Croatia is one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world. The country’s winemaking traditions originated in Dalmatia where the Greeks settled in the 5th century B.C., bringing their winemaking and viticultural customs with them. They established vineyards on the islands of Hvar and Vis that were renowned for producing top quality wines. Today, modern winemaking in Dalmatia continues to elevate Croatian wines on the international market with particular emphasis on indigenous Croatia varieties. Lasina is one of Dalmatia’s rarest native varieties, cultivated around a 50km radius near Skradin in central Dalmatia.
The Variety: Lasina
Most red wines in Croatia are bold and full bodied with high tannin and low acidity. Yet Lasina produces unique wines that are distinctly the opposite of what we’ve come to expect from Croatian reds. Single-varietal Lasina wines are light to medium bodied with low tannin and high, tangy acidity. This is why many refer to Lasina as the Pinot Noir of Dalmatia. These wines are characterized by their elegance and noteworthy flavors. However, single-varietal Lasina wines are rare. Instead, the variety is often found as part of a full-bodied blend with other Croatian red varieties, Plavina and Babić.
Lasina is also notoriously difficult to grow. This accounts for the limited 16 ha of plantings in Croatia. Additionally, there are a number of synonymous names for Lasina, including Lasin, Dlarinka, Chliiva, Kuc Mali, Posipan, and Rija.
The Perfect Microclimate
Plastovo, a village near Skradin, offers the perfect microclimate to cultivate this rare variety. Vineyards sit at 250 – 300m above sea level where fruit ripens under the warm Croatian sun. The nearby Krka River and sea breezes off the Adriatic moderate temperatures and help to preserve acidity, aromas, and flavors in the grapes. Historically, this area once lied under a river. This created limestone and other diverse soils suitable for a wide range of varieties and often contributing minerality to the wines.
The Winery: Ante Sladić
Ante Sladić is a family-owned winery located in Plastovo. The winery wholeheartedly cultivates indigenous Croatian varieties with a dedication to tradition and nature. Younger generations of the winemaking family have turned to modern winemaking techniques, elevating Ante Sladić wines to much acclaim amongst international wine lovers.
Tasting Notes: Ante Sladić Lasina 2017
- Radiant, stunning ruby red color in the glass with pale color intensity
- Medium intensity aromas of cherry, red currant, dried violets and roses, raspberry liqueur, and a touch of earth
- Dry, medium-bodied with tangy, tantalizing acidity
- Flavors of tart cherry, red currants and earth are concentrated on the palate
- Silky smooth wine with a medium length finish
- A really pretty wine
Lasina is a perfect wine pairing for creamy tomato risotto, mushroom risotto, and even Mexican dishes like chile relleno or shredded beef enchiladas. This is also an ideal wine to pair with barbeque chicken sandwiches, cevapi (Balkan beef kebabs), or oven roasted stuffed squash.