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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Pink Day: A Celebration of Croatian Rosé & Olive Oil

Pink Day is a celebration of pink wines, but also spring, optimism, joy of life and positive energy.“ Such a great sentiment!

Pink Day! A fun festival of Croatian Rosé, both still and sparkling, with over 50 Croatian wines available for sampling, as well as wines from other regions. As I love Rosé, I was excited to attend this event during my recent trip to Croatia, and it didn't disappoint. I found plenty of delicious wines, it wasn't too crowded, and there were other items of interest as well, such as olive oil. 

Pink Day was founded in March 2013, created by Sanja Muzaferija, the president of Women on Wine (WOW),  WOW, which was established in 2011, helps connect women and wine. "The aim is to enhance visibility of women in the wine sector, and to connect women wine professionals and wine enthusiasts. All women who have some sort of direct or indirect relationship with wine. Wine merchants, women winemakers, women enterpreneurs , winemakers’ wives, sommeliers, oenologists, wine journalists or just simply – winelovers!"

According to their website, a few of the objectives of Pink Day include:
• The popularization and promotion of Croatian Rosé still and sparkling wines.
• Educating a wider audience on the benefits of wine, especially on women’s health.
• The promotion of female entrepreneurs in the wine business.

WOW has organized numerous wine events, and Pink Day is one of their highlights each year. Previously, the event had been held on International Women’s Day at the Mimara Museum, but the 2020 Zagreb earthquake damaged that building so the event needed to be moved. Thus, on May 21 & 22, 2022, Pink Day was held at the Lauba – House for People and Art,

Lauba is a unique spot, a combination of art gallery, restaurant, and meeting space. I was taken with the feline-like statute outside the Lauba, peering into the window. I'll also note that I enjoyed some tasty Sweet Potato French Fries at their restaurant, which sold a few snacks during the event. Sometimes those fries can be limp and soggy, but these were nicely crisp, with a fine sweet taste. 

The event, open to the public, hosted numerous Croatian producers of Rosé, as well as a small number of producers from several other countries, including Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Preublic and more. Although I was primarily there to taste Croatian wines, I samples a few wines from the other countries, especially Serbia. 

Besides the Rosé tables, the event also had a special section, Green in Pink, which showcased local olive oil which you also could sample. Croatian olive oil is highly regarded and has won numerous international awards over the years. Plus, there were several tables of spirits producers, many offering pink-inspired cocktails. Finally, there were also seminars on both Rosé and olive oil. So much to experience at this fascinating event, and one I'd highly recommend you attend next year. 

There's also a fun tradition that attendees should wear pink, or at least dress with some element of pink. I made sure to wear a dress shirt with pink in it. In addition, Pink Day engages in a variety of charitable endeavors, from women's health issues to helping impoverished families. 

After tasting about 50 Rosé wines, I came to a few conclusions about Croatian Rosé, and all were positive. First, the general quality of all the Rosé was generally excellent, including the Sparkling wines. Second, the Rosés were primarily dry, often reminding me more of French-style Rosé. Third, the Rosés produced from Frankovka (aka Blaufränkisch) were impressive. That was surprising as I wasn't aware that Frankovka was so popular in the Slavonian region of Croatia. 

I want to highlight a dozen Rosés that I tasted, although I'll note that there were numerous other Rosés that I enjoyed as well. 

2020 Ilocki Podrumi Frankova Rosé:
Made from 100% Frankovka. Fresh and fruity, including strawberry and raspberry flavors. A little herbal accent, good acidity, and a refreshing taste. Great summer wine, and good friendly as well. 

Ilocki Podrumi Princeps Sparkling Rosé: Also made from 100% Frankovka, in the classic method. Very dry, crisp, with subtle red fruit flavors and a pronounced minerality. Excellent wine!

2021 Vina Poletti Rosella: Made from Red Rose Muscat, an indigenous grape in Istria. On the nose, there were sweet fruit aromas and spice notes, but on the palate it was crisp and dry, with typical Muscat notes, bright red fruit flavors, and a subtle floral element. A more unique and complex flavor profile.

2021 Vinarija Pinkert Rosé:
 Made from 100% Frankovka. An easy drinking Rosé but one that isn't simple. Bright and fresh, crisp and dry, with flavors of strawberry and stone fruit, and a hint of herbal notes. 

Vina Zigante Vero Brut Sparkling Rosé: Produced from indigenous Teran and made by the classic method, this bubbly was crisp and dry, with excellent acidity, tiny bubbles and complex flavors, including red fruits, peach, herbal elements, and a touch of brioche. An excellent wine.

2020 Vina Zigante Aurora Rosé: Produced from Teran, this wine was interesting and delicious, with subtle flavors of strawberry and raspberry, with some herbal notes, and a touch of earthiness. Crisp, dry and well balanced.

2021 Opus Rosé: From the Komarna region, this wine is made from the indigenous Plavac Mali, and is easy drinking, crispy, dry and tasty, with pleasing red fruit flavors and a touch of stone fruit. 

2021 Kutjevo Rosé Premium: Made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Zweigelt, this wine was easy drinking and complex, with delicious red fruit flavors, good acidity, a touch of minerality, and a lengthy finish. 

Sipun Trojiscina Rosé: This wine is made from Trojiscina, an ancient indigenous grape in the Kvarner region, especially on a few islands, including Susak, Cres, and Losinj. Sipun is currently the only winery producing wine from this grape. The Rosé was interesting, dry and crisp, with flavors of raspberry, grapefruit and peach. Subtle, complex and refreshing. A definite winner.

PZ Vrbnik Valomet Extra Brut Sparkling Rosé: Produced from indigenous grapes on the island of Krk, this bubble is clean, dry and delicious with tiny bubbles, mineral notes, red fruit flavors, and a touch of brioche. There was some intriguing complexity with hints of herbs and a pleasing, long finish. 

2021 Vina Tomic Opolo Nobile: Made from Plavac Mali, from the island of Hvar, this wine was easy drinking with red fruit flavors, floral notes, and a touch of brininess. Bring on some oysters!  

2021 Cuj Rose: Made from a blend of 70% Teran, 20% Merlot, and 5% Hvartica, this wine was fresh and crisp, fruity and herbal.

And as for olive oil, my personal favorite was from Oleum Morisunder the brand of Oio Vivo. It is located in south Istria in the largest olive oil region. They have about 15,000 olive trees, growing 7 different olives, and they produce 6 different olive oils. I was especially impressed with their Zizolera, an indigenous olive that is nearly extinct and now grows only in a tiny area. It is made in a lighter style yet it has a medium intensity; rich fruit flavors, a bit of green pepper and tomato, and a spicy kick on the finish. Complex and intriguing, this is an excellent example of the quality of olive oil from Istria.

Win BurkeTodd Godbout, and I relaxing after our Rosé tasting marathon. Overall, Pink Day was a fun event, with plenty of excellent Rosés, delicious olive oils, and more. I was very happy that I attended, and it earns a hearty recommendation from me. It should return next year so you have plenty of time to make plans to attend. Kudos to Sanja Muzaferija and Women on Wine for hosting such a compelling wine tasting event. 

(Please Note: Photos #2, 8, 9, 12, 14-17 are courtesy of Todd Godbout.)

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