Vinistra 2011 – Wine Exhibition in Croatia


Who doesn’t love a glass or two of wine?  Over the years I’ve enjoyed some fabulous bottles from Croatia – particularly dingač and teran.  Croatia’s Malvasia region has a rich wine-making history.  This history, as well as Croatia’s contemporary wine-making practices, are celebrated annually at the Vinistra festival held in Poreč.


The main objective of Vinistra is the promotion of Istrian wines, on domestic and international markets, and the education of wine consumers.  This event has become internationally renowned with visitors to the exhibition sharing two loves – wine and gastronomy.  Aside from wine, Vinistra also showcases the region’s fabulous olive oils and brandies.  This year’s exhibition, the 18th of its kind, will be held between the 13th and 15th of May.

For more information visit Vinistra 2011.


Related Images:

Wine of the Week: Hungarian Campanula Pinot Grigio 2009

Hungarian Campanula Pinot Grigio 2009

I recently delved into my latest box of wine from Laithwaites to find a wonderful surprise in form of a Hungarian Campanula Pinot Grigio 2009.  Pinot Grigio, always crisp and delicate, is one of my favourite grapes.  However, Campanula offers something a little more.  This wine has a superb, golden body, with a hint of sliced apples and citrus fruit.  It’s no surprise then that this wine regularly features in Laithwaites’ annual bestseller lists, as well as winning several awards at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.  I can’t recommend this bottle highly enough.  It’s great for spring.  Enjoy a glass with some anti-pasti or a main course of white fish, poultry or veal.

Hungarian Campanula Pinot Grigio 2009

Hungarian Campanula Pinot Grigio 2009, £5.99 a bottle, available at Laithwaites

Related Images:

Recipe: Soča River Trout Wrapped in Pršut

When I first visited Slovenia the Detela family took me out to a restaurant one day for lunch.  This was the dish I ordered and I love it!  It’s fresh, tasty and as I found when I tried to make it recently, not actually that difficult.

Soška postrv s pršutom

Check out my recipe below…


1 trout per person gutted, cleaned and patted dry

4 slices of proscuitto ham per fish

1 clove of garlic per fish, crushed

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley per fish

250ml white wine

50g butter



Generously butter a roasting dish large enough to fit the fish laying flat

Place the garlic and parsley into the fish

Wrap the prosciutto ham around each fish to seal it, season with salt and pepper

Soška postrv s pršutom

Place fish into roasting tin

Pour wine over fish

Place in oven on 180°C and roast for 30 minutes

Remove the fish from the oven and keep warm

Simmer the juices until slightly thickened

Serve the fish with the sauce poured over it and a generous wedge of lemon

Related Images:

Wine of the Week: Bulgarian Enira Red Wine at Waitrose

Enira 2006 Thracian Lowlands Bulgarian Red Wine

This New Year I was excited to see yet another East European wine on sale at Waitrose; it’s no wonder Decanter deem them the best supermarket supplier of wines.  I saw in 2011 with a bottle of Enira 2006 Thracian Lowlands Bulgarian red wine.  This fabulous, spicy red wine is produced and bottle by the Bessa Valley Winery in Ognianovo village.

Enira 2006 Thracian Lowlands Bulgarian Red Wine

This wine is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot.  The deep, vibrant, ruby red colour is further complemented by its rich flavour.  Boasting flavours of plum and blackcurrant, this wine is particularly smooth.  Unlike most East European wines, it is ripe, and equals any bottle of cabernet sauvignon from France or the New World.  It would not be impossible to enjoy this wine chilled as is a popular trend in Balkans and Greece.

Most excitingly I then found out this wine won a Bronze Award at the International Wine Challenge.  I couldn’t agree with the decision more.  It’s certainly a worthy punt for wine enthusiasts!

For more information visit

Waitrose Enira 2006 Thracian Lowlands Bulgarian Wine £7.59.

Related Images:

This Christmas Adopt a Vine with The Georgian Wine Society

Georgian VineyardThis Christmas what do you give the wine lover who has everything?  Their own vines of course!  With the launch of The Georgian Wine Society’s Adopt a Vine program, British wine enthusiasts can for the first time adopt their own vines in one of Georgia’s most celebrated vineyards.

Georgia’s rich winemaking tradition allowed the Society to partner with the Telavi Wine Cellar, one of the country’s top wine producers.  This year the Georgian Wine Society has reserved an allocation of vines in the world-famous, 300-year-old Kondoli vineyards in Kakheti.  Located in the controlled appellation of Tsinandali, between the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains and the Alazani River, the Kondoli vineyards produce some of Georgia’s best wines.

Adopt a Vine customers will be able to choose between two traditional grape varieties: the fresh white Mtsvane, and Saperavi, the national red grape of Georgia, described by Oz Clarke as a potential ‘world beater’.  Kondoli’s Mtsvane vines are found along the banks of the Alazani River, where the breeze from the mountains ensures cool growing conditions and fresh, crisp aromas.  While, the Saperavi vines are planted further back from the riverbank, where warmer conditions encourage the rich black fruit flavours for which the grape is renowned.

Customers joining Adopt a Vine now will adopt vines for the 2011 vintage, which allows you to follow the development of your wine for a full year before it is sent to you in the early summer of 2012.  The price per vine per year is just £29.99, or you can adopt 3 vines for £54.99.  The best bit?  There is no limit on the number of vines you can adopt!

What You Need to Know

  • You will receive one bottle of wine from the award-winning Kondoli vineyards from each of your adopted vines.
  • To offer Adopt a Vine as a gift, simply name the person you wish to give it to.  Orders for Christmas 2010 need to be received by 18th December.
  • To join email
  • All adopters must be over 18 years old.

For more information visit

Related Images:

Recipe: Mackerel in a White Wine Sauce

I love this mackerel dish, it is really easy to make and you can serve it in individual dishes which makes it ideal for dinner parties.  Ensure the fillets have some bones in them otherwise the fish may fall apart.


4 mackerel fillets, with tails and butterflied

50ml olive oil

1 white onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes

250ml dry white wine


Lemon slices and parsley to garnish


Preheat the oven to 180ºC

Dry the fillets with kitchen paper

Heat oil and gently fry onions until soft

Stir in the garlic

Spoon in the tomatoes and season

Add fillets of mackerel (it is best to do this one or two at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan)

Mackerel in Wine Sauce

Cook for 5 minutes on one side, remove and keep warm

When all the fillets are cooked, place them into individual dishes

Pour on the tomato sauce

Mackerel in Wine Sauce

Pour in the wine and cover each dish with foil

Cook for 25 minutes in the oven

Mackerel in Wine Sauce

Serve garnished with slices of lemon and parsley

Related Images:

Wine of the Week: Eva’s Vineyard Merlot / Kékfrankos 2007

Eva' VineyardImagine my surprise when on my way to see friends at a dinner party when checking out the Waitrose wine shelves to find them now stocking Eva’s Vineyard Merlot / Kékfrankos (an indigenous grape) 2007 from the Szekzard region in Hungary. Now I knew Waitrose stocked Eva’s Vineyard Chenin Blanc / Pinot Grigio / Királyleányka 2009 from the Neszmély region but here was a hearty red perfect for those dark, cold, winter nights.

This is a warm, ripe, ruby red wine and a perfect accompaniment to porkolt or goulash.  And it’s screw cap!  But if you can believe it, that’s not the best bit? The best bit is that this fabulous bottle of wine costs just £3.79! What an absolute steal!

What you need to know:
Price per bottle: £3.79
Alcohol by volume: 12.5% vol
Bottle size: 75cl
Closure type: Screwcap
Exclusive to Waitrose: Yes
Grape varieties: Merlot / Kékfrankos
Region: Other Countries
Style: Medium Bodied
Wine colour: Red

Related Images:

Festival of Opening the Wine Cellars on Czech-Slovak Border

On the 13th and 14th of November wine enthusiasts are invited to meet wine-makers and their vintages, the lanes of tiny hillside wine-cellars, and the local cooking and music of Slovácko, on the Czech-Slovak border.

Wine Cellars

Slovácko is home to the Chřiby and the White Carpathians. The Morava river meanders through and nourishes a wide valley full of green meadows and enchanting Lužní forests between the mountains. There are delightful chateaux of Milotice , Buchlovice and Bojkovice and steardy fortifications of Buchlov and Malenovice Castles.  Alongside all this history there are numerous vineyards and picturesque paths to wine cellars in Petrov, Vlčnov and Mařatice, where you will find industrious vintners.

For more information visit Czech Tourism

Related Images:

Wine of the Week: Pick Up a Bottle of Carica Milica in Beograd

So my other fabulous purchase from Belgrade Airport was a bottle of Carica Milica Stono Polusuvo Vino, a Serbian red wine.  With equally ornate label as the bottle of Car Lazar and a matching cheap price tag (just 300 Dinar or about £3) I thought it only fair to give this bottle a go too.  It’s a lot less intense than the Car Lazar. For one thing, it is only 11% vol. alcohol in comparison to the Car Lazar which is slightly more at 12% vol.  But the flavour, aroma and colour also quite different.

Carica Milica Stono Polusuvo Vino

This is a paler red, more comparable to a Beaujolais.  The taste and aroma, while fruity, are less intense.  This is no bad thing.  It just depends on your preferance.  In fact, the fact that this particular vineyard makes two wines, quite contrasting but both of fabulous quality mean that there is something to please everyone.  This is epitomised by my very own family.  My Mother loved the Carica Milica, and not just because of its name!  Whereas, my Father particularly enjoyed the Car Lazar.  I, typically, liked both.

Related Images:

Wine of the Week: Pick Up A Bottle of Car Lazar in Belgrade

I recently spent four fabulous days in Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade.  I had enjoyed the culture, history, architecture, but most of all the food and wine.  So on departing I popped into the airport duty free shop to check out what the shelves had to offer.  I personally prefer buying wine anywhere but an airport (it’s just never THAT cheap) but with the 100ml liquid rule I no longer have that luxury and I don’t want to run the risk of ruining a suitcase of clothes, books and miscellaneous stuff.  However, there I was pleasantly surprised to find a few reasonably priced bottles of local wine.  Not only was the Car Lazar Stono Polusuvo Vino (Tsar Lazar) label enticing it promised a rich, heart, deep red wine.

Car Lazar Stono Polusuvo Vino

A blend of prokupac, merlot, vranac and gamay this is a lovely wine to enjoy with traditional Serbian meat dishes.  The best bit?  It only cost 320 dinars which works out at about £3!  What a bargain!  If you are visiting Belgrade soon, look out for this wine!

Related Images: