Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Croatian White Wines GRK, Pošip and Malvasija

A cruise up the Adriatic Sea, visiting various towns along the Croatian coast, I had the opportunity to drink a lot of Croatian wines. It is a new world to me, as to many, as Croatia is home to more than 100 indigenous grapes that are relatively unfamiliar to us in the US and among those grapes are a number of crisp, elegant white wines that stole my heart. GRK, Pošip and Malvasija are three white wines from Croatia to look out for and they are the Please The Palate pick of the week.

Korčula, located in the Dalmatian region, is a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea. The Greeks first brought grapes and olives to the island as far back as the 4th Century BC. Known for its white wines, there are two indigenous varieties from there – Grk and Pošip.

Grk, which means Greek, is only grown on Korčula and there are only eight official producers of this grape. Grk was saved from extinction from winemakers like Branimir Cebalo, one of the first private winemakers in Croatia after Communism ended. I met Branimir on my trip who explained that Grk is only grown on Korčula and thrives in the deep, flat, sandy soils near the sea. He only produces 5,000 bottles of Grk each year and the total production of the grape is around 30,000 bottles. That makes Grk very limited and very hard to find but you can find it in some restaurants and stores in Croatia (sadly, not in the US).

We were able to find the Bire Grk 2016, Korčula in a few locations and enjoyed the wine, with its floral, stone fruit and citrus notes, each time!

Pošip is another indigenous white wine grape that is primarily grown in the Dalmatian region of Croatia on the island of Korčula. The story behind the name Pošip (poship) is that a couple hundred years ago, a farmer had a vine growing on a pomegranate tree. Pomegranate is called a “shipak” so the grape was named “par shipak” to mean “from the pomegranate. Over time, “par shipak” became “pošip”. It is generally a light bodied wine that we enjoyed with many fish dishes.

Intrada Pošip Krajančič 2016 has aromas of white flowers, citrus and tropical melon with bright full-mouth acidity,

Istria is largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, located in the northern part of Croatia, near Italy. The grape Malvasija (or Malvazija) [pronounced “mal-va-ZEE-ah”] can be found in Istria. Perhaps you have had a Malvasia from Italy, Portugal, or elsewhere.

Malvasija is an intensely fragrant wine with stone fruits and mineral notes and was also a lovely accompaniment with fresh seafood and rich fish dishes. I had three beautiful examples.

Rossi Malvazija Istarska

Benvenuti Malvazija 2017 Istria

Fakin Malvasija Istriana 2017 Istria

Crisp, aromatic, fresh and bright, what else can you want from a white wine. GRK, Pošip and Malvasija from Croatia are the Please The Palate pick of the week.

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