In 1932 there was a very significant wine rating exhibition held in Toulouse, France. One of the top six wines there was a Debit, made in Skradin, Croatia by the Bedrica family. That is a bit of information that most Croatians have never heard of, but it goes to show that traditionally debit also known as Puljižanac is a grape that used to produce excellent wines, especially from its best positions, on the slopes of Promina mountain.
That location is special because it’s half way from the coastline and the steep mountains on the Bosnia border, so it gets enough sun while during the nights it’s cooled down by the winds from the mountains.
Debit is a white wine that has lost most of its appeal to consumers in Croatia in the past 70 years, when it was produced with prolonged maceration, that gave it unseemly yellow colour and non-harmonic and dull taste. It is considered to be an autochthonous wine to the region of middle Dalmatia, although its alternative name “Puljižanac” suggest an Italian origin (since it means “a person from Apuglia” in rough translation).
Today, Debit is produced with better cellar techniques, spends much less time macerating, and the result is dry, fresh and more mineral wine of bright yellow colour (and a light green hue), strong acidity and full of aroma. Usually it has 11 – 13% alcohol content. Some producers mature it in new oak barrels, and it is traditionally used to create high-quality blends with other traditional white wines from the area. Also traditionally the late harvests of grapes full of sugar were made into very sweet wine, almost like Spanish sherrys, and nowadays some producers are even creating sparkling wine from Debit (and Debit blends). Some producers will still try and recreate the traditional method of making Debit wine, with much longer maceration, so if you are inclined to get the taste of the seventies - those wines are your chance.
However, in the past 20 years, several families that have their vineyards at the best positions have made huge strides towards high quality wine, and you should try any of the Debit you come across made by Bibić (Bibich is what their label says; they export almost 80% of their production), Grozdanić, Džapo, Bilin or Sladić family. It is a wine for every occasion or as an ideal pairing for a light lunch and white meat dishes, as well as lamb. And the sparkling wine made from Debit we mentioned, if you ever come across it – have it, it’s probably one of the best sparkling wines produced in Croatia: BIBICh Brut Sparkling Debit. And don’t hesitate to have some oysters with it as well!