Preview of the book
Wine and Food
The motto: “Wine is Earth’s answer to the Sun”
This book is dedicated to all lovers of good wine and food. It was created based on the authors’ love for the Croatian Pelješac region, that was inspired by a bottle of nice Plavac, from the domain of the region that this book will guide you through.
A big thank-you goes to the winemakers for their hospitality and for providing the information that led to the birth of this book.
The Pelješac Peninsula
This Croatian peninsula, which is located in southern Dalmatia, 55 km north of world- famous Dubrovnik, is the second largest Adriatic peninsula after Istria. The peninsula is bordered to the north by the bay of the Neretva River, to the east by Mali Ston Bay and to the south by the Mljetski Channel.
It is 65 km long and its total area is 348 km². In the distant past, Pelješac was probably an island and its link with the mainland came about through the sedimentation of the sea sand in the area named Ston Prevlaka. The terrain of the peninsula is of a rocky nature with fertile valleys. The highest summit is St. Ilija that towers over the town of Orebič to a height of 961 m above sea level.
The climate is temperate Mediterranean, with a typical rainy winter season and dry hot summers. The climate is significantly affected by the typical winds, which are referred to as Bura and Jugo. The average temperature in January is 7 °C, while in July it is 26 °C. On average there are 2589 sunshine hours annually.
About 9,000 inhabitants live permanently on the peninsula that constitutes part of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The towns of Ston, Orebič, Trpanj and Janjina can be considered as being the local centres. Pelješac is not affected by industrial production; the traditional livelihood of the population is based on processing olives and wine, for centuries also on fishing and – today – also on an important and developing sector of tourism.
Historically the Pelješac Peninsula comprised part of the Republic of Dubrovnik, which constituted an aristocratic city-state from the 14th Century until 1808. This Republic gradually replaced its original vassal relationship to Byzantium, the Venetian Republic, Hungary, the Habsburg Empire and the Ottoman Empire to become a major maritime city-state competing with the Venetian Republic. Its demise occurred on the 31st January 1808, when the French Marshal, Auguste Marmont, who was in command of the French troops, which had been occupying the territory of this Republic since 1806, declared it as having been abolished.
The Putnikovič – Janjina Area
In this area, the vineyards are located facing both towards the sea and inland. The major wine villages are Putniković, Žuljana, Drače, Janjina and Trstenik.
The wineries belonging to this area comprise:
- Vinarija PZO „Putnikovič“
- Vinarija DUBRAVA – Dubrava
- Vinarija ČAKELIČ – Miljenko Čakelič, Žuljana
- Vinarija ILIN – Vlaho Ilin, Žuljana
- Vinarija ŽIVKUŠIČ – Ing. Matko Živkušič, Trstenik
- Vinarija ČIRKOVIČ – Robert Čirkovič, Trstenik
- Vinarija GRGIČ – Miljenko Grgič, Trstenik
- Vinarija PLJEŠKI VRHOVI – PZO JANJINA – Drače
- Vinarija OPG GRGUREVIČ – Anto Grgurevič, Janjina – Drače
- Vinarija BEZEK – Ivo Bezek, Janjina
Note: Numbers on the map locate wineries in the area. (The map is not part of the preview)
Anto Grgurevič, Janjina 30 20246 Janjina
Anto Grgurevič is a 5th generation successor to a family winemaking tradition. The inception of this tradition dates back to 200 years ago.
The area of the farmed vineyard is 2.5 ha and it mainly comprises south-oriented slopes located in the vicinity the village of Janjina. The terraced vineyards are located in the hinterland and on one of them there is a simple stone cottage where it is possible to stay overnight and in this way to be able to taste the wine at sunset at the actual place of its birth. According to the winemaker it is planned to establish more such places. From one of the terraces it is possible to view more than 50-year old shrubs, on which the quantity of grapes is dramatically reduced to enable the production of wines that are entitled to bear the grand cru indication. The vineyard is planted with 21,000 heads of vines of the Plavac Mali variety (80%) and with white Rukatac (20%), from which 15,000 bottles of wine are produced.
Wine is produced by means of controlled fermentation; part of the production of white wines utilises the sur lie method.
Half of the wine production is filtered. The white wine is stored in stainless steel tanks, while the red wine is aged in wooden barrels and also partly in barrique barrels.
The wine can be tasted and purchased at the point of sale in the village of Drače. The access route from the main road is clearly marked by a banner.
Ston salt is one of the most well-known and significant products of the Pelješac Peninsula.
Till the 18th Century the local saltpans that are called Stagnum (derived from the Latin Stamnum and meaning permanently flooded) were the main source of income of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Its profits from the sale of salt accounted for one third of its income. According to archaeological research salt was already being extracted in this area in the year 2,000 year BC.
Ston saltworks that lie sprawling in the bay on the south side of the town of Ston are, according to the available resources, still the oldest functioning saltworks of their type in the world. Their method of salt production has remained unchanged for centuries, which is a guarantee of the environmentally sound production of salt. The saltworks comprise 58 pools that are combined into five clusters. The production from one pool is 30-100 tons of hand-picked salt. The current product range includes untreated natural salt and ground purified salt in a variety of packages.
Summer camps for harvesting freshly crystallised salt during the period between July and September represent an attraction, whereby it is possible to actively participate in the collecting of salt. (www.solanaston.hr)
Seabass (brancin) in a Ston salt crust prepared under the bell
Remove the scales and the gills from the gutted fish, rinse it and pat it dry. Insert a sprig of rosemary into the abdominal cavity. Whip the whites of four eggs till they are stiff and mix them with coarse Ston natural salt. Place the fish in the lower part of the pot (or in a pan) and cover it with the salt mixture. Ensure that the fish is evenly covered with the salt mixture. Bake it under the bell for about 30 minutes (depending on the size of the fish – i.e. bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180 °C). After it is baked remove the crust from the fish, get rid of the skin and the bones and serve it with lemon.
We recommend serving this fish dish with Pošip Mili white wine from the Miho Rozič Winery in Ston.
- 1 kg of fish (seabass)
- 1.2 kg of coarse Ston salt
- the egg whites from 4-5 eggs
Oysters and mussels
The Ston area is also well-known for its farming of mussels and oysters. The first references come from ancient times. The first written records in regard to their farming date back to the early 17th Century.
Oysters are bivalves that have the surface of their bodies protected by a calcareous shell that is called a conch and usually it has an elongated or a pear-like shape and comprises two distinct parts. Oysters belong to the category of widely used seafood that is farmed in marine farms, mostly for its use in gastronomy, whereby oysters are served as a delicacy. The most common way of eating oysters is when the raw oyster has been drizzled with a few drops of lemon. Another way is by baking or grilling them.