27 March 2017

Croatia: Best Wine Tour in the Istrian Peninsula

Rovinj by night

Croatia as a destination has been a popular one of late for many visitors. Most tend towards the Dalmatian Coast/Dubrovnik area -- and I can't blame them. From what I have seen, it is beautiful, and likely pretty cost-efficient. 

We instead decided to go to Istria, a place I had never heard of until J started his research. He found this to be the center of wine and food in Croatia...the fact that it is a bit off the beaten path helped, too.

Istria has a rich history -- it has changed hands between Italy, Slovenia, & Croatia several times. The Italian influence is very apparent here.  We stayed in Rovinj,  a gorgeous city on the coast (if you squint, you can see Italy). Rovinj's historical center is car-free -- and hilly -- and full of nooks and crannies and many feral tuxedo cats

With Rovinj as our base, we took a few day trips, one of which was one of the most fun wine tours I'd been on.  Eat Istria offers several types of wine tours all hosted by Goran, the owner and tour guide. We opted for the Central Istrian Tour, which took us a few hours away from Rovinj to the beautiful Croatian wine country. 
Old Wine Press

The wine in Croatia is quite unique -- the soil is very iron rich, which in transfers to the grapes in the form of a heavy mineral taste. The main white wine is a Malvazija -- which is rather crisp and mineral-forward. Each of the wineries we visited had several of these to taste, each was a little different. 

The main red in Croatia is Teran. To me, the iron is so rich it almost tastes like blood. (it was interesting to later contrast the Slovenian Teran...same grapes, totally different taste) 

Why Goran's Eat Istria Tour?
Taking a tour with Goran is like taking a tour with a member of one of the winemaker's families -- he is incredibly knowledgeable about wine, the area, and each of the wineries. The group was small -- a few women from Queens, a couple from England, and us -- which made for a very intimate tour.  Lunch was one of the best meals I had while in Croatia -- homemade fuži pasta in a very casual environment. We ended the tour with a deeper knowledge of Croatian wine, and a case or so of the good stuff!

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