Thursday, 7 May 2020

Meet the Zlatan Otok Wine Cellar in the Pitve - Zavala Tunnel on Hvar (VIDEO)

May 7, 2020 - TCN Talks a video guide to the history, etiquette and secrets of the legendary Pitve Tunnel on Hvar, complete with its own Zlatan Otok wine cellar.

One of the main fun experiences for tourists on the island of Hvar is the adrenaline run through the Pitve tunnel to the south side and Zavala. It is like no other tunnel you will find back at home... 

The tunnel opened in 1963 when the Yugoslav army drilled through 1.4 km of rock to bring water to the south side of the island. It was a fairly crude effort, and there was no attempt to render the rock once construction was completed, which makes it one of the great undiscovered film locations today. 

The tunnel is 2.3m wide do there is only room for one-way traffic. Traffic lights operate in the season, but out of season, locals are left to judge for themselves if they can make it to one of the two passing places built in the tunnel before meeting any oncoming traffic. 

And the tunnel has one big secret that not so many people know about, and even fewer have seen - its own wine cellar!

When the tunnel was originally constructed, two large storage rooms for water were constructed. Only one of these was actually used, apparently, which gave an idea to Hvar's famous winemaker, Zlatan Plenkovic from the Zlatan Otok winery in Sveta Nedjejla. 

Zlatan, who sadly passed away suddenly a few years ago, managed to come to an arrangement to use the empty space as a wine storage facility in the early 1990s (thanks to his widow Maja for the information). The constant cool temperatures are ideal for wine storage. 

If you drive slowly in the Pitve tunnel as you enter from the north, you will see both storage rooms about 30 metres in on the left. 

You can learn more about the Pitve tunnel in the latest TCN Talks vlog, following our visit last week. 

For more news from the island of Hvar, check out the dedicated TCN section


Friday, 21 June 2019

Celebrate a Legend: Zlatan Aurum Gold Leaf Posip at Suncani Hvar Hotels

June 21, 2019 - It is more than three years since one of Croatia's greatest winemakers passed away - a rare chance to try a special bottle in his honour - Zlatan Aurum. 

He was a titan. 

I remember the shock of hearing of the sudden and untimely passing of celebrated winemaker Zlatan Plenkovic in March, 2016, as he suddenly collapsed and died on the Split to Stari Grad ferry.


From his base in Sveta Nedjelja, with its fabled steep Plavac Mali vineyards, the Zlatan Otok Grand Cru was one of Croatia's most highly prized bottles. But his range of wines included so much more than his flagship red, and I remember reporting on his Posip winning Decanter gold in London. 

Soon after his untimely death, the Zlatan Otok winery announced that it wanted to honour the life of Zlatan with a special, very limited edition called Zlatan Aurum (Zlatan's first name means 'gold' in Croatian, hence the Latin name for gold in the special wine, which had 23 carat-gold leaf inside). This is how the Zlatan Otok winery announced the wine at the time:

We wanted to do something in honor of Zlatan so we came to idea of white wine with gold leafs. Zlatan achieved many successes with this wine so we decided to do it with pošip. Gold represents him and the vinery as his legacy also, not just beacause his name, and the name of winery in Croatian language means gold, also because Zlatan was such great person, loved by many people.

.-limited edition wine

-vintage 2015

-23 karat edible gold leafs

-13% alcohol


I have heard nothing about Zlatan Aurum since that first announcement. 

Until this morning. During a conversation after breakfast with the director of Hotel Adriana, I learned that Zlatan Aurum was one of a number of very impressive wines on the Val Marina Restaurant wine list. And not only that, but Suncani Hvar Hotels are the only place outside Zlatan's Sveta Nedjelja where you can find this rare wine. 

zlatan-aurum-hvar-wine (1).jpg

You can read TCN's tribute to Zlatan Plenkovic here.

Looking to learn more about Croatian wine? Check out the Total Croatia Croatian Wine in a Page guide

Friday, 2 February 2018

Restaurant Bilo Idro

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Zlatan Otok Winery (Sveta Nedjelja)

Friday, 18 March 2016

Farewell to Zlatan Plenković, Legend of Modern Croatian Winemaking

Raise a glass to the man who helped place Croatian wines on the world map

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Hvar Wines among International Medals, as Zlatan Grand Cru Named in World's Top 10

Hvar is famous for its tourism, but its winemakers are attracting international plaudits.