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Pošip: A Croatian Wine Star

Croatian wine posip

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Standing out amongst 140 local grapes is no small feat. That’s what makes the Croatian wine grape Pošip so exciting. Pošip (in addition to Grk) may be my favorite Croatian white grape. A recent blind tasting of Pošip further reinforced my belief in this Croatian variety.

Pošip: Croatian White Wine Grape

Pošip originates from the island of Korčula in Southern Dalmatia. This island happens to be my favorite wine island in Dalmatia. In the past, Korčula belonged to the Venetian empire and there’s even a legend that the explorer Marko Polo was born on the island.

Croatian Wine Regions Vina HR
Korčula Island is located at the bottom of the country in blue.

Pošip thrives in several east-west valleys that run through the towns of Blato, Smokvica, and Čara. The ridges here create a mini-wind tunnel that helps regulate the Mediterranean temperatures during the summer. As of 2009, there were 450 hectares (1111 acres) of the grape planted – mostly on Korčula. That figure has surely gone up as producers have taken the variety outside of Korčula. You can now find Pošip on different islands and mainland Dalmatia.

Pošip is known for keeping good acidity levels while the sugar levels rise during the hot Dalmatian summer. This year, I took part in a Pošip night-harvest on Komarna (the mainland). That night-harvest took place in late-August. On the island of Korčula, the Pošip harvest often stretches into September.

At it’s best, Pošip is rich and minerally when made into a fresh white wine. Some people might find it similar to the whites of Southern Rhône. In the care of a good producer, it can also be barrel-aged or fermented into a Meursault-style. The wines are excellent with Dalmatian seafood.

A recent blind tasting of 59 Pošips showed the versatility of this grape. Here are my impressions and wines that scored 90 points or higher. Wines were tasted on Christmas Day 2020.

Blind tasting 59 Pošip wines with wine writer Saša Špiranec.

Pošip Impressions

The Good

  • The quality of Pošip is very high and many wines scored in the high 80s.
  • The quality continues to improve as producers take the grape more seriously throughout the years.
  • These wines pair well with the local Dalmatian seafood.
  • In the hands of a good producer, Pošip can take on oak.
  • Producers on the mainland are starting to show that good Pošip can be produced outside of Korčula.
  • The 2019 vintage was phenomenal for whites in Dalmatia and these wines are drinking great now.

The Bad

  • The price of grapes in Dalmatia can be costly, so wines made from Pošip cost more than those made from Croatia’s other two signature white grapes, Malavazija & Graševina.
  • Restaurant markups are notorious in Dalmatia thanks to the high volume of tourists. The high season is the summer, which bumps up the prices of Pošip even more.

Pošip Wine Recommendations:

Fresh Pošip

  • Galić, Ego 2019

The Galić, Ego has bright tropical fruit, this smells like a pure, fresh wine. Notes of pineapple, flint, peach, and natural gas. There’s plenty of fruit and concentration here. It’s more explosive and has a nice interplay between fruit and acid. Good length with a little bottle development on the back end. Score: 90/100 

  • Hvar Hills, Pošip 2019

The Hvar Hills Pošip has notes of pineapple, peach, vanilla, and flint. The wood adds some creaminess to the palate. The flavors are a bit disjointed at this point but there is structure here. Good length. This should be better in a few years and it’s big enough to handle pairing with chicken and pork. Score: 90/100

  • PZ Pošip Čara, Pošip 2019

The PZ Pošip Čara, Pošip has plenty of lees contact. The yogurt flavors are accompanied by white peach, crushed limestone, and white grapefruit. This wine has a fine melody of citrus notes and seaside flavors, I can almost small the rocky beaches of Dalmatia. Zippy wine with length. Score: 90/100

  • Skaramuča, Pošip 2019

Skaramuča consistently puts out high-value for money wines. No small feat in Dalmatia. There are plenty of mineral notes that come out first with this wine. Slate, flint, and crushed rocks accompany the white apricot and pineapple fruit. Complex for a fresh wine. Palate follow up the nose with a great interplay of fruit, minerals, and acidity. Lemony acidity stretches out the finish. Score: 90+/100

  • Skaramuča, Pošip Elegance 2019

The Skaramuča, Pošip Elegance has notes of apricot, dried pineapple, vanilla, and a touch of thyme. There’s a lot here to look for a fresh white wine. It’s on the lighter style for Pošip but done well. Bright acidity and a lemony finish. There’s a touch of bottle development on the finish, which is enjoyable for me. Score: 90/100 

  • Testament, Pošip 2019

Testament is a new producer that’s making waves in the country. The Testament, Pošip has notes of thyme, apricot, quince, and pear. This is a pleasant Pošip. It’s not angular and there’s plenty of balance. Tangy finish that gives a hint of wood. Mouth coating fruit. Not as tropical as the other Pošips. There’s almost a French-like refinement. Score: 90/100 

  • Rizman, Pošip 2019

This wine is good in every vintage. The Rizman, Pošip has notes of dried pineapple, white flower, rock, and garrigue. The fruit feels a bit overripe on the nose but the palate brings it back. There’s a good blend of fruit and mineral notes here. The acidity is crisp. For a fresh white, this is full-bodied and generous. Good length. Score: 91/100

  • Volarević, Pošip Syrtis 2019

The Volarević, Pošip Syrtis is explosive with a nose of tropical fruit, Greek yogurt, green guava, and green mango. It’s like a medley of a tropical fruit salad with some crushed rocks on top. The palate has laser-like focus. There’s a lot to like here. It has a sweet fruit finish. There might be a touch of residual sugar here but that softens the palate. Score: 90/100

  • Saints Hills, Posh 2019

The Saints Hills, Posh has an elegance to it. This smells like a Pošip from a cooler climate. Notes of grapefruit, quince, Asian pear, and flint. There’s a rush of acidity here, almost Riesling-esque. The lemony acidity doesn’t detract from the mineral notes. Good length. This is a shellfish wine. Score: 90/100

  • Krolo, Pošip 2018

Krolo is a small producer on the mainland. This Pošip has pineapple, natural gas flavors, white peach. It’s still a wine that’s really fresh. It has bracing acidity which washes the palate clean. Intense fruit and saltiness. Lengthy finish. Really well done. This is for Riesling nuts. Score: 90/100 

Barrel-Aged Pošip

  • Rizman, Nonno 2019

The Rizman, Nonno is one of my favorite Dalmatian whites and I was thrilled to see that it showed well in this blind tasting. Impressive and bright nose. White flower, pineapple, gunmetal flint, and nectarine. The palate is round and creamy (perhaps some oak aging). The mouthfeel never feels flabby thanks to the acidity. There’s a hint of complexity on the backend here. Long finish. Score: 91+/100 

  • Hvar Hills, Pošip Kuš 2019

The Hvar Hills, Pošip Kuš is a beefier white, the oak stands out on the nose. Notes of pineapple, peach, vanilla, and flint. The wood adds some creaminess to the palate. The flavors are a bit disjointed at this point but there is structure here. Good length. This should be better in a few years and it’s big enough to handle pairing with chicken and pork. Score: 90/100

  • Ahearne Vino, Pošip 2018

Jo Ahearne is a Master of Wine producing small batches of wine on Hvar and Korčula. This shows some bottle age, which is a great thing. Notes of white peach, lime, vanilla, and slate. There’s a touch of wood treatment here but it doesn’t stand out. The wine is developed on the palate but not intense. I’d like a little more length but this is ready to drink now. Score: 91/100

  • Korta Katarina, Pošip 2018

The Korta Katarina, Pošip is good in every vintage. This wine has a little wood with dried pineapple, seawater, dried peach, and a touch of vanilla. This is a full-bodied white wine. On the palate, the fruit is more dried but there are intensity and saltiness on the backend. Good finish. Score: 90/100 

  • Senjković, Tristeca 2018

The Senjković, Tristeca was a pleasant surprise. There’s plenty of waxiness here from the oak treatment. Notes of dried peach, lemon peel, bacon fat, and lemon peel. It’s full and round on the palate. It may be a little oaky now but this wine has a future to age. The fruit is good and acidity is moderate. A medley of sweet oak and yellow fruits on the finish. Score: 90+/100

  • Milina, Pošip Grandeca 2018

The Milina, Pošip Grandeca shows wood but it’s handled well. Banana, dried pineapple, dried peach, and vanilla. It’s a bit oaky now but there is good fruit underneath. Full-bodied and rich, there’s plenty of fruit to back everything up. This could be good with time in the bottle. Put this aside for a few years Score: 90/100

  • Matela, Pošip Sur Lie 2016

This wine completely shocked me once it was revealed. The Matela, Pošip Sur Lie is an intense, barrel-aged white. Notes of yellow peach, almond, yogurt, and orange rind. The wood is handled really well here because the fruit is so intense. Bright acidity and the ability to age even further. This is Pošip made in a dare I say, Burgundian way. Score: 92/100

  • Krajančič, 1214 Statut 2016

Kranjančič is considered to be the godfather of modern Pošip and it was good to see all of his wines show well. The 1214 Statut is barrel fermented with notes of banana, sweet peach, pineapple, and a touch of oak. This wine has masterful oak integration. There intense stone fruit upfront. The barrel quality is great here. There’s enough wood with stone fruit notes and a long finish. Good bite. Meursault in style. Score: 92/100

  • Krajančič, Pošip II Macerirano 2016

The Krajančič, Pošip II Macerirano is an orange wine with notes of fall leaves, apricot, dried peaches, and dried lemon peel. It’s an orange wine but there’s harmony here. Ripe tannins and good length. The acidity stays fresh. Score: 90/100 

Sweet Pošip

  • Krajančič, Opera

The Krajančič, Opera is a brilliant dessert wine that is golden in color. Notes of caramel, butterscotch, dried apricot, and sweet cream. There’s a brilliant candied orange flavor to this with a touch of pumpkin spice. It’s rich but never feels flabby thanks to the vibrant acidity. A take on Pošip that isn’t often seen. Spicy and complex on the back end. Score: 94/100

Do you want to try Pošip?

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Thank you to Vinart for inviting me to the tasitng and providing bottle shots. The opinions expressed in this article are unsolicited and have not been paid for in any way by governmental bodies, enterprises, or individuals. We do not sell editorial content as that would destroy the legitimacy of our reviews and the trust between Exotic Wine Travel and its readers. On occasion, we extend the option of purchasing the wines we review or/and the products we spotlight. Some of these product links are set up through affiliate programs, which means Exotic Wine Travel gets referral credits if you choose to purchase these items via the links we provide.

DR MATTHEW HORKEY
DR MATTHEW HORKEY
Author | Speaker | Wine Nerd
https://exoticwinetravel.com

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