Wine on Vis
WINE on Vis is very important. You'll find some of the best wines in Croatia here, made from grapes grown on the varied soils and terrains of the island. Its praises were being sung as early as the 2nd century BC, when Athenaeus recorded Agatharchides of Cnidus, head of the famous library at Alexandria, as saying "at Issa, which is an island in the Adriatic ... wine is made which is superior to every other wine whatever".
The island's varied geology means there is a range of terroires within a relatively small area, which in turn means several different grape varieties grow exceptionally well here.
It is thought that Agatharcides was referring to plavac mali (literally 'small blue'), one of the most important red grape varieties of Dalmatia which grows in Vis' richer soils. The wine is usually high in tannins, with berry, pepper and spice flavours. Given enough sunlight, the grapes can also achieve a very high sugar content, which converts into a high alcohol content (up to 17%!). Goes exceptionally well with octopus peka.
Another lovely juicy red found here is crljenak (aka tribidrag, and known elsewhere as primitivo/zinfandel). It has recently been reintroduced to Dalmatia, but DNA evidence points to it being the original, from which the Italian and US vines were developed. It is related to plavac mali and has similar qualities, although usually with lower tannins. It's one of our favourites, and goes well with substantial dishes like paprika punjenje.
Vugava/bugava is the island's unique white wine. The grape (a relation of viognier) is especially well-suited to the stony and sandy soils found on the south/south-eastern side of the island. Grapes tend to have a very high sugar content and low acids, which make for a deep amber-coloured and honey-flavoured wine at around 14% alcohol. In our humble opinion, the only thing to drink with fish.
You might also see the variety rukatac (aka malvasia or marastina, among other names it goes by throughout the Mediterranean). On Vis it produces a golden-coloured fragrant white wine. Generally lighter in alcohol and lower in acids than vugava, it has aromas of summer fruits and vanilla, and makes a great 'anytime' wine.
You'll find superb wines everywhere you go on Vis, but a few names we recommend in particular are Roki's, Lipanovic, and Senjanovic.