Two thousand five hundred years ago the Greeks named Korčula Korkyra Melaina (Black Korkyra) for its dense Mediterranean vegetation, and the Romans called it Corcyra Nigra.
Besides its natural beauty and its rich cultural heritage it has been famous for millennia old tradition of winemaking.
By contrast to the rest of Dalmatia, which is known mostly for its red wines, the island of Korčula is renowned above all for the quality of its white, made from its native grapevine varieties.
In the central region of the island grow Pošip and Rukatac, in Lumbarda, on the eastern tip of the island, there are the vineyards of Grk. Among the reds, the most popular is Plavac Mali.
The wines of Korčula are celebrated for their exquisite character, for their complexity, for accentuated varietal aromas and for their high alcohol content – they reflect Mediterranean sunshine, scents and tastes.
They are distinguished for their exceptionally fine acidity - unusual among southern wines - which makes them such a pleasure to drink.
Text and traslation: Maja Cebalo, Lumbarda, Croatia, July 2013.
Pošip is native to Korčula and something of a world rarity in that we know the exact place of its discovery and the name of the grape grower who discovered it in the late 19th century.
It is one of the first white wines to be protected by Croatian law.
Pošip is traditionally grown in the central area of the island in the villages Smokvica and Čara, and has lately spread to other vineyards in the region.
The wine is of splendid, straw-golden yellow colour. Rich and heavy it leaves a thick trail in the glass, and is pleasant, harmonious and full-bodied on the palate.
Pošip is a perfect companion to all fish, shellfish and white meat dishes. It is best served at a temperature of 12-14 °C.
The Dalmatian grapevine variety Maraština, known on Korčula as Rukatac, found an ideal environment on this island more than a thousand years ago.
Celebrated for its excellence it is often used to improve the taste of other wines.
In the past it was mostly prepared as a desert wine, but today it is mostly dry.
The light yellow colour, fullness and harmony of this wine reflect the local environment - Rukatac will not leave you indifferent!
This elegant southern wine is best served with seafood and roasts, cooled to 12ºC.
The village of Lumbarda is renowned for its Grk, made from the native grape of the same name, which grows well on it's sandy soil.
We do not know whether Grk got its name from its refined tart taste (grk means bitter or tart in Croatian) or from the Greeks who established a settlement on this tip of Korčula back in the 3rd century B.C. and planted the first vineyards here.
A rich ancient wine-growing tradition combined with modern technology and oenology produce a dry wine with quite exceptional characteristics: it is recognised by its lightgreen-yellow colour with golden reflections, its emphatic cultivar aroma and its noble bouquet.
It has a rich, harmonious and well-rounded taste with a long, slightly tart finish. Grk goes best with all sea-food as well as with white meat, but can also be served as an aperitif. It should be served cold at 12-13ºC.
Plavac Mali is native to southern Dalmatia and Croatia's most popular and best known red wine.
It is grown on the southern slopes of the island, except in Lumbarda where it is grown not only because it makes a good wine itself, but also in order to help grow the Grk.
Unlike most varieties of vine Grk has only a female flower, so Plavac Mali is grown alongside it as a pollinator.
The wine from Plavac Mali grapes is dark red, even garnet coloured with traces of purple, and has a rich fruity bouquet embedded in a cultivar aroma and a warm, full and refined, well rounded, satisfying acerbic-to-soft taste.
Plavac Mali goes well with fine foods prepared with dark meats, especially game, and also with fish and mature cheeses. It should be served at 18°C.