Thursday, 2 September 2021

5 Croatian Rosés Featured in Forbes Magazine

September 2, 2021 - 2021 is shaping up to be a great year for Croatian wines, thanks to the growing group of international Croatian wine enthusiasts who brought the International Pošip Day (May 21, 2021) and International Plavac Mali Day (September 21, 2021) to life this year. Meanwhile, another Croatian wine is starting to steal the spotlight, and it is none other than Croatian rosés!

Lana Bortolot, a certified wine and spirit expert who has been following trends in the wine industry for many years has given the beautiful Dalmatian rosés a big nod. The wine enthusiast, who also writes for top magazines and newspapers including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and International Herald Tribune has recently published an article in Forbes praising the pink wines of Croatia and called it the "new transitional summer into fall wines". 

While there are still many who are unfamiliar with Croatian rosés, Mirena Bagur, the co-founder of the USA-based Croatian Premium Wine Imports Inc., claims that rosés have already been well-established in Croatia for more than a decade or so. Locally known as opolo, the rosé varieties are widely produced in the Dalmatian wine-growing areas. Croatian rosés are known for their transparent ruby hues with deep hints of mature red and black fruits and savoury herbal undertones. They are usually made from Plavac Mali - a special grape variety indigenous to Croatia. Due to the popularity of Plavac Mali, enthusiasts from all over the world marked September 21, 2021, as the first International Plavac Mali Day.

Clifford Rames, a sommelier in New York and a brand ambassador for Croatian wines pointed out the similarity of Croatian rosés with those produced from the south of France. "They are built with a sturdier structure and a moderate tannic grip making them ideal candidates for the grill and beyond." According to him, even though Dalmatians usually enjoy their rosés with locally grilled cuisines such as fish, squid, and lamb over open olive-wood fires, Americans would enjoy pairing them with barbecued meats, burgers, tuna, and portabello mushrooms - dishes which tend to overpower the more delicate French counterpart. Clifford also introduced Darnekuša, Lasina, and Plavina, other varieties that are also indigenous to Croatia, which produce a lighter, coral pink rosés that can compete against Provencial rosés - both price-wise and quality-wise.

Mirena Bagur also additionally commented that each Croatian winemaker has their own version of rosé from Plavac Mali. According to her, Plavac Mali vines that were grown next to each other but processed by different winemakers could result in two very distinctive tastes and may easily be mistaken to be grown from different areas or even different varieties. "They have one thing in common, however, is that because of the tannic structure of Croatian rosés, they are best consumed at least after a year", she added.

Here is Lana's 5 recommended Croatian rosés to rid your summer blues: 

Rizman “Rusula” 2019, Komarna

Grown in Southern Croatia, Rusula is made with 85% Plavac Mali and 15% Syrah. The pinkish tangerine color comes with hints of strawberries and herbs.

Saints Hills “St. Heels” 2019, Dingac 

Lana advises not to get fooled by the playful stiletto heel on the bottle label because this wine is made from pure Plavac Mali with strong cherry and strawberry flavors that will knock your socks off.

Terra Madre “M” Plavac Mali Rose 2019, Komarna

Like Rizman's Rusula, M is produced from 85% Plavac Mali and 15% Syrah, but it boasts a completely different flavour profile than the former. Thanks to the sour cherries and rhubarb which make the wine tart and crisp, this wine is pleasing to the palate. 

Vina Deak Ćaća Moj 2018, Komarna 

This savoury wine is made of 100% Plavac Mali with overtones of dried red fruits, herbs, and vegetables so it pairs well with charcuterie and grilled meats or vegetables.

Volarevic “La Chic!” 2019, Komarna

Another wine containing 100% Plavac Mali, its distinctive savoury taste comes from traces of garden fruits like rhubarb and tomato leaves. It's great paired with food but also good on its own. 

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Sunday, 25 April 2021

Croatian Premium Wine Imports Launch Dubrovnik Wine and History Video Program

April 25, 2021 - Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc, a Boston-based online retailer of indigenous Croatian wines in the US, several public and private organizations, and a team of people on the ground, in Croatia and in the US, recently produced a highly interesting, educational and entertaining video program under the title “Timeless in Dubrovnik: Wine and History Preserved” - with the goal to connect the US public with Croatia as a destination for this coming summer.

The Zoom meeting connected speakers from Dubrovnik, Croatia (including the Mayor of Dubrovnik) Washington, DC, and Boston, MA welcoming over fifty participants, and was also shown on Facebook Live, where within the first 24 hours more than two thousand additional viewers joined in to enjoy the beautiful view of the peaceful Dubrovnik Old Port.

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The sensational view from “Gradska Kavana” is still possible to see through high-quality video at the Coravin Marketplace: Timeless in Dubrovnik: Wine and History Preserved | Coravin. Croatian Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the US, his excellency Pjer Šimunović, was present and emphasized to all that Croatia is open for business and encouraged travelers so that Americans can now start thinking about booking their flights to Croatia, particularly as the news about United Airlines, direct flight from Newark, NJ, to Dubrovnik has been just announced.

Mr. Šimunović, as well as Ms. Ana Hrnić, director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, underscored that the country is putting a lot of effort into creating all necessary protective measures, including vaccination of the people working in tourism and creating centers for testing the foreign visitors. She mentioned www.SafeStayinCroatia.hr website where everybody can be easily informed about the epidemiological situation throughout Croatia, including the islands, and get the key information regarding the nautical industry.

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To showcase Croatia’s history and culture, as well as the oeno-gastro scene, Mr. Mato Franković, the Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, welcomed all to the Dubrovnik’s Old Port. Since the event was designed to promote not only Croatia and Dubrovnik as such, but the wines of the region, Ksenija Matić, sommelier, WSET, and a wine judge introduced the wines, starting with Dubrovačka Malvasija. For centuries, the Dubrovnik Republic’s Rectors were welcoming guests with that wine variety, which was first mentioned as early as in the 1300s. 

Mr. Mayor should know a thing or two about wines -  in addition to running the “Grod” for the last four years – because he originally comes from the Pelješac peninsula known for great wineries. - Although I am not a Rector - said Mr. Franković jokingly - I frequently welcome officials to Dubrovnik with Dubrovačka Malvasija -  as he raised a glass to the viewers, inviting them to come to Dubrovnik. Siniša Lasan, WSET, wine judge, and a three-time Croatian National Champion Sommelier, also joined the tasting to talk about #Plavacmali and specifically two different winemaking styles. The wines presented included  Crvik winery from Konavle and Vinarija Rizman winery, as well as Terra Madre Winery and Vinogradi Volarević, from Komarna Appellation, plus SAINTS HILLS WINERY with the wine from the Dingač Appellation. Ksenija Matić, the owner of www.Eventlab.hr event agency, and a sommelier, WSET, later commented:

"It was a great pleasure to participate in the wine tasting held in  Dubrovnik but aimed primarily for American wine lovers. In addition, I was also chatting with the inventor and founder of Coravin, Inc., Greg Lambrecht, who is an absolutely awesome guy!"

Greg is a self-professed American in Love with Croatia, who started coming to Croatia because of his professional background in the development of medical equipment. He was developing a medical device for spinal surgeries, and he started working with Croatian neurosurgeons, who are, according to Greg, among the best in the world. He was performing different clinical trials of the device at the Dubrava Hospital in Zagreb and at the University of Rijeka, so he got to know Croatia very well and desperately fell in love - with the country. He came to Dubrovnik for the first time with the Croatian Neurosurgical Society and was taken by the beauty of the city, the friendliness of the people, the delicacy of the food, and of course, delighted with the wines. When he decided to establish Coravin to develop revolutionary wine pouring devices, it was in Dubrovnik that he raised the largest amount to finance his venture. A wealthy businessman called him and said: - We will meet in the best city in the world!. When Greg asked which city it was, the gentleman said: - Dubrovnik, of course!

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Today, Coravin company holds a whole line of different products used in restaurants and bars around the world - which help to preserve the wine, or as they say, let you sip a glass of wine at a time, and save the bottle to enjoy later. In fact, during the Zoom meeting - Greg showcased the new product they are just about to launch – the Coravin Pivot.

"Now you tell me that this is not a PHENOMENAL story !!! How much do we use similar stories, and there are more, and the potential we have in wine tourism – for the promotion of Dubrovnik and Croata? People like Greg are actually fantastic ambassadors and promoters of our wines and the country in general. I am happy that we can meet people like this through our business, connect with them and promote our wines," said Ksenija Matić. And she was right! 

Organizers of the event: 

  • www.CroatianPremiumWine.com, an importer and online retailer of more than 50 Croatian wine labels available for shipping to most US states.

 

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Croatian Premium Wine Imports Marks St. Martin's Day with Zoom Wine Tasting

November 10, 2020 - A few days ago, Croatian Premium Wine Imports (CPWI), a company based in Boston that distributes and promotes boutique Croatian wines in the US – organized a ZOOM event to remember.

In order to mark St. Martin's Day, since Saint Martin is a protector of wine and 'Martinje' is cheerfully celebrated in many towns in Croatia, with the help of the Croatian Embassy in Washington, DC, they hosted a virtual wine tasting and meeting of the winemakers from Croatia, wine connoisseurs, wine influencers and the general public. 

The Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia, His Excellency Pjer Šimunović, opened the ZOOM celebration welcoming the speakers as well as guests including the US Croatian diaspora who joined from across the country - from New York, Maryland, Virginia all to way to the West Coast via Texas, California, and Washington state. Guests also included American wine lovers who fell in love with indigenous wines while visiting Croatia. Ambassador Šimunović underscored that - Croatian winemaking stretches back in history and, the US might become a market where quality Croatian wines will find its place, particularly since some of the Croatian wine makers impacted winemaking in the US, such as legendary Mike Grgić. 

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"With more than 80 people registered for this celebration, it is clear that there is interest in boutique Croatian wines across the US, which is why we created an online store that ships to most US States," explained Mirena Bagur, co-founder of Croatian Premium Wines.

"In the US, we started a pre-holiday marketing campaign for a push for gift orders, and in Croatia we are in conversation to expand our inventory with wines from Slavonia and Danube region."

Siniša Lasan, a three-time Croatian National Champion Sommelier, and a sommelier at the Rixos Libertas Hotel in Dubrovnik led the tasting, and the conversations with the winemakers from Međimurje, Istria and Dalmatia. Greg Lambrecht, the inventor and founder of the Coravin System, a wine preservation system allowing to access one glass of wine at a time, also joined the tasting. Greg, as a serial entrepreneur in medical devices, has worked with the Croatian hospitals in Zagreb when he was first introduced to Croatian wines and fell in love with both Croatia, the coast and the wines. 

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Sanja Muzaferija, journalist and founder of WOW Women-on-Wine Organization in Croatia, was also present and she welcomed all women participants in this tasting, especially Ana Ritoša from Istria, and Tea Dvanajščak, of Dvanajščak-Kozol winery and Tatjana Hažić of Izletište Vinska Kuća Hažić. These two young women introduced Wines of Međimurje, an association of winemakers from Štrigova – a team of neighboring wineries who work together in marketing their wines. The participants tasted Pušipel and Graševina, while the winemakers talked about the importance of Martinje and the way it is celebrated in their area. 

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Ana Ritoša, the winemaker for the Ritoša Winery, from Poreč, spoke about the Istrian wine region and wines in general, while participants tasted Teran. 

In the end, participants asked many questions – the most repeated one was when the future wine tastings will take place. Lara Romano, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Croatia to the United States of America, expressed hope for more events like this one in the future, and, situation allowing - hopefully even in person at the Embassy, and then closed the evening celebration. 

***The company’s online store ships wines to most US states including its expanded wine portfolio from the Komarna region, Dubrovnik county, to the larger Dalmatia, Istria and Uplands. Currently, the wines in stock, almost 50 labels, from Croatian Uplands, Istria and Dalmatia, include Malvazija, Pušipel, Graševina, Pošip as well as Teran, Babić, Zinfandel and Plavac Mali.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Meet Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Bringing Croatian Wines to United States

September 20, 2020 -  Started by Mirena Bagur, Croatian Premium Wine Imports brings Croatian wines to American addresses. 

Wines from southern Croatia are now on dinner tables in America! 

Namely, Slobodna Dalmacija reports that the American company Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc. (CPWI), based in Boston, received a federal license to import Croatian wines to the United States, starting with wines from the Komarna vineyards, wineries Rizman, Terra Madre, and Volarevic, and continuing with wines from Konavle from the local winery Crvik, which completes this seemingly unusual wine story.

CPWI is interested in indigenous wines such as Plavac Mali, Posip, Zinfandel, Tezor, and wineries in the south that produce these red, white, and rosé wines.

At a time of the coronavirus pandemic and great economic uncertainty, beautiful entrepreneurial stories like the one told by the Croatian wine ambassador to the USA, Mirena Bagur, who was born in Metkovic, are worthy of attention and admiration. The Crvik winery from Konavle, which is proud of its centuries-old tradition of wine production, has entered the circle of Croatian wineries whose wines have recently been successfully sold in the United States.

It is an internationally awarded wine Tezoro (silver at Decanter, silver at the International Wine Challenge, gold at Vinistra and Sabatina), which is obtained from the indigenous variety Dubrovnik Malvasia, the first grape variety mentioned in the Dubrovnik archives in the 14th century.

Much credit for this goes to Mirena Bagur, who, together with her husband Win A. Burke, an IT entrepreneur, runs the Croatian Premium Wine Imports company to import and distribute wines in the United States. They started with the wineries of the association K7 from Komarna. They recently agreed to cooperate with Testament near Sibenik, Marlais from Peljesac, and the Crvik winery, as the first Konavle winery.

Thus, through an online shop, which sends wines to most states, you can buy well-known varieties from southern Croatia, such as Plavac Mali, Dingac, Tribidrag, Posip, Babic, Debit, and Dubrovnik Malvasia. In the USA, quality Croatian wines are very well accepted, says Mirena.

"Wine connoisseurs and lovers in America give priority to quality, and all the reviews of quality experts that come to us are excellent. Younger generations want to hear new wine stories from around the world, so there is a whole new category, the so-called adventure wines, and here our wines fit perfectly. We are in constant contact with wine lovers, and we listen to comments, so this year, we are expanding our wine inventory to other Croatian wine regions as well," Mirena said.

Winemaker Petar Crvik says this is a great time to break through into wine production.

"Every year, tourists from all over the world come to our winery. It is often the Americans who ask us if they can get our wine in the United States. I am glad that our efforts and authenticity have been recognized, and I sincerely hope that more Croatian winemakers will start exporting because this is a huge opportunity for our winemaking," says Crvik.

Although Croatia still imports much more wine than it exports, the trends are still hopeful: a few years ago, imports decreased, and production and exports increased. Initiatives like this can definitely help the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, but also the whole of Croatia, find its place on the wine map of the world.

"As you know, we started cooperation with winemakers from Komarna, and since I am from Metkovic, it was relatively easy for us to form a partnership with people we know and have mutual respect. However, from the very beginning, we planned to include wines from all over Croatia. Logically, the first expansion was within the Dubrovnik-Neretva region because last year, we visited wineries in that area," Mirena pointed out.

"Apart from the top quality wines made from indigenous varieties, which is our focus, one of the reasons why we quickly included Crvik and Marlais wineries is that they understand how to satisfy the desires of American wine lovers who come to their tasting rooms. So selling their wines online went very fast. In particular, we have several former visitors to Crvik who contacted us at least once a week during the summer to see if Tezoro had arrived at our online warehouse. I don’t think there’s a better story than that," Mirena says proudly of her wine success.

"The development of online sales has always been planned, but online shopping is quite complicated due to the alcohol law in America. Still, since Win Burke is an expert in software solutions, this was feasible for us in a relatively short time with his experience. We started building an online store in 2019 and started to test sales in early 2020. Just when most restaurants were in the status quo due to the corona crisis, and direct sales in the wine sector more or less stopped, online demand for Croatian wines began, and were delivered to the home addresses of the customers," said Mirena.

"Without investments in the export of Croatian wines by the ministry, chamber, or winegrowing associations, success in the wine sector cannot be expected," concluded Mirena Bagur, who emphasizes that 50 indigenous wine labels from all over Croatia are available in the USA today.

You can read more about Croatian Premium Wine Imports here.

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Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Croatian Premium Wine Imports and Komarna Seven Join Forces

February 4, 2020 - In Boston, Massachusetts, an important event recently took place - at least when it comes to the Croatian wine scene. It is the first joint venture between a wine importer (Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc. CPWI) and a Croatian Wine Association, namely Komarna Seven (K7 -) of the seven wineries in the Komarna appellation.

The label Komarna Seven Plavac Mali, the harvest of 2016, affectionately called K7, is now available in the USA. This wine is a result of an unusual collaboration of the seven wineries of the Komarna Appellation, and blends of Plavac Mali in the same style by different wineries. The first sniff of this dry red wine already tells something is interesting inside and gives aromas of blackberry, plum pepper, and dark chocolate, with 14.5% alcohol level. It is bottled in 0.75L bottles and serving is suggested at the temperature of 64-68 F. - With the first sips of K7, one can taste the tannins with a touch of vanilla, so this wine is elegant with a complex body. The wine was in oak barrels for 24 months, in a combination of Croatian, American and French oak, so within about 10 minutes, one can notice a flavor of sweet tobacco with vanilla.

It pairs well with robust cheese, venison and steaks - said Vedrana Martinovic-Trutina, head of operations for the Terra Madre Winery, and a daughter of one of the three family owners who arrived in Boston to introduce the wine on behalf of Komarna 7 to the local sommelier and wine writers’ community. The wine was created by involvement from all the wineries in the Komarna Appellation. We have always wanted to create a joint label, but we are a young appellation and association, so the opportunity didn’t present itself until the Croatian Premium Wine team suggested we create a label for the US market, so we are thrilled we were able to get this done for the 2020 introduction, commented Mihovil Štimac, the president of Komarna Association. K7 Plavac Mali is an unusual collaboration of the seven wineries of the Komarna Appellation and blends Plavac Mali in the same style by different wineries.  

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"In partnership with Komarna wineries, we wanted to create a label specific for the American palate and the American market This effort resulted in a very drinkable Plavac Mali with silky tannins and a special aroma characteristic of the Komarna Appellation.  I believe this is the first of its kind: a joint venture where the wineries and importer are creating the wines together, and we look forward to the feedback from the American wine lovers who will be the only ones able to taste it," said Win Burke, CPWI’s co-founder, and CEO.

The process of making the K7 label was detailed and rather long, but in the end, everybody involved is happy with the result.  It included all the winemakers from the wineries involved who got together in a blind tasting of several versions of blends that were created by Josip Volarević. He is the co-owner of Volarević Winery and oenologist of the Volarevic Winery, but also a scientist and an academic, currently working on his Ph.D. research about Plavac Mali.

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The group agreed on the best “blind blend.”  After that, it was up to Marko Šuman, oenologist at the Terra Madre Winery, to oversee the whole production including the blending of wines in tanks as well as the bottling, labeling, etc. The Komarna Association members and Croatian Premium Wine finalized the K7 logo and label and the wine was sent to the US at the end of 2019. - I am proud of the tight collaboration of people from my hometown and delighted to bring this remarkable bottle of Plavac Mali to the US. Plavac Mali variety to me represents the true aromas of Dalmatia - said Mirena Bagur, VP Brand Management at CPWI. And concluded: - This is an elegant wine, drinkable within a few minutes after opening the bottle. One can taste the typical jammy raisin flavor of Plavac Mali. We have shared samples with a few key wine bars, restaurants and stores in Boston area, and the best feedback from them is that the wine is already on the shelves and on the menus.

For more information, visit www.croatianpremiumwine.com/shop-onlineThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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