy bottles of over 6000 kinds of wine from all regions of Bulgaria."

As the town of Pleven,just to the north of the Balkan mountain range in the Danubian plain of northern Bulgaria was kind of on the way for him, it seemed an unmissable place.  The Wine Anarchist had done his research, locating the Wine Museum actually a few km south of the city of Pleven in the Kailaka National Park, and established that the opening times were Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm, although this was not clear from the official website.

So he timed his arrival in the area for a Tuesday afternoon, plenty of time to book into a nearby hotel, take the dog for a wander around the nature reserve and be ready and fresh for a late morning visit to the museum the next day and an interesting tasting, before heading off to where he was actually heading for.

The Kailaka National Park was indeed beautiful, situated within a green valley south of the city, with a small river running through it, plenty of little wetland areas created for all kinds of critters and two artificial lakes at the top of the valley.  A popular place for the good citicens of Pleven to come out to jog, cycle or walk their dogs.

And right next to the lower of the 2 lakes, inside a natural cave is the Pleven Wine Museum.

The Wine Anarchist got there a little early and since the weather was nice, he took his dog and his wife for a walk around the lakes.  11 o'clock came and went and nobody had showed up.  He was starting to wonder, whether this was a completely wasted 200km trip he had embarked on.  Finally at about a quarter to 12 someone opened the gates and he was let in in eager anticipation.  They didn't even mind his dog coming in with him once he explained to the pleasant English speaking lady that the dog had a much better nose and was relied upon for giving judgements on wine tastings. 

The Wine Anarchist had no qualms about paying a 5 Bulgarian Leva entrance fee (about €2.50), after all here was the promise of 5 galleries within the museum. Little did he know that the first gallery was the one he was in, which simply was the wine shop.

At least the young lady put a glass of wine into his hands, namely a Villa Rustika Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from the nearby Ch. Kailaka, which indeed was excellent.  A very nice aromatic Sauvignon nose of gooseberry and elderflowers.  Almost New Zealand style.  The Chardonnay adds a bit of body and width to the wine.  Good start.  He swiftly moved onto the central gallery which consisted of a large round table with chairs around and a video screen.

The lovely asistant proceeded to put on a promotional video on the wine museum and the city of Pleven.  It kind of told us the same as the promotional blurb on the website, but very little about Bulgarian wine, which would have been more interesting especially since he was about to see the museum itself with his own eyes, so why show a video wth all the exhibits in it beforehand?

From this central gallery the other 3 galleries come off.  First the Wine Anarchist wandered off to is left to a gallery with yet another table and some barrels... old barriques to be precise...


He knocked on a couple of the barrels and they sounded hollow and empty to him...  hmmm... not very interesting so far, seen plenty of those before and usually full.  Hoping things would improve he wandered off into the gallery with the historical exhibits.  Most exhibits, and there aren't that many in the first place, are simple pictures of wine related items going back to Thracian, Greek and Roman times.  There were a couple of actual exhibits too as well as what looked like an illegal poteen still.  It took all of 5 minutes careful study to complete the tour of that gallery.  Here a the two highlights:

The final gallery contained bottles, mostly full, sticking horizontally from holes in the wall in order of their geographic regions.

No further explanations, no maps to show where these regions actually are, what their specific characteristics are, what grape varieties are grown there, soil types, climate, nothing, zero, zilch, niente!  Now don't get me wrong, the Wine Anarchist likes looking at wine bottles as much as the next person, but if you don't know anything about the contents, looking at bottles quickly becomes very boring, especially if some of the labels are in undecipherable Cyrillic letters, or as in some of the older examples, there is no label at all!

So the only thing that could now safe the day was a tasting of some of these wines, followed by a possible purchase of some these treasures.  As the Wine Anarchist approached the front desk again and timidly asked what else there was to taste, how about something else from this local winery for example, she recommended a Cabernet Mavrud from the same winery.  The WA said that sounded interesting, which prompted the lovely assistant to wrap up the bottle and ask for 11 Leva.  Confused, the WA said he thought he was going to be given a taste.  "Oh no", she said, "there is nothing else open to taste at the moment."

Maybe as a booked group you would get better treatment.  In fact the Wine Anarchist has plans of organising wine tours for foreigners in Bulgaria and was considering making this one of his stops.  But as a visit for anyone visiting Bulgaria, this is not worth a detour and does not deserve the term museum.  It's a wine shop in a pretty location.  Do stop for the park if you happen to be passing, and if you're looking for a specific Bulgarian wine, you'll probably be able to find it here.

NB: The Wine Anarchist has found his camera again and replaced most of the images with his own.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Frontier Wines

 Currently the Wine Anarchist is heading east into the Balkans.  Bulgaria was his final destination, but he decided to take it easy, diverting off the infamous Autoput motorway which stretches from the Austrian border down to Greece and is the main artery connecting Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece with the west.  Taking it in easy stages he fairly randomly picked the eastern-most corner of Croatia for an overnight stop.  A quick search on the internet confirmed, that wines were produced around the town of Ilok on the southern bank of the Danube, but he didn't know much about them at all.

In fact he knew very little about the wines of the territory of former Yugoslavia since they have split into several smaller states.  All he remembered were some fairly indifferent 'Laszki Rizling', probably from what is now Slovenia.  So this part of Croatia was a complete blank sheet for him.

As he steered his battered old Honda off the autoput his navigator told him to head for the town of Vukovar.  Vague memories of some attrocities happening here during the Yugoslav Wars during the 1990's came to his mind, but the extend of the damage to this town still visible was shocking.  Every house bore bullet holes, was damaged or destroyed by shell fire or had simply a fresh coat of paint.  The inhabitants of the town followed his car with suspicious looks.  He wondered if he made the right decision coming to this area...

As he turned right though, driving along the Danube, he spotted acres of vineyards along it's shores.  The scenerey became friendlier, even though a storm was brewing overhead.  Finally he arrived in the the remarkably pretty historic town of Ilok, the last place before you cross into Serbia.  And it became immediately clear that the town was dominated by wine with signs for wineries on every street corner.

The Wine Anarchist and his motley crew sought refuge at the Hotel Dunav right on the banks of the Danube, where he proceeded to have a dinner of perch pike, caught that morning by the hotel staff, washed down by a jug of very pleasant Grasevina, the local name for Welsh Riesling.

Next morning, on recommendation of the hotel staff, they went to visit the Stari Podrum winery.  Unfortunately their website does not do English.

 The hotel staff were waxing lyrically about the Gewurztraminer they produced and it it turned out that this was a good recommendation.  This winery is excellently equipped to look after wine tourists with an amazing looking restaurant (although the WA did not get to sample the food), accomodation, guided tours of the cellars in English, a friendly wine tasting and a shop.  The tour and tasting are subject to a small fee.

 One of our questions was why nearby Vukovar was so comprehensively destroyed during the war, whilst Ilok, 12km closer to the border had remained pristinely beautiful and seemingly untouched by the war.  The answer was that the Serbs had taken Ilok without much resistance and it had remained in Serb hands for 7 years.  The invisible damage they left behind for this particular winery was that historic large oak barrels were emptied for destillation and then left to rot.  These irreplacable barrels will never be able to hold wine again as they dried out and started to rot.

Also the vineyards were left unattended, meaning that most of them needed replanting after the departure of the Serbs.  This is a great shame as this winery is not only one of the  the largest (with 380ha vineyard holding), but also the oldest winery in Coatia, established way back in 1450.

The cellar boasts large wine archives of historical vintages dating back to the Gewurztraminer 1948, which was served during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the second herself.  A proud moment for the winery. 

All old vintages, except that one are actually for sale to the general public.

The 1948 is only served to any visiting heads of state to the area.  The Wine Anarchist tried to explain to his guide that he had only just declared himself an independent republic, but was still not served said wine.  He might break off diplomatic relations with Croatia in retaliation...

Anyway, what are the wines like I hear you shout!  Well the WA learned that this was principly a white wine region with Welsh Riesling dominating the scene. His opinion of Welsh Riesling as opposed to the true Rhine Riesling had never been very high, so expectations were low.  However he was looking forward to tasting some of the much lauded Gewurztraminer (locally known as Traminac).  Here some notes of what was tasted:

Grasevina Premium 2011: This was the Welsh Riesling, which actually turned out to be rather nice! Straw colour with greenish tinges; baked apple on the nose with hints of cinnamon; the palate revealing more ripe appley fruit a touch of spice, a creamy texture and a good mouthwatering acidity on a long finsh.  Very nice indeed at E12.10.  Silver Medal winner at Vinalles Internationales 2013 in Paris

Rainski Rizling (Rhine Riesling) 2011 Premium: Light golden in colour; the nose brings out classic slatey, minerally and steely Riesling characters; on the palate there is some residual sugar and plenty of lean Riesling steelyness but it lacks fruit and finishes fairly short.  Welsh Riesling does seem to do better in this terroir.

Bielli Pinot (Pinot Blanc) 2010: Medium golden colour; the nose is rich and honeyed showing plenty of maturity already; the palate is rich soft yet dry with some vegetal undertones.  The acidity is still just about holding on, but it was felt that this may just be a little over the top

Traminac (Gewurztraminer) 2011 Selected: Light golden colour; highly aromatic with rose petals and lychees dominating, classic gewurztraminer; the palate is gently spicy with notes of honey and exotic fruit.  Soft acidity, dry with a long spicy finish giving balance to the wine.  Jolly nice indeed! E4.70

 Traminac 2011 Premium: in colour; the nose is more intense with notes of fresh hay together with some lychee fruit and minerally notes; the palate is richer and fuller dosplaying more integrated aromatic notes and greater spicyness.  This wine is complex long and well balanced.  E9.40

Traminac Principovac 2009 'Vrhunsko Vino' (Top in): This late harvest Gewurztraminer displays a deep golden colour and a hugely intense bouquet of  botrytis, honey, exotic fruit and fresh bread.  The palate is medium sweet and concentrated with flavours of overripe apple, quince, lychee and honey.  A good acdity and intense spice balance out the sweetness perfecly on a long, rich and satisfying finish    This wine is an absolute delight and a deserved Gold Medal winner at the VINOFED.  E15.20

Frankovka 2009: The one red that was tasted was the Frankovka, also known as Blaufraenkisch in Austria or Lemberger in the Wuertemberger region of Germany (a region the WA has close family ties with).  The colour on this wine was a light ruby with a pale rim;the nose revealed fruit of the forest aromas with blueberry, blackberry and ripe plums dominan; the palate is light, fresh and lively with pleasant fresh fruit flavours and hints of smoky bacon.  the finish is long with distinct notes of wild strawberries.  A pleasing wine that could just be sipped on it's own. E4.50

*all price quotes ex-winery converted from Kunar into Euro.

All in all this turned out to be a very pleasant and educational visit.  As Croatia is about to become a full member of the EU, it is recommended to visit this region, not only for it's wines, but also for it's historical sites and it's picturesque location on the Danube river and te Stari Podrum is certainly a good place to start exploring the region's wines.