Thursday, June 13, 2024
Buying Guide Croatian Grapes Dalmatia Tastings

6 Pošips: How Do They Rate?

Croatian Pošip tasting

Pošip is the trademark white grape of the Dalmatian coast and the islands. We chose six Pošips from all over Dalmatia to taste the range of flavors this grape has to offer.

The island of Korčula is the original home of Pošip. In the mid-1800s a farmer noticed an unfamiliar vine growing wild near Čara, and planted some cuttings for himself. Pošip had formed in the wild as a cross between two other varieties native to Korčula. It turned out to have good flavor and—important at the time—it produced a lot of fruit. Now Pošip growers know to rein in the quantity the vines want to produce in order to maximize quality. The grape grows all along the Dalmatian coast and islands, but it is exclusively Dalmatian. You won’t find Pošip anywhere else in the world!

Pošip makes fresh dry wines that are perfect with salads or a summer seafood grill. It can also be made sur lie, aged on the yeast lees to give it extra depth and an intriguing yogurty tang. Or it can be given a few days or weeks of maceration on the skins to produce orange Pošip. These last two are serious culinary pairings with autumn and winter dishes. And if you like sweet wines, search out a prošek made from Pošip.

We chose the fresh variety of Pošip for our tasting—the summer edition. As we tasted, the six wines seemed to organize themselves into three pairs. One pair was textbook Pošip, doing everything you would want Pošip to do; one pair was noticeably saline, like the smell of sea air; and one pair was especially lush and fruity. No half of a pair was grown near its partner—which proves only that there are many more influences on a wine than the soil it grows in.

The Tasting

Note: This tasting is meant to be readable, not comprehensive. We tasted six wines, not 60. The wines are listed in alphabetical order by producer. A star (*) indicates wines that stood out for their quality and flavor on the day of the tasting. Prices are those at the winery or winery webshop.

Croatian Pošip tasting

*OPG Mladen Kuzmanić Pošip Vina Fradelo 2020 (Kaštel Štafilić) 50 kn
Here’s proof—if you needed it—that great wine doesn’t need to cost the world. This lush, fruity wine is dry, not sweet, and has the acidity to keep it fresh and lively. It has aromas of melon, banana (really!) and white peach but this ripeness is balanced by something slightly tart, like yellow plum skin or green papaya. You’ll need to go straight to the wine maker for this one, in Kaštel Štafilić. Luckily it’s only 20 minutes from Split, near the airport.

PZ Pošip Čara Pošip Marko Polo 2019 (Korčula) 120 kn
If you were to choose a single glass of wine to show you what Pošip tastes like, Marko Polo Pošip would be a great choice. Made by the co-op tucked across the valley from the town of Čara on Korčula, it is solid, textbook Pošip. You’ll taste mandarine orange, a touch of pineapple, and lots of chalky mineral acidity. It falls right at the middle of the fruitiness scale, compared to the other wines here. 

Rizman Pošip 2019 (Komarna) 120 kn 
A fruity style of Pošip grown on the mainland opposite the Pelješac peninsula. There is less bright citrus and more of a decadent fruit note, like white melon. Instead of balancing, tart green flavors, this one has deeper, more earthy shades—think of a ripe yellow peach, peeled and left out to oxidize. Like all the wines here, the acidity keeps it feeling fresh overall, and makes it a star with food. Organic.

Croatian Pošip tasting

Stina Pošip 2019 (Brač) 120 kn
Made in Bol, on the island of Brač, and known for its chic label design: Meant to resemble the famous white stone of Brač, it also provides a canvas for whatever art inspires the drinker by the time the wine is gone. This has the highest acidity of the wines tasted, and yet a fuller body, giving a sense of richness and leanness at the same time. Look for flavors of citrus and mineral, firm green pear and green mango. This was the favorite of one of our guest tasters.

*Toreta Pošip 2020 (Korčula) 70 kn
It is always a sign of quality when a wine has many layers of aroma and flavor—and this one delivers! Swirl and sniff and you’ll get something green and something sweet, like a ripe green fig or slightly underripe white peach, plus green apple and a hint of cucumber. On the first sip, a fresh saline note is foremost, as if these grapevines were inspired by the sea just beyond their valley. Then there’s lemon, green pineapple and a long minerally finish. “I would drink this one daily,” says a guest taster.

Zlatan Otok Pošip 2020 (Hvar) 80 kn
This is the second of the briny pair of wines, and it evokes the precise flavor of oysters on the shell. Briny and minerally, yes, but with a bit of (good) oyster funk that reveals itself more as the wine loses its chill. Ripe fruit lies beneath, including melon and mandarine. Although the winery is on Hvar, this Pošip is grown in Baška Voda, on the mainland just up the coast from Makarska.

Cheers Croatia Magazine conducts wine tastings in the semi-blind format. This means that we know what wines we have, but they are placed in numbered bags so we can’t identify them during the tasting. Wines for tastings are purchased, or occasionally donated by the winery. See the magazine’s Affiliations and Gifts Policy for more information.

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