Monday, November 28, 2022

Rant: Good News & Potential Bad News For Croatian Wine From Wine Enthusiast

Wine Enthusiast has released its annual list, The Enthusiast 100: The Best Wines of 2022, and it's noted that: Our judges went in search of discoveries, and this year they were not disappointed. From 21,000 wines blind tasted, reviewed and rated, this list of 100 wines has been selected as the best and most exciting wines of 2022." They also noted, that: "These 100 offerings were the most exciting wines of 2022, selected because they were compelling and delicious, had outstanding quality-to-price ratios and are broadly available for purchase." 

Their list included wines from 17 different countries, and Croatia was one of them, with two Croatian wines making the list. For the first time, a Croatian wine, made from an indigenous grape, Plavac Mali, was included on the list. At #53 place on the list, there was the 2018 Volarević Plavac Mali Platinum Edition, which scored 95 points. I've visited the Volarević Winery, and found Josip Volarević, the owner and oenologist, to be incredibly talented and knowledgeable. He has devoted much research into the Plavac Mali grape, conducting plenty of experimentation, and it's no surprise to me to see this wine so lauded.

And at #77 place on the list, there was the 2020 Saints Hills Le Chiffre Chardonnay, which scored 94 points. In addition, of the 21,000 wines that were reviewed by Wine Enthusiast this past year, over 20 Croatian wines were included, with ratings of 90+ points. All of these wines are currently available in the U.S. from Croatian Premium Wine Imports, and can be shipped to much of the U.S. 

It's great to see Croatian wines receiving the recognition they deserve, however, there's been concern that they won't see any attention from Wine Enthusiast in 2023. This past July, there was a sad announcement: “The following regions will no longer be tasted by Wine Enthusiast: Other U.S.(States outside of CA, WA, OR, NY, VA) and Other Europe/Asia (Bulgaria, Croatia, China, Luxembourg, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland).” So, it seemed that Croatian wines would no longer be reviewed by Wine Enthusiast, despite the fact that their wines received significant positive reviews in 2022. 

However, I received some information that Wine Enthusiast might have reversed their position on Croatia, and that Mike DeSimone, Writer at Large, may continue to review Croatian wines. I haven't yet seen a public announcement confirming this, but hope it turns out to be true. Croatian wines deserve wider attention, and needs more wine writers to talk of their merits. Croatia produces a wide diversity of wines, from both indigenous grapes and international varieties, and after tasting more than 500 of their wines, I can assure you there is much to love. 

For the holidays, why not consider giving Croatian wine as gifts. Or splurge and buy yourself some Croatian wines. 

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