Sv. Vicenco is located in Croatia on the island of Lastovo. Croatia has over 1,000 islands – amongst them, Lastovo is furthest away from the main coast, and is actually closer to Italy. The island itself is very small, with lots of greenery, and is less rocky than nearby islands. Only 500 people live on the island. Schoolchildren travel by boat to get to attend classes.
Around 20 years ago, Arsen returned to Lastovo after spending time working at multiple wineries in Alto-Adige. He desired to make wine with his own input, realizing he wanted to return home.
Arsen farms 1.80 ha of native varieties Plavac Mali and Plavina, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines range from 20-40 years old, and are planted over terra rossa and limestone. He farms with very low intervention, and only adds a small amount of sulfur a few weeks prior to bottling.
Josipa Marinov and Neno Marinov
Josipa’s and Neno’s vineyards are situated just a few meters above sea level on a mixture of karst and crvenica soil. Crvenica (terra rossa) is a type of soil characteristic of the subtropical and Mediterranean karst regions. Hard ground, tight, and with little humus. However, it easily absorbs and keeps the water long enough to allow grapes to survive during the dry, hot, and long Mediterranean summer. This type of land is created by the dissolution of limestone and dolomite and represents its irrepressible residue. It is clayey and mildly structured.
Babić is an indigenous Croatian varietal, grown only in North Dalmatia, especially around the town of Primosten. It is planted in dry stone pools with only 3-4 plants , very hard to farm, and inaccessible to machines.
Josipa’s approach in the vineyard and cellar is not organic or biodynamic, rather than a real traditional way of winemaking, or as she calls it “as our elders did it 100 years ago, with some improvements.”
Kreso is a familiar face to anyone involved in the natural wine world as he was one of Zev’s first reps and whose passion for all things food and wine is legendary. Winemaking is very much a tradition in the part of Croatia where Kreso comes from and the family always made a little wine for home consumption. After years of selling wine, visiting wineries, and drinking countless epic bottles, he realized just what amazing raw material he had back home. These were mostly farmer wines, with no interventions, and so the potential was laid bare.
Now he spends his time between selling wine in New York and making wine in Croatia. He sources from old vines in Plješivica and lower Styria (Slovenia) from farmers who are longtime friends of the family. Some of the grapes like Riesling and Pinot Gris are familiar, while others such as Sipalj, Stajerka, Kraljevina, Smarnica, and Plavec are much more localized to these central European terroirs. These are wines that show off the quality of these incredible and mostly unknown sites as well as Kreso’s ability as a winemaker to balance minimalist, non interventionist winemaking without sacrificing sense of place.
Most are co-ferments, macerated whites, or a combination of both! In other words, these are also very easy to drink.
“Our business lies in Krasica, village in “white” Istria, 40 km across the Croatian border from Trieste. It is a family business encompassing 8 hectares of vineyards and 3 hectars of olive trees. Our wine-growing approach respects the nature in its fullest and is inspired by the principles of our grandparents. The geographic and climate situation is particularly propitious: the air from the Ucka mountain and the sea air that goes up the river Mirna meet here and create an ideal microclimate to cultivate vines and olives. Our principal goal is to enhance our terroir. We produce no wine out of international grape varietals alone. Our 6 labels are wines made of native grapes – Malvasia, Refosco and Muscat – or their blend with international varietals.
Our work in the vineyards is all about quality, not quantity. The density of culture system is high (5,700 plants / hectare) and the yields are kept low. The fertilization is minimal and occasional, using only organic and natural manures.
We do not use any systematic treatments – herbicides, insecticides, commercial fertilizers…
After coming to our cellar, the grapes are vinified in a natural way, with spontaneous fermentation on the skins and without the addition of enzymes, added yeasts or malolactic bacteria. The wines are mellowed in wooden barrels of various sizes, with a long stay on the lees. After nearly a year the wines are bottled without micro- or sterile filtering.
We believe that no year is “good” or “bad” if you work in a natural way – the vintages are just different. They depend on seasonal climatic factors that determine the absolute value of the wine: its quality.”