A taste of Croatia and Spain

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For the final June Saturday tasting, Dee from Cafe Europa poured some wonderful wine picks from her native Croatia as well as some excellent bottles from Spain. The lineup is perfect for summer, with some great options for pairing with seafood and grilled meats, as well as some that are perfect for sipping by the pool or on your deck. Read up on what she shared with us, and ask anyone on the Pairings team to help you find any of these bottles that you would like to take home!

Get a preview of the wines Dee will be sharing to whet your palate for the tasting! The tasting is from 4 to 7 p.m. this Saturday, June 29, at Pairings Wine & Food. As always, wines poured for sampling on Saturday will be available at a 20% discount.

Benvenuti Malvasia We start with a delicious white wine from Croatia, perfect for summer sipping. Malvasia Istriana is now recognized as the leading Istrian grape variety and one of the most important indigenous Croatian varieties. This Malvasia is harmonious and full-bodied. It is exceptionally fresh and mineral, fruity and very drinkable. The terraced vineyards on white soil where the grapes are grown are planted on several positions, all between 250 and 400 meters high. This is the fresh version of Malvasia, stainless steel fermented, no oak.

a glass of Benvenuti Malvasia next to the bottle.

Skaramuča Pošip Are you tracking how many grape varietals you are tracking for the Pairings century club? Pošip (po-ship) may be a new one for you! Pošip is an indigenous white varietal originally from the island of Korčula. It is a hybrid of two grape varietals that are also native to Korčula: Bratkovina, and Zlatarica. It has adapted exceptionally well to its original habitat, gives good yields and has an excellent ability to accumulate high sugar content. Most importantly for the hot Mediterranean climate, Pošip preserves acids extremely well. A beautiful golden color with aromas of dried apricots and figs. Silky texture and mouth watering minerality linger on the finish. Great wine with any type of seafood, cheeses and Mediterranean food in general.

Rias Baixas Laxas Albariño Now we move west to Spain to taste a refreshing Albariño. this white wine is clear straw yellow color with green nuances in the glass. Fruity and floral aromas of apple, stone fruits, and lemon. Silky and soft on the palate with pear, honeysuckle, and slight orange flavors and a touch of minerality. A well-balanced wine, perfect with summer seafood! The wine is produced with dry farming with irrigation used only in late August if needed. Clam, oyster, and mussel shells are added in the vineyards to increase the minerality of the soil and as a natural fertilizer. Vines are over 30 years old.

Abad dom Bueno Bierzo Godello Another great Spanish white wine for the warm weather! Ripe pear and lemon aromas with a touch of minerality. Juicy orchard and citrus fruit flavors. Long, citrusy, and floral finish.  Bodega del Abad is a relatively new bodega in the Bierzo region of Spain. They use only the indigenous Mencia and Godello varietals from Bierzo to produce their wines. The oenologist, Jose Luis Santin-Vazquez, has been producing wines in Bierzo for more than 30 years. The grapes are grown using dry farming, organic and biodynamic methods. The wine has only naturally occurring sulfites.

Skaramuča Premium Plavac Mali If you like Zinfandel with your grilled meat, this is a wine for you to try! Plavac Mali is the most significant among the indigenous grape varietals in Croatia, resulting from interbreeding two other indigenous Croatian varietals: Crljenak Kaštelanski (aka Primitivo in Italy, Zinfandel in the USA) and Dobričić. Plavac Mali realizes its full potential in the most extreme conditions on the Pelješac peninsula and is considered the king of red wines. This Plavac is stainless steel fermented, no oak.

Bodegas Ponce, Clos Lojen Manchuela This wine is made from 100% Bobal grapes from vineyards 30 to50 years old. The soils are claycalcareous. The fermentation is conducted with indigenous yeasts. Malolactic fermentation occurs in old French oak casks of 600 litres, and the wine is aged for 7 months after bottling. Organically grown. We aren’t big fans of wine scores at Pairings, but will mention this one gets 92 points from Robert Parker — come test for yourself and see how you rate it!

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