October Wine Box: The Balkan Peninsula

Ready for something new?

Long before the French and Italians graced the world with elegant, polished wines made from modern grape varieties, people were making wine on the Balkan Peninsula from ancient, indigenous grape varieties in a climate well-suited to viticulture. Americans are finally starting to take notice of these wines and now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about.

This month’s wine box features four terroir-driven, soulful Balkan wines from Istria (Croatia), Northern Dalmatia (Croatia), Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.


Price for all four wines is $79.

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Brkić 2013 Čitlučka Žilavka
Price: $17.00
Region: Motar, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Type: White Wine
Grape Variety: Žilavka (zhee-lav-ka)
Farming: Organic and practicing Biodynamic.
Production: Fermented with indigenous yeast, aged on the lees, and bottled unfiltered.
Notes: Žilavka is a white indigenous white grape well-suited to the climate and limestone soil in the Mediterranean, where it’s been grown for more than 1000 years. Notes of ripe pear, fresh tarragon, and sea breeze make this wine pair with a variety of Mediterranean-inspired foods.


Coronica 2014 Malvazija Istarska
Price: $20.00
Region: Istria, Croatia
Type: White Wine
Grape Variety: Malvazija Istarska
Farming: Practicing organic. Soil is composed of “Terra Rossa”, mineral-rich clay over solid limestone subsoil.
Inoculated with yeasts cultured directly from the vineyard and fermented at controlled temperatures in stainless steel.
Notes: Representing almost 75% of his entire production, Coronica is the area’s benchmark for wines produced from Malvazija Istarska. A bouquet of lemon blossom, lemon pith, and minerals lead to flavors of grapefruit, delicate spice, and oceanic salinity on the palate. Pair with grilled, brined, or pickled seafood, or enjoy with hearty cheeses.


Kabaj 2012 Sivi Pinot
Price: $22.00
Region: Goriška Brda, Slovenia
Type: Ramato (skin-fermented/orange wine)
Grape Variety: Pinot Grigio
Farming: Dry farmed utilizing organic fertilizers.
Fermented with native yeasts for 2 weeks on the skins in 2400 liter oak vats. Aged 12 months on the lees in old French oak barrique. Bottled unfiltered. 
 Not your Aunt Mary’s Pinot Grigio! Strawberry in color and creamy in texture with notes of dried apricots, brioche, and custard. The mineral-driven finish is long and dry with exquisite texture, density, and length. A wonderful pairing for roasted poultry and other fall fare.


Bibich 2013 R6 Riserva
Price: $20.00
Region: Northern Dalmatia, Croatia
Type: Red Wine
Grape Variety: Babić, Lasin, Plavina
Farming: Dry farmed, head-trained vines. Minimal sprays are used in the vineyard due to the site’s optimal grape-growing conditions.
Production: Hand harvested and co-fermented with wild yeasts, then aged 12 months in American oak.
Notes: Not many people know that Zinfandel’s origins lie in Croatia. The indigenous grapes that make up Bibich’s R6 blend nod to Zinfandel, but maintain a smoky herbaceousness, freshness, and minerality that Zinfandel as we know it lacks. Pair with smoked meats, grilled sausages, and even goat cheese.

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