Croatian Wine Varieties De-Mystified

You may be forgiven for not knowing much about Croatian wine, which has remained relatively low on the radar until now. Croatian wine in fact has a long history, with the Greek settlers first introducing vineyards to the Croatian coast in 5BC. Many vineyards were destroyed during the war years but they’re now flourishing once again and producing exceptional - and award-winning - wines. You can visit some vineyards when sailing in Croatia but first, read on to find out about the top Croatian grape varieties so you no longer have to stare blankly at the wine list.
Plavac Mali
Grown mainly along the Dalmatian coast, this is the principal red wine in Croatia. High in alcohol, yet low in tannin it’s a rich, bold wine with hints of blackberry, dark cherry, pepper, figs and spice.
This white wine used to only be produced on the island of Korčula but due to its early ripening it’s now spread around the Dalmatian region. It’s crisp with flavours of apples, vanilla spice and citrus fruit.
This variety is indigenous to Croatia and only found in sandy soils close to Korčula. Grk is often called ‘the most feminine of all the grapes’ because it only has female flowers. Grk white wines are dry with hints of white pepper, melon, herbs and sliced pear.
This red grape grows in Istria and absorbs the mineral, iron-like quality of the soil. It produces wines with bold flavours of forest berries and violets with smoky meat and game-like notes. Teran usually has high tannins and gets better with age. Terran is known as Terrano in Italy.
The everyday wine of Central Europe, Graševina is also known as Welschriesling. It’s one of the most popular white wine grapes in Croatia, and is so common that it's widely considered to be indigenous. Graševina is a dry, fresh, aromatic white wine with apple-like notes.
Malvazija Istarska
Malvazija Istarska is one of the main white wines of Istria and the northern Dalmatian coast. Sometimes it’s called Malvasia Istriana, although it’s not actually the same grape as Malvasia from Italy. These wines are refreshing and usually dry, with lower alcohol content and aromas of fennel, quince, honey, apricot, and spice.