Of the many highlights of this year's opening night at Spancirfest 2016, one that got my particular attention was the excellent initiative by Saša Špiranec, a journalist, publicist, dedicated promoter of local producers, and an authority on wines. Quality Croatian wines from all over the country available for tasting in a delightfully arranged courtyard in the centre of town, and early visitors on the first day included President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, who enjoyed a refreshing glass of Zlatan Otok Pošip while touring the stands of leading Croatian winemakers such as Feravino, Belović Skaramuča, Belje, Iločki Podrumi, Krauthaker, Kopjar, Prigora, Vinistra Winemakers Association, Badel 1862, P&F Jerusalem, Mežnarić, Vinolicious, and Vivat.
A key part of Vinski Grad is on wine education, and there are specialised workshops every day. With five days remaining, here is what is on offer. For more information about the festival, follow the official Facebook page, and enjoy a video snapshot below for a glimpse of the atmosphere at last year's Vinski Grad.
Day 6, Wednesday, 24.08.
LEADING SLAVONIAN SORT, LEADING DALMATIAN SORT - dr. sc. Leo Gracin, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology
She is beloved in her town, has the best grades in class, refined, versatile and mannered. Her name is Graševina. He is a clown, obstinate wind chaser that loves to meddle with fish and sunbathe on the southern slopes along the sea. His name is Plavac Mali. From what climates and culinary traditions do the most represented white and red sorts of the domestic wine scene come from? What are modern wines of these sorts like compared to traditional ones? Which continental meals go with Plavac Mali and which Mediterranean with Graševina?
Day 7, Thursday, 25.08.
TWICE THE PERFUME; MUSCAT AND TRAMINER - Ivo Kozarčanin, wine journalist and evaluator at wine competitions
Aromatic sorts have their faithful and loyal audience. They are sought and valued. Wines of these sorts have very seductive scents. While the audience grows in numbers, we ask which are the most common and beloved aromatic sorts among domestic wines. What is different in the production of these wines? Where do all the seductive scents come from? What is the difference between Muscat and Traminer? Can these wines also be combined with food and what should we look out for? When are these wines consumed often?
Day 8, Friday, 26.08.
GENTLE, WHITE WINES - Vjekoslav Stojišić, lecturer at WSET wine academy
A high alcohol content is not among the more important characteristics of a good wine. Wines have a countless number of styles and worlds they can present. They can be aromatic, mineral, refreshing, but also - delicate. There are wines which are primarily gentle, soft, endearing, elegant... Wines that are banal or simple, but their style is unobtrusive. Which are those wines? How do they pair with food? Is there a danger of food irritating them?
Day 9, Saturday, 27.08.
WHITE DALMATIA - DALMATIAN WHITE SORTS - Morana Zibar, Taste of Croatia
Aha! we know, these are Pošip and Debit. If the ampelographic richness of Dalmatia is tirelessly put forward, are white Dalmatian wines always the few most prominent? Do you know how many there are? Which ones have you heard of? How often do you have a chance to try white Dalmatian wines in your town? Not to ask questions all the time, we hope after this workshop your first question will be; why doesn’t the world know about this?
Day 10, Sunday, 28.08.
RED SUMMER WINES - Saša Špiranec, wine journalist and publicist
Everything good about the traditional enjoyment of wine should be preserved, but some things should be questioned. We’ve always know light, fresh white wines go better with hot days, while in winter full, rich and extract red wines. Is it always so? Do we enjoy a fine steak in the summer or octopus goulash? Are there red wines we can serve with such meals? Along with known world sorts, is there a wine from an indigenous, light sort?