Hvar Wine and Culture Tour of Italy: A Full Report

By paul 21 Mar 2015, 10:35 AM What's On This Month?

A Hvar trip report from the wine and culture tour of Italy. 

Hvar's winemakers are back from Italy!

The week-long wine and culture tour has been deemed a great success, and I am a little envious that my duties in Bavaria meant that I could not attend. They seem to have managed without me, and Hvar WIne Association President Ivana Krstulovic Caric has sent this excellent trip report below. 

There are many people to thank, but I know that it was the tireless work of Croatian Embassy Cultural Attache Ines Sprem in Rome, working very well with Ivana, that made this trip possible. Bravo Ladies!

The Hvar Winemakers Association has returned from a tour in Italy, that was organized in collaboration with the Croatian Embassy in Rome, Tourist Board of Split and Dalmatia County , Tourist Board of Jelsa and other Tourist Boards of the Island of Hvar. Five of our members were presenting the wines: Carić, Pz Svirče, Tomić, Vujnović and Plenković.

The tour started in Rome, where we had 2 presentations, one in the "Azienda Romana Mercati" and other in the Association for the culture "Vita Romana".

The first event was opened with the speech of the Croatian Ambassador to the Holy See, Filip Vučak and continued with Ines Šprem, cultural attache who made this tour possible, by connecting us to different institutions and associations.

The first event aimed media representatives, where our team of culture and wine (Zorka Bibić , history of the art professor, Marija Plenković, ethnologist, Ivana Krstulović Carić, agronomist and the president) together with Joško Stella, director of the Tourist Board of Split and Dalmatia County and prof. Ernest di Renzo, antropologist from Tor Vergata University presented the attractions and interesting stories related to the wine and culture of the island. The same team presented a part of our wine culture and dialect values and particularities to the Croatian Community of Molise.

While visiting Rome, Tourist Board Jelsa's Director presented the Island of Hvar in the San Lorenzo in Lucina Square, by presenting brochures, and giving gifts to the Romans (a sweet delicatessen from our island), while Klapa Kaštilac was singing traditional songs.

A very interesting part of the tour was the visit of Apulia Region to the town of Manduria and the Consortium Primitivo di Manduria, but also the guided tasting in Masseria Maccarone near Fasano.
Manduria is a town with a very long tradition of the vine cultivation and presence of the human civilization. The Mayor  Dott. Roberto Leonardo Massafra  and the Council members welcomed our group and showed us very interesting things about their community. It was very interesting to discover the interesting story about their predecessors the ancient Ilirian tribe of Massapi. So we can tell there are many interesting connections with our island, who had the other Ilirian tribe governing the island before the Greek colonization.

Manduria is an agricultural community based on wine production, especially on the variety Primitivo, the variety that is genetically identical to Zinfandel and Crljenak Kaštelanski, so it was vary interesting to compare their wines to Plenković Crljenak, but also to find out about the similarities and differences between father (Crljenak) and the son (plavac). The presentation of the wine region characteristics and history of the winemaking was moderated and translated by Ines Sprem, and the technical part of the tasting was moderated by Davor Šestanović, Zlatan Otok's oenologyst together with the representatives of the AIS (Italian Sommelier Association).

It was a great pleasure to collaborate with Mr. Giussepe Baldassarre who guided the tasting in Masseria Maccarone, a beautiful olive growing and oil mill estate. Mr Baldassarre  has a huge knowledge about Primitivo wines, but also about other wines like Crljenak, Zinfandel and Plavac. It was an interesting coincidence ithat about less than a month before he guided a very successful tasting called Primitivo and his brothers , that included the most interesting varieties related to primitivo, such as crljenak, zinfandel, plavac mali and vranac, and two wines from Hvar wineries participated Plovac Ploški of Carić winery and Zlatan Crljenak of Plenković winery.

The tour continued to other regions, Calabria and Campania.

We visited beautiful tourist area of Amantea, with the beautiful old town situated on the mounting cliffs and kilometers of the sand beaches. The event in Amantea took place in the romantic Restaurant and the Hotel Le Clarisse, where the wines where presented but in the different way, by pairing them with food, Dalmatian and Calabrese dishes, prepared by the hotel chefs and Ivo Carić the chef and the winemaker from Hvar. The visitors could taste different Dalmatian dishes such as salted anchovies with the kale, black risotto and bakalar with the potatoes and calabrese orecchiete with the swordfish sauce and monkfish wrapped in bacon, followed by semifredo with liquer of cedro calabrese. The dishes were exceptional and the wine paring was recommended by BIBENDA, a Italian Sommelier Fondation.

Hearing that we passed by their region, we got a call from the organizer of the Wine Fredane Festival, Mr. Marco Trasente, who invited us to stay for one day in Avellino so we finished our tour in Campania.

Again we had collaboration with AIS, and their member Mr. Annito Abate guided the tasting, after which there was a nice evening in the Wine Fredane bar, which will have some of the Hvar wines in their offer soon. This is just a beginning of our friendship with Italian producrs and wine lovers, and the story will continue this summer, when we are welcoming a group from Avellino and Manduria.

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