Friuli Slovenia & Croatian Tasting - Of Skins & Hearts - North & East of the Adriatic

There’s a timelessness about Croatia, and yet, not lagging behind the times, her wines are also coming of age. Their quality and character continue to go from strength to strength, with incredible diversity. Where winemakers are wise, they are allowing the regional purity of their fascinating indigenous grapes to shine through. Croatian wines are not cheap but their makers seem to be shunning the short returns of banal commercial production for wines that will not only define Croatia but put the country on the wine map as a serious fine-wine contender. JANCIS ROBINSON MW


This weekend we’re focusing on the often-overlooked area of North Italy and its neighbours in Slovenia and Croatia. This trio hook around the Adriatic Sea and share a commonality in varieties and winemaking styles. Skin contact is common in Croatia and Slovenia and has carried though to producers such as Graner and La Castellada in Fruili. We’ve brought together a selection of producers which broadly represents each of the areas and the different winemaking styles: From Coratia we’ve a selection of wines from the Island of Hvar and Korcula, and the mainland regions of Continental Croatia, Istra and Croatian Coast. These styles range from modern varietal wines with fruit purity to skin contact wines with the added complexity of phenolics.

From Slovenia we’ve two producers who represent both styles: Dveri-Pax, who producer modern wines with traditional varieties – Pinot Gris and Furmit contrasted with Marko Fon in the region of Kras , nestled on the border of Italy, and their ‘natural’ skin contact Malvasia Istriana.

The representation of Italy spans both styles of winemaking styles:” Jermann, arguably the greatest white wine producer in the country, combines the traditional Friulian varieties of Ribolla Gialla, Friulano, and Picolit alongside bottlings of international varieties such as Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Something of a mad genius, Silvio Jermann’s aromatic white blends combining both indigenous and international varieties forever changed Italian white wine production with their emphasis on fruit purity and freshness. To balance this technical winemaking (if such limited descriptions can be applied to such a unique endeavour) we’ve two of the original ‘natural wine’ producers who arguable are the inspiration for and emulated by so many of the new wave wines produced with skin contact and amphorae, Gravner and La Castellada.

This is a fascinating collection of wines and we hope you can join us.