Wines in Croatia: Zlatan Otok from Hvar Top Producer at Sabatina
There was more recognition for the wines from Hvar at Sabatina 2011 in Zadar, as Zlatan Plenkovic's Zlatan Otok wines win top prize for both red and white.
Further recognition of the quality of the wines from the island of Hvar was provided at the 21st Sabatina international wine festival in Zadar on Saturday November 5, 2011, as the island's leading producer Zlatan Otok took first prize for both the red and white wine categories.
Zlatan Otok, First Winner of Best Wine for Both Red and White
The winery, owned by Zlatan Plenkovic and based on the southern side of Croatia's sunniest island in the picturesque village of Sveta Nedjelja, won best red wine with its 2008 Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru, while the winning white wine was the 2010 Zlatan Posip. It was the first time in Sabatina's 21-year history that both categories were won by the same producer.
During a small ceremony before the official awards, Plenkovic told reporters that he was particularly proud of the recognition for the white Posip, according to a report in Zadarski List. Its vineyards are located near Makarska and are only five years old, and he was pleased to be able to produce such an award-winning wine from a young vineyard without the use of artificial fertilisers.
Arrival of Croatian Wines on the International Scene
Croatian wines have been relatively unheard of on the international scene, but things are changing fast. The art of wine-growing on Hvar dates back to the arrival of the Ancient Greeks in modern-day Stari Grad, and the adjoining Stari Grad Plain - under UNESCO protection - is the largest cultivated field on the Adriatic, with wine and olive production continuing uninterrupted for 24 centuries.
After a devastating phylloxera attack in the first half of the 20th Century and a lack of infrastructure during the Communist era, Croatian wines are beginning to take the international wine world by storm, with some 65 Croatian wines winning awards at the 2011 Decanter Wine Awards, for example.
The Wine Producers of Hvar
Leading the way is Plenkovic himself, the only producer of a Grand Cru in Croatia. A cursory glance at the awards page on the Zlatan Otok website gives an indication of the international pedigree of the winery's wines. Not that Plenkovic is the only quality producer on Hvar; the wines of Andro Tomic in Jelsa, Vinarija Caric in Svirce, the Plancic winery in Vrbanj, and the mercurial reds of Ivo Dubokovic in Jelsa are all worth seeking out.
One of the best ways of doing this (and seeing the island at the same time) is by taking one of the excellent wine tours offered by local travel experts such as Secret Hvar or Hvar Adventure. Expect to hear a lot more about the wines from Croatia in general and Hvar in particular in the coming months.