Top 7 wines to try in Zagreb County

Wine lovers oftentimes are not even aware of just how lucky they are in Zagreb, a city surrounded by several wine-growing regions and wine roads. There is a long wine-making tradition in this region, and production is small but valuable, and virtually entirely in the hands of small family wineries. Despite this, the wines from the Zagreb area take an important place on the Croatian wine map, with some wines belonging to the top echelons, while others have a specific story behind them that makes them unique.

Due to the colder climate, this area is known for wine varieties typical for the continental climate, mostly whites. Taking a peek at what the locals have on their plates and in their glasses is the best way to get to know a region, so we propose that you turn off the main road onto one of the wine roads, and taste the best drops from the vineyards of Plešivica, Moslavina, Prigorje and Pokuplje.

1) Portugizac

Portugizac is the trademark variety of the Plešivica hills, a young and acidic red wine with a fruity aroma that leads us gently into winter. It is best combined with roasted chestnuts or the typical local winter food, such as blood sausage and sauerkraut. It is available in November at all Plešivica wineries, as they are all committed to the custom of producing Portugizac. The Ivančić winery is now producing sparkling wines with this variety - Griffin Dark Side and Griffin Rosé – and recently took the gold medal at the world competition Portugizer du Monde.

2) Kraljevina

The Zelina wine region can boast of growing an indigenous grape. Every year, only the best Kraljevina wines are put on the market under a single label, as the county brand. This light white wine with a clean finish is an excellent accompaniment in the spring and summer days, and it can also give a light, fresh sparkling wine. And without worry, using it to make a spritzer will not take the kraljevina (eng. = queen) off the throne.

3) Škrlet

Škrlet is an old and indigenous wine variety from Moslavina. This grape gives a light and refreshing wine, while new generations of wine-makers have breathed new life into this almost forgotten variety. We can expect great things from this dedicated work on this Škrlet, so be sure to enjoy this endemic Moslavina wine as the perfect drink on a hot day spend outdoors with friends. Well known producers include Voštinić-Klasnić and Kezele.

4) Rizling (Riesling)

Many wine-lovers will say that Riesling is the noblest of all varieties, a wine for true connoisseurs.  The world’s best known Rieslings come from Germany, and the best quality Rieslings in Croatia are made by the Plešivica wine-makers. In their knowledgeable hands, Riesling can show off its many facets, from a light, young wine, to a fuller bodied, more serious version matured in wooden caskets, to the complex and strong Riesling matured in amphorae. You can find excellent Rieslings at the Šember, Tomac and Korak wineries.

5) Sivi pinot (Pinot gris)

Sivi pinot is an international wine variety which is lesser known in Croatia, often in the shadow of the locally popular indigenous wines. However, it can be found in its full glory as a lively, rich and aromatic wine in selected cellars in northwestern Croatia. The top address is Plešivica wine-maker Franjo Koletić, who has fully dedicated his work to this variety.

6) Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the best loved and widely made white wines in the world. If you are wondering how little Croatia stacks up to the global competition, take a trip out to Plešivica and see what the Korak winery has to say on this topic. A pleasant and light Chardonnay that is perfect as a daily wine can be found in many of the wineries in the Zelina region.

7) Crni pinot (Pinot noir)

A beloved red wine of colder climates and a challenge for every wine-maker, the best crni pinots in Croatia are found in the Plešivica hills. If it is not used as a base for a rose sparkling wine, then it gives a silky wine with an enticing fruity aroma. Excellent examples can be found in the Korak, Šember, Tomac, and Kolarić wineries in Plešivica, or at the Barundić winery near Krašić and the Kos winery in Zelina.

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