I love so many places in Croatia, but Peljesac peninsula is really, really close to my heart. I simply love this part of Croatia. Funnily enough, one thing I love about it is the fact that there are fewer tourists who come here. And still, I can't stop talking everybody into visiting Peljesac peninsula.
And while we are still on this, go read our post on three reasons to visit Peljesac peninsula right now.
Anyways, one of the reasons we cherish this region so much are its wines, grown on steep hill slopes that rise from the sea creating a dramatic scenery. I can't even count the number of times I've passed through Peljesac wine growing regions and I am still never tired or bored to pass there yet another time.
Peljesac peninsula is famed for its red wine, made of an indiginious grape sort Plavac mali. Descendant of Dobricic and Crljenak Kastelanski (known also as Zinfandel or Tribidrag; yes Zinfandel actually originates from Croatia!), Plavac mali is almost the only grape variety planted here.
Two most famous wine growing regions on the peninsula are Dingac and Postup. Both of them are located on the south slopes of Peljesac, and they were the first two protected wine regions in Croatia: Dingac in 1964 and Postup just three years afterwards, in 1967.
Both regions have a similar location (sea facing southwest slopes of the peninsula), karst soil and equal level of sinlight (2800 hours yearly). But one important difference between these two regions is inclination and elevation of the terrain. Dingac at 45 degrees slopes are extremly steep, and the grapes are planted as high as 300 m above the sea level, while Postup slopes are gentle, not so steep, and vineyards are planted at elevation of max 200 m.
And while Peljesac as a wine growing region has a great potential, and things are improving constantly, it's still in many regards far from other well known wine regions in Croatia.
Vineyards owners, until recently, depended a lot on large cooperatives that were rather interested in quantity over quality. So this was a devise on Peljesac for many years. As large cooperatives started disapearing and new young wine makers had a different vision for their wines, quality started improving. Yet, you basically have very few nice wineries to visit, where truly experience the wines of Peljesac peninsula.
Today there are few notable wineries offering a wine tour and wine tasting to visitors. We've visited three of them back in September.
Peljesac Wine Tour: three wineries we've visited
1 | Frano Milos Winery
A small family-run winery is located in a village of Ponikve, in the inland part of the peninsula. Milos family grows only Plavac mali grapes, and they produce five different wines: quality Plavac mali, premium Stagnum, rose, semi-sweet and sweet dessert wine.
Their vineyards are planted on slopes facing south toward Prapratno Bay. Milos family grows their grapes 100% organically. They don’t use any pesticides or other chemicals. Soil fertilization is natural too. The family follows the same principles when it comes to wine making, and aging of their wines: keep it as natural as possible.
Many consider Frano Milos the most charismatic wine maker on the peninsula. In any case, we highly recommend visiting his winery in Ponikve. Try to arrange a visit to family's vineyards as well.
Contacts | Address: Ponikve 15, Ston | t: +385 20 753 098 | m: +385 98 196 52 54 | Website
2 | Saints Hills Winery
A brand new Saints Hills Winery opened just few months ago, in May 2014. Located off the main Peljesac wine roads, Saints Hills a gorgeous winery, with its interiors made of limestone, while its interiors kept rather contemporary look and feel.
Saints Hills is relatively new name on Croatian wine scene, but with their wine, and their market approach these guys show that they are here to make top wines, and a name for themselves. Saints Hills has three vineyards in Istria, Komarna, and Peljesac; and produces so far five different wines: two white wines (Nevina, and Mala Nevina; both blends of Malvazija and Chardonnay), two red wines (a wonderful Sv. Roko wine, and exclusive Dingač wine), and a playful Saint Heels Rose.
A must-visit winery if you are on the peninsula. We wrote a whole post about the Saints Hills Winery.
Contacts | Address: Zagruda bb, Peljesac | t: +385 20 742 113 | e: email@example.com | Website
3 | Matuško Winery
Matuško has its story. And many would argue that he's not a wine maker, but a super successful wine dealer. The truth, like always, is perhaps somewhere in-between. Matuško, I think, is guy who made money off wine. Matuško buys grapes from others, and then make an affordable wine for masses. And he also works heavily with many travel agencies that bring lots of people to his winery in Potomje. Big groups, touring buses, thousands of people who embark on Peljesac wine tour stop at the Matuško Winery.
However, Matuško has one of the largest wine cellars on the peninsula, nice tasting rooms (yes, more than one), and a small gift shop at the ground floor of his family house. He also produces some quality wines, especially in the last years.
Matuško produces ten different wines from Dingac, Plavac Mali, Rukatac, Pošip to rose and sparkling wine. I have neighbors who absolutely love Matusko's Dingac. While I found it OK on a palate, I did prefer other Dingac wines we've tasted that day.
But one thing is for sure, Matuško has one of the best wine cellars on the peninsula, and it's definitely worth a visit.
Further reading: If you plan to visit Peljesac peninsula, we've got lots of information about the region, here at our blog. Follow our Slow Roads Croatia series, and explore small villages on the peninsula, like Zuljana, Trstenik, and Borak. We've also wrote a post on reasons to visit Peljesac peninsula. We also reviewed Saints Hills Winery, and Milos Winery.
Have you ever visited Peljesac, or tasted wines from Peljesac? Would you like to do Peljesac wine tour? Let us know in the comments below.