Ask the Pros: 10 Balkan White Wines to End the Summer With

You probably wander through thousands of wines weekly at your local wine shop/supermarket looking for the right one to open now, on a sizzling summer day. You’re mostly drinking the cheaper New World Chards and Chenins because of their freshness, simplicity and ease of access. Hell, you may even drive down to Portugal to experiment with what they have to offer while organizing yourself a bloody good vacation. Two birds, one stone.

But how often do you say to your mates “let’s try some Balkan wines today“? What you can drink in this small heaven – Croatia, Montenegro, B&H, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia – will blow your mind into another dimension because we produce fresh styles of wine, aged wines, those exclusively committed to battonage, mixed with international grapes, made solely from international grapes. You name it. Continue reading “Ask the Pros: 10 Balkan White Wines to End the Summer With”

Wine Blown: Taylor’s LBV 2012

The cake is a lie, I tell ya!

You take the white one, the evening ends. You wake up tomorrow and think it was just another fine evening with friends. You take the red one, you arrive in wonderland and it shows you how deep your senses can dig into your mind. Have you ever been presented with such an apparently meaningless choice? On the one hand, you have conformity, on the other the unknown. Surrounded by friends, I chose the unknown and during the first “bite” was thinking to myself: “It’s just a cake. No need to be worried too much.” Continue reading “Wine Blown: Taylor’s LBV 2012”

Wine Blown: Carska Vina Žilavka Premium Edition 2015

This blog is taking it’s turn into a source of wine knowledge that sparks interest for anybody to jump on with his/her contribution. Of course, not just ANYBODY can judge a wine and go public with it, so for the first time in Grape Nomad’s history, I’m proud to announce the first helping hand on this website – Adin Bulatović, manager of Delikatesna Radnja and wine aficionado in the making. Adin started out as an exemplary beer drinker, but found passion in wine a few years back at a couple of my workshops. He jumped right into the wine world by trying several samples primarily from B&H, but slowly continued to Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Spain…He not only focused on the practice, but also hit the books (and Google) hard, soaking up info about food pairings, regions, grape varieties and soils. The place he works at is one of my favorite places in Sarajevo to just kick back and relax with a proper glass of wine and a simple bite to eat. It’s basically a wine bar/bistro that takes pride in quality and aims for uniqueness with a concentration on Balkan wines, but also a convenient selection of Italian and Spanish as well. Continue reading “Wine Blown: Carska Vina Žilavka Premium Edition 2015”

The Godfather of Istrian Wine: Ivica Matošević

What if I told you that there was a Croatian winemaker out there capable of making badass wines easily comparable to the giants of France, Italy and Spain? Would you believe me and why not? Now, before you jump to conclusions, hear me out people. I’m not trying to degrade anybody here, but the reality is that you, the casual wine drinker, would grab the first bottle of Chianti or Cote du Rhone if you found yourself in a London supermarket, hesitant of what wine to pair with Cajun steak and passionate sex. Tough luck.

Reputation is a slippery slope. It can blast you into the stars, but it can also cut you off both feet. You can make better wines than half the French, it just won’t matter for the majority of consumers who simply want to enjoy some goddamn peace and quiet alongside a pool of alcohol. But there will always be the other side of the coin – folks that are thirsty for knowledge and willing to try something new on a daily basis. These people are the national treasure of the wine world and need to be protected from merciless capitalistic influence & cloying monotony at all times. Yes, it’s always going to be safer to play the card of buying that 5-million-production Bordeaux Rouge, but instead of purchasing the new Macklemore album, why not go with the lesser known, but highly legendary Currents from Tame Impala? Continue reading “The Godfather of Istrian Wine: Ivica Matošević”

Top 10 Wines @ The Judgement of Mostar 2017

What an inspiration one gets after being invited to The Judgement of Mostar 2017, led by sommelier Siniša Lasan and director of sales at Nuić, Ivan Planinić. The organizers, of course, applied a playful tone for the name of the event (in reference to the famous Judgement of Paris ’76), but the wines were surely no laughing matter. We tried over 70 samples from all over the world, but the main focus was on BH wines and, if I may say, without any bullshit sugar-coating, we have witnessed colossal progress of Balkan wines in the last 10 years. Bosnia & Herzegovina, even though small and without big viticultural diversity (microclimates, carefully chosen positions, experimentation with vine training…), is undeniably filled with hidden gems. You will buy top-quality wines at 20-30 EUROS, bring them to your friends’ blind tasting and shout out THIS HAS TO BE SECOND GROWTH BORDEAUX/RIOJA GRAN RESERVA/TOSCANA IGT, only to get slapped in the face (metaphorically, or literally by one of your mates for jumping to conclusions so quickly) by an amazing aged Blatina or an opulent Trnjak or even a blend of those two. Continue reading “Top 10 Wines @ The Judgement of Mostar 2017”

Your Istrian Go-To Winemaker: Trapan Wine Station

Call him the bad-boy of winemaking, the Istrian RocknRolla or the young zealot of Teran. But whatever the name tag is, one cannot dispute the fact that Bruno Trapan is definitely a game changer freshening up the scene with his avant-garde approach and thrilling personality. You may be shocked by his bluntness or click with him immediately, but one thing is certain – you will not leave his winery indifferent. Continue reading “Your Istrian Go-To Winemaker: Trapan Wine Station”

Istria Is Launching Wine to the Moon and It’s Going To Be Epic

Biodynamic production just entered a whole new dimension. Well, sort of. By the end of 2017, Istrian producers of the indigenous Teran should launch their wine(s) to the Moon. The offer for this seemingly insane fantasy came from Google Lunar XPRIZE, a competition worth 30 million dollars. Team Synergy Moon, one of the five finalists, will launch a rocket that Google will fund to travel 500 meters and transmit high resolution video, images and data back to Earth . The team’s rover created just enough room for a bottle of Istrian Teran to make history in outer space. Continue reading “Istria Is Launching Wine to the Moon and It’s Going To Be Epic”

Bucketlist: Wine Regions of Former Yugoslavia

You are sitting in a wine bar with a couple of friends, thinking of what new wine to try and one of them suggests a bottle of Prokupac. Proku what? Most wine drinkers have never heard of this popular Serbian grape variety nor of Vranac, Blatina, Rebula, Teran, etc. for that matter. Even though relatively small, all ex-Yu grape-growing regions (all in all, six of them) have a unique ability to spark up your wanderlust and put you on the first plane to the south-eastern part of Europe. Continue reading “Bucketlist: Wine Regions of Former Yugoslavia”

Wunderkind of Pelješac: Boutique Winery Vicelić

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of these first-winery-epic-greeting moments. Vicelić is a surname to engrave into this category without doubt. Honestly, I haven’t read or heard a lot about this guy up until my visit, but I must admit, eating tuna steak in a vineyard 200 metres above the Adriatic Sea is all the PR I need. A boutique winery humbly producing 20.000 bottles a year, Vicelić is the new kid on the block who you introduce to your friends, tell them you know your stuff, let him show his skills and BOOM, you have a reputation. Definitely a better love story than Twilight.

Mateo and his wife Lucija, together with their 3.5 hectares of vines, are the definition of blue-chip hosts. Along a rocky-limestone path, which is the main culprit for the greatness of Plavac Mali, we experienced a real rally ride to their open air tavern. For six hours we talked, laughed, ate and admired the magic of Pelješac, especially the pureness of the Adriatic Sea near midnight, when all goes numb, giving way for darkness to intoxicate every single pore in the body. You feel no burden, no racing thoughts. Just pure bliss cleansing the spirit. Continue reading “Wunderkind of Pelješac: Boutique Winery Vicelić”

A Paradisal Peninsula: Pelješac, Croatia

If Pelješac is not a pure example of a terroir-driven region, I don’t know what is. A peninsula located in southern Dalmatia, this area fascinates with vineyards everywhere you turn, from Orebić in the northwest all the way down to Ston. Even though the winemakers here have potential to grow many different world-famous grapes such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc., they find little sense in that because of the double I Plavac Mali – iconic and indigenous. There are some plantings of Rukatac, Pošip and Crljenjak, but these are either very limited in quantity or are reserved for other sub-regions such as Korčula and Komarna where winemakers are much more dedicated to exclusively these varieties.

Iconic micro-locations, Postup and Dingač, give birth to colossal age-worthy red wines made from Plavac Mali. These wines are deep ruby red, high in alcohol with structured tannins and aromas of red and black fruit with subtle hints of earth and Mediterranean herbs. If aged in oak (happens most of the time), they will be reminiscent of baking spices, black olives, cigar box, dried fig and leather. Everything you’re looking for is in the batch – New World style, fresh, rustic and experimental. Continue reading “A Paradisal Peninsula: Pelješac, Croatia”

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