The wines of Croatia, from the country’s top estates

These tasting notes accompany our in-depth report from northern Croatia. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: The wines of Croatia.

Enjingi, Kutjevo

Enjingi, Riesling 2006
Late harvested but dry, with 14% alcohol. Little waxy and herb touches, some candied lemon and dried fruit. The palate has really nice acidity, lovely lemony fruit, although the alcohol is just a little hot in the finish. Just off dry perhaps, and a lovely, striking wine that would be better with a degree less alcohol. 86/100.

Enjingi, Pinot Gris 2008
Vaguely nutty tones to orange fruit. Little notes of seeds and pear skin, a bit of grippiness. The palate has nice fruit and definite sweetness and richness. Quite long. 87/100.

Enjingi, Venje Barrique 2004
Quite an open, oxidised style, with skin contact and barrique influence, some nut oil and seed notes, apple fruit. The palate has beautifully rich texture and bags of apple fruit and more honeyed, candied tones, but terrific acidity, the hint of toast and honey into a long finish. 90/100.

Enjingi, Venje Barrique 1998
This wine was an international trophy winner at the Decanter awards. Blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Traminer, Graševina and Riesling. Mellow, golden colour, with lots of honey and a little baked apple and custard note, fine orchard fruits and some notes of straw and oatmeal. The palate has that feeling of sweet fullness and late-harvest richness and honey, but a grippy lemon pith and peel tension and acidity balances. Another lovely wine, perhaps lacking a touch of the younger wine’s vibrancy. 89/100.

Enjingi, Zweigelt 2007
13.7% alcohol. Late harvest, quite baked and plummy, with a little balsamic, maybe slightly volatile note. Lots of sweet, blue-black fruit and a bittersweet, dry cocoa note, with plenty of coffeeish oak and a big, quite spirity finish. 86-87/100.

Enjingi, Pinot Noir 2008
15.5% alcohol. Solid, plum and black charcoal and dense dark fruit, almost a Zweigelt character. A huge wine, “built to last”, but a huge, solid, dry style of Pinot with colossal oak and alcohol. 86/100.

Enjingi, Venje Barrique Red 2003
14.7% alcohol. Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, Merlot. Lots of volatile acidity here, solid black fruit. Quite dry with charry and tight, ebony-like notes. The palate has great richness, thickness and depth, the sweet raisined fruit and high alcohol filling the finish. Massive and a little overbearing, and the volatility is problematic, but for me more appealing than the Pinot. 87/100.

Enjingi, Graševina Special Late Harvest 2004
16% alcohol. Loaded with honey and glycerine notes, some apricot and also some bright, star fruit clarity and flavour. Very strong, high in alcohol – verging on unbalanced because of that. 86/100.

Enjingi, Sauvignon Blanc Special Late Harvest 2006
17.5 alcohol. All natural yeasts, extraordinary to ferment out to this level, but this is not the strongest! Not terribly aromatic, simple flavours but has a nice glycerine richness. Massive finish, that bite and burn of alcohol again. 85-86/100.

Enjingi, Gewürztraminer 2008
19.2% alcohol unbelievably, again natural yeasts. Has a nice floral Traminer character, aromatically quite delicate. The palate has some richness, but not so viscose or slippery as the Sauvignon. The Traminer actually carries the alcohol much better for me: it is still huge and obviously quite hot in the finish, but the balance just seems better with a nice acid tang and rich apricot fruit persisting. 89-90/100.

Enjingi, Beerenauslese Pinot Noir 2003
16% alcohol. Volatile again, chocolate and a real cherry ripeness, Porty notes, sweet floral nuances and some chocolate and earth. Off-dry, with massive sweetness and chocolate richness, the sweet fruit very appealing in a Banyuls or Port mould, but a weird thing for Pinot! 87/100.

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Krauthaker, Kutjevo

Krauthaker, Graševina 2010
12.6% alcohol. Tank sample. Very nice, limpid wine with that softly peachy and melon rind nose with a little skin contact firmness. Very juicy and fresh, lots of body and richness, a touch of bittersweet, grapefruit and bitter lemon tang but a terrific wine. They also produce single vineyard Graševina normally, but most went into this blend in this wet vintage. 88-89/100.

Krauthaker, Graševina Mitrovac 2010
Slightly more intense, herbal and punchy, from a single vineyard. Much punchier palate, with real intensity and grip, the finish powering through. In the UK. 88-89/100.

Krauthaker, Rizling Rajnski 2010
12% alcohol. Very lemony and fresh, with a massive pithy tang of sour lemon and grapefruit that streaks through the mouth. Fantastic intensity, this is long and shimmering with nettly and grassy tones as well as the citrus, fantastic quality. 90/100.

Krauthaker, Sauvignon Blanc Barrique 2010
13.5%. Barrel fermented and six months ageing in barrel. Figgy and rich, with quince and gentle smokiness, the punchy herb notes and touch of leafy grassiness very Sauvignon. Very nice, has a slightly less complex/interesting palate than the nose promises, but lovely fruit and tang and a very good, balanced and complete wine. 88-89/100.

Krauthaker, Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Melon rind and apple, quite a ripe style, but not tropical. A nice passionfruit richness comes through. The palate has lovely clarity and real punch: vibrant, underripe apple tang and crunch, long and focused, really pulls together on the palate. A full, rich style. 89-90/100.

Krauthaker, Rosenberg Chardonnay 2009
From the small hill we saw being worked by horses. 13.5% alcohol, one year in barrique, around 20% new. Lovely, gently fudge-like and toast and orange oak, with butterscotch richness but very ripe apple and melon fruit beneath. Lots o fruit ripeness and sweetness, very mouth-filling texture and flavour with so much fruit concentration into the finish. In the UK. 90/100.

Krauthaker, Rosenberg Chardonnay 2008
14% alcohol. 15% new oak. Oak has tamed a little after one year, but still adding a lovely sheen of vanilla and toast, but the cool, orchard fruit very nicely pitched. Lovely limpid pitch, the fruit and intensity powerful on the palate. 89-90/100.

Krauthaker, Zelenac 2010
Known as Rotgipfler in Austria. Cool, gently herbal, little touches of spearmint. Cool, orchard fruits, very attractive with a hint of peppery spice. Very full-bodied, sweet and intense, with a mouth-filling texture and presence, almost cling peach sweetness and richness that is fabulous, but perhaps slightly overpowering in a big Viognier style. 88/100.

Krauthaker, Pinot crni (Pinot Noir) 2009
Never new oak, 15% in two-year-old barrels, the rest in steel. Nice, lighter colour, nose of gentle spices and bracken and earth. A touch of something tight and sinewy, a touch inky or smoky perhaps. Lovely plum and cherry fruit and spices and an earthy, authentic Pinot quality. By far the best Pinot so far on this trip. 90/100.

Krauthaker, Pinot crni 2008
Slightly more vegetal and earthy on the nose. Very Pinot noir. Rather more dry in terms of fruit, with a firm cranberry and redcurrant, then some soy and plum darkness comes through, but very appealing. Oak a little more obtrusive in the finish perhaps, adding a drying touch, but a very nice Pinot again. 88-89/100.

Krauthaker, Merlot 2009
13% alcohol, eighteen months in older barrels, this is a finished tank sample about to be bottled. Cedary, pencil-shaving and tobacco finesse, the fruit ripe and rich, but not jammy. Blackcurrant and a touch of black chocolate. The palate has lots of intensity, the fruit juicy, very nicely balanced against the acidity and oak, and whilst just a smidgeon more fruit fleshiness would have been nice on the mid-palate, it is very well done. 88/100.

Krauthaker, Syrah 2009
Three months in barrique then eight more in big wooden vats. Suppressed aromatically, with a touch of balsamic and a slightly fruitless mid-palate, the tannin and earthy tones dominant. Spicy and rich. 85-86/100.

Krauthaker, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
14% alcohol 15 months in barrique. Barrel sample from big vats. Quite leathery and plummy, touches of soy and balsamic, quite ripe and full, but a little cedar and leather too. Thick, sweet and rich fruit on the palate, more fleshy fruit substance melding with some coffee and a touch of chocolate mint, quite long and fleshy and full. A good wine. 88-89/100.

Krauthaker, Graševina Izborna Berba Bobica (TBA) 2009
Deep marmalade and smoky scents, honey and leaf tea complexity. Intense sweetness with massive texture and sweetness, a lovely bittersweet acidity underpinning it, with some grapefruit tang and fabulous length. 92/100.

Krauthaker, Graševina Extra 2009
A natural wine with no sulphur. 50 days on lees with no intervention, then into barrique for six months. Deep yellow “orange wine”, with vaguely medicinal tones and all the hay-like, dry, lemon peel character with intense dryness. Instantly dries the mouth like biting into an underripe apple. 87/100.

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Kutjevo Winery, Kutjevo

Kutjevo, Maximo Brut
Made by the traditional method, this is 100% Graševina (Welsch Riesling) and the first ever sparkling wine both made from Graševina and by this company. Pleasantly appley and citrus bright, though with a slightly sweet, uncomplicated finish. 85/100. Sells locally for the equivalent of €8.

Kutjevo, Vrhunsko Graševina 2010
Pear and apple fruited nose, with very gentle herbal nuances. Nicely full on the palate, with good fruit though perhaps just missing a touch of sharpness and precision in the finish. 84/100. €7.

Kutjevo, Vrhunsko Graševina 2009
Half million bottle production. Slightly more herby and tiny leafy influences, orchard fruit again but a little more complexity. Nice palate, a little more full-bodied and riper and richer, with a long, more intense finish. 86/100. Kutjevo, Chardonnay 2009
Quite a lot of oaky influence here, with vanillin touches. Sweet fruit, a nicely creamy texture and a bit of apple and melon. Quite low in alcohol, and has a touch of heat. 85/100. €5.5

Kutjevo, Vrhunsko Maximo Bianco 2010
50/50 blend of Sauvignon and Traminer. Traminer makes quite an impact. A exotic, lychee lift and the herbal streak of the Sauvignon coming through. The palate has lots of texture and apparent sweetness, with a thick texture and good acidity. Feels a touch hot in the finish, but a good wine. 87/100. €7.5.

Kutjevo, Vrhunsko Pinot Crni (Noir) 2009
Resinous, with some floral influences, but a touch of Brett too making a complex but medicinal character that is not appealing. The palate has nicer fruit, but it is swamped by the oak giving masses of vanilla and a very drying finish. 80/100. €8.

Kutjevo, Vrhunsko Maximo Nero 2008
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Again a slightly resinous aspect of oak, and not quite clean for me: a touch of Brett perhaps, and a touch of slightly meaty reduction? The palate has plenty of sweet black fruit, the wine a bit leathery and dull though. 82/100. €9.

Kutjevo, Pinot crni 1970
From the archives. Quite sweet and yet leafy with slightly attenuated notes. Lots of charm though, and on the palate has a smooth texture and there is a bit of fruit too, making for a wine that is interesting and has quite a nice balance. Intriguing and quite complex, and still alive. 83/100. €45.

Kutjevo, Muskat Ottonel 1979
With 28g/l this us a semi-sweet style. Herbal notes, a touch of sage and little lemon rind notes, but not overtly floral or fruity; more herb and straw-like notes and a touch of candle wax. Rich texture, with nice balance and a touch of glycerine and honey character. Nicely balanced and fresh. 86/100. €34.

Kutjevo, Graševina Led vino 2009
Icewine with 190g/l residual sugar and a lovely glycerine and lemon, very immediate impression of richness. Gorgeous, rich palate with thick, sweet texture and huge sweetness, and whilst it could perhaps use a touch more acidity, it has toastiness, richness and good length and focus. 89/100. €55 per 37.5cl.

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Korak, Plešivica

Korak, Cuvée Chardonnay & Pinot Gris 2010
Grapes co-fermented, with lots of freshness and lemon and apple aromas, a touch of herby character. Palate has lovely punch and vivacity, with long, fresh finish. 87/100.

Korak, Riesling 2009
14% alcohol. Fermented in big oak barrels. Pretty waxy notes, some apple skin, quite tight but hints at peach. Quite full and structured, plenty of punch to the lemon and apple bite, with a little richness, but tight and structured. Needs time and/or food. 88/100.

Korak, Riesling 2008
14.2% ABV. Slightly more developed wax and nettle notes, similar punchy apple skin notes. Really fresh finish, lots of weight and texture, and a bit of lemon pith, grapefruity zest. 89/100.

Korak, Sauvignon Blanc 2009
14.5% ABV. Fermented and aged in big barrel. Rich, herbal, some custard apple notes. Big fruit on the palate: verve and orangey punch, and the oak rounding out the finish. Better with a touch less alcohol. 88/100.

Korak, Chardonnay 2007
13.9% ABV. Fermented in barrique, 30% new. Unfiltered, very low sulphur. Custard and cream nose, baked apples, a certain buttery quality. Huge fruit sweetness, though there is a little minerality that cuts through the vanilla and fruit sweetness giving very good balance. 90/100.

Korak, Syrah Rosé 2010
12% ABV. Fermented in old barriques. Lovely aromatic nose with a hint of pepper and bright raspberry. Lovely mouth-filling red berry fruit, dry and beautiful balance. A lovely wine this, herby and savoury yet full of fruit. 88/100.

Korak, Pinot Noir 2008
14%. Barrel fermented with skin maceration, into barrique for a year and spontaneous malo, then into big wood until bottling with minimum sulphur. Creamy and ripe nose, the oak very nicely handled, with spices and soft smokiness. The sweet fruit is rather abruptly overtaken by the alcohol and big tannic structure, and spice from the oak. 88/100.

Korak, Syrah 2009
13.8% ABV. Barrel ferment and one year ageing. Inky, peppery and spicy, with bags of tannin and deep-set black fruit, with a rounding of oak and a nice charry finish. Nicely syrah and very fresh and youthful. 89/100.

Korak, Riesling Auslese 2007
50cl. Beautiful nose, with a little petrolly development and some nettle, but mostly clear lime and lemon fruit, with very nice medium-bodied, dried apricot flavour and lovely finish that has sweetness (60g/l) but plenty of acidity (10g/l) really punches through. Lovely, gentle extract and balanced. 91/100.

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Bolfan Winery

Bolfan, Libertin Rosé 2010
Just off-dry with 7.1g/l residual sugar, this rosé is made from young Pinot Noir vines (their second commercial harvest). It has a delicate raspberry nose and reasonably deep colour. There’s some creaminess too, and on the palate a nice mouth-filling texture aided by that sugar and just a fleeting sweetness before a fresh, quite dry finish. 85/100. 7Euro

Bolfan, Libertin Sauvignon 2010
Fresh and peppery nose, clean lemony aromas and just a little juicier orange note. Good acid on the palate, hinting towards tropical fruit character, and reasonably long. A middle-way sort of Sauvignon Blanc, not herbaceous and not overtly ripe either. 85/100.

Bolfan, Libertin Pinot Gris 2010
Hint of smokiness here, of herbs and green fruits. On the palate quite a creamy texture, and though rich it is fresh in the finish and well-balanced. 86/100.

Bolfan, Libertin Rhine Riesling 2009
12.7g/l of residual sugar in this wine and just 12.5% ABV. Beautifully fresh and herbal, with notes of sage and a punchy citrus. A deal of minerality here, really quite smoky. Big, lemon pith and grapefruit attack on the palate, the acidity and sharp fruit mouth-watering and hard to believe there’s almost 13 g/l of sugar. 88-89/100

Bolfan, Libertin Pinot Noir 2008
13.6% ABV, this has a rather acrid nose, burnt charry wood too dominant, a touch reductive too. Big, sweet fruit comes through on the palate, but even though served chilled this is rather big, charry and a touch hot and clumsy. Far too much oak influence. 80-81/100.

Bolfan, Pinot Noir 2009
This is a sample of an unreleased wine, the fruit green harvested to achieve a very low yield, with close to 15% alcohol. It is slightly less oaky, but very closed. The fruit is dense and curranty, and the alcohol too obtrusive. 82/100.

Bolfan, Paidia Rhine Riesling 2009
23.2g/l of residual sugar in this wine, with 11.8% ABV. Very nice nose, a very similar profile to the earlier Riesling, but the palate feels slightly dilute in comparison, good acid and a sweeter finish, but just lacks a bit of punch. 85/100.

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