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Google offers insights into yearly search trends. You can look at global trends, and more importantly and more tellingly you can search by countries.


I looked first into Croatia’s search trends and found that other than the World Cup the two most searched terms were Istanbul Convention and The Bride of Istanbul. A layer of sports, a layer of something that was supposed to be a simple continuation of human rights movement aimed at helping women to live a life free from violence turned into heavy ideological battle and layer of Turkish soap operas. Don’t really know what to make of all of that.


Anyhow, turning to the search trends in 2018 in USA revealed that the most popular search terms were voting, how to vote, where to vote and hurricanes, as well as the World Cup. I assume that search trends for the USA are the most comprehensive, as I have not gone country by country to verify this claim and offer the most varied results. One of the categories is named “Where is…”. The number one, the most searched place in the USA is Villanova University, whose Men’s Basketball team won the NCAA National Championship in 2018.


However, the number two, the second most searched place among the Google users, which is pretty much all the internet users in USA, is Croatia. That’s right! Where is Croatia?


Now, what to make of this. We can assume that almost nobody in the USA knows where Croatia is. I would say that this is probably correct to an extent, but not entirely. Americans are generally not famous as the greatest connoisseurs of geography, but then again Croatia is a small country in South East Europe and they generally do not have loads of reasons to look up where it is on the map. Until this year. This year Croatia was a runner up in the World Cup, the second-best football team in world, in the greatest sporting event on the planet.


That prompted millions, tens of millions of Americans to search for Croatia and to learn a thing or two about Croatia. That is simply amazing. Single-handedly, Croatian football players have placed their country at the top of the world’s interest, in a very positive manner, and now we have a statistical proof of that.



Earlier this year, I wrote an article entitled “What is our famous?“, in which I’ve asked myself and the readers just that, what are we famous for? And besides the natural beauty, which is unarguably a very limited and perishable resource, and not unique by any stretch of the imagination, there was little evidence that others consider us famous for almost anything else. Until football, that is. We are now officially famous as a footballing nation.


I do not pertain to know exactly how to translate this into marketable content which will drive both investments and tourism into Croatia, but it must be one of leading stories, something akin to New Zealand’s All Blacks, which is also famous among other things for its natural beauty, that should be central to the branding of the country.


The message about Croatia’s Vatreni (national football team), and their success, alongside the visual of the checkered dress carries intrinsically within it all the promotion emotions of actualization, success, happiness, elation and has a true human connection. And the future is going to be about emotions, and this story has all the right elements to it. With some of the traditional tourist markets coming back to the scene, after a few years of turmoil, we can’t be relying anymore on the prevention emotions of safety and security and rather non-descript emotion of natural beauty.


People are looking for more, looking for ways to better themselves, to achieve the most out of their human potential, and what better way than to invite them to come to the most sporting country in the world, to the country that has written some of the most amazing sporting stories of the XXI century?


Fixing Croatia’s overburdensome bureaucracy, easing one of the most heavily taxed systems in the world and increasing trust in the judiciary should happen alongside as well, but let’s focus now on the promotion of what is easy to promote – the greatest sporting nation in the world.



from my interview with Paul Bradbury for Total Croatia News


Tourism has many faces. It is a huge industry that is growing faster than the world’s overall economy. The number of people who can afford to travel is going to double by 2030, estimates suggest. It is hard to imagine anything stopping this trend other than some cataclysmic events. Reasons for this growth are numerous, from the obvious economic ones to the subtler psychological ones. Travel is one of the emotional industries, and it will grow. While the future will certainly be defined by technology, the future for humans will be nevertheless more emotional than technological. This might sound paradoxical, but I am sure of this. We have already enough evidence in the current narrative which is to a point religionizing the travel industry. 


On the receiving end of this tide of tourism are the most beautiful places in the world, which we by chance got to occupy as well. Some are unhappy on how it has been unfolding over the years, citing the deurbanization of the traditional city centers, pollution and rapid changes that come with it. There are some truths to this, but changes are happening mainly due to technology, pollution is something that can be dealt with by raising the awareness and the deurbanization is not an irreversible process. More often than not people that have sold old houses in the city centers have made for themselves more comfortable living than before. This is not a tirade in defense of all things that come with tourism, but a small reminder that the only people who can reverse these negative trends are us, people who are living here. And we can do that by promoting excellence, supporting small producers and raising the bar when it comes to experiential and transformational forms of travel and tourism. That is the new luxury.


In Dalmatia, we have seen all of these faces of tourism, and we have seen different reactions. Most of the people are waiting for someone to come up with the set of rules and bar this and prohibit that, romanticizing about days gone by and being just the passive observers to these processes. Yet, this is not the case everywhere. In Stari Grad we are seeing an increasing interest in the development of high-end hospitality establishments. Besides our project, there is much more publicized Four Seasons project as well as Valamar hotel in the place of Helios hotels. I am sure more will come with time. The local authorities with Mayor Škarpa have shown great interest in pursuing these type of projects, that are both culturally and naturally conscious and take into account local dynamics and heritage.



Experiential travel or experiential tourism is the global movement in the tourism industry, especially in its higher echelons, in its luxury segments.


Tourists that seek travel experiences rather than traditional resort vacations, therefore prefer to be called travelers, rather than tourists. Ideally, they would like to be described as travelers on a journey of immersion into unknown cultures, gastronomies, languages, relationships and landscapes. Also, they do not consider themselves to be luxury travelers, but affluent travelers, as their money is spent on personal bettering, not wasted on material products meant to show status and show their riches. It is rather thought-provoking really, because these ideas have been elevated to something akin to a religious movement.


The first time I started thinking about this phenomenon in this particular way was when I read “Sapiens”, by Yuval Noah Harari, a remarkable Israeli historian and philosopher. Harari posits that there are factual truths about the world that exist regardless of our understanding of them, our subjective truths and intersubjective truths, also known as narratives that exist within a group of people.


One of those narratives says that in order to make the most out of their human potential, people should travel around the world, experiencing that world, taking in as much as possible. Believers in this intersubjective truth are “the true believers in the myth of romantic consumerism”, according to Harari. The romantic part of it is obvious, as is the consumerist.


Romanticism lies in the notion that we must undertake certain, very often unknown and unfamiliar, actions and happily plunge ourselves into the slew of new experiences in order to appreciate the life and to gain the understanding of the world.


The consumerist part lies in the idea that we must earn enough money and spend it on such experiences in order to achieve the same goal. It is a circle, but a circle of betterment, and not material betterment but a psychological one, at least that is what those believing in this myth would have you believe.


On the other hand, it seems that this myth has a real-life implication. Recent psychological research conducted by prestigious Cornell University showed that such behaviour, one hallmarked by experiential rather than material purchases, does indeed make one a better person. Better is here meant in terms of sense of gratitude and generosity which in turns propels one’s social behavior.


To make it even more fascinating the results showed that those people have a further positive effect on those around them, and those effects ripple through the society like a pebble in the water. These feelings of gratitude and the practices of generosity that often follow also have positive effects on the general health. So it seems then that the positive effects of the betterment through experience actually leads not only to the more satisfying life in terms of psychological balance and happiness, but in improvements in general health, and that is rather an extraordinary finding.


While I am not a big fan of the religionisation of any ideas, let alone the travel and tourism industry, the idea that spending less on material goods and more on the experiences, which in turn makes people more generous and grateful, and prosocial and leads to an increased general health does seem as something not to argue with. Especially bearing in mind that I am one of those considered to be in the business of creating unique and non-replicable experiences. So, experience on!



Just a few weeks ago I attended MATTER, a two-day festival, or un-conference as they call it, which is part of the five-day festival called Pure which brings together the world’s best suppliers, buyers and press in high-end experiential travel. Festival took place in Marrakech, Morocco.

Among the many interesting speakers, one managed to attract greatest attention. His name is Andy Lark, comes from New Zealand, and is well known marketing specialist who is currently CMO of Foxtel, an Australian pay television company.

Andy delivered two great riveting presentations, one scheduled and one organized ad hoc due to the great demand. Andy offered great many insights, many of which go against the traditional credos of marketing, but one question he posed really stuck with me. He asked a simplest possible question: “What is your famous”. He didn’t ask what our cutting edge is, what our competitive advantage is, or any of those marketing syntagma that have been touted around for decades now. No, just simply, what is our famous. What are we famous for?

Since then I have started asking people that work in the travel and tourism industry that very same question. What is Dalmatia, and Croatia famous for? And almost consensually everybody falls back to the same first answer – nature. Sunny islands, pristine national parks, secluded bays, pebbled beaches or hidden coves. Some mention history, some football, but almost everybody thinks that we are famous for the one thing that we are not responsible for creating, just perhaps destroying, nature! Certainly, that is telling of something. If nothing else it is telling of the fragility of our tourism, not to say lack of structure and strategy and well built and layered complex structure that would be somewhat immune to the outside changes, trends and disruptions.


Today, I received the latest issues of Condé Nast Traveller, a luxury travel magazine that has been shaping the world of high-end travel and tourism for over two decades now. This issue is Europe Special Issue and among many other highly regarded European destinations they also cover Istria. A beautiful ten-page piece on Istria starts with the following sentence: “Croatia’s long been a destination for bay-hugging, forest-snuffling, island-grazing adventure. But until recently it’s never had the hotels nor the food to match”. It would seem that the journalists and writers of Condé Nast agree with the hypothesis that we are famous for the natural splendors, and while things are starting to change slowly, we have neither hotels nor food to match. This is certainly telling of the image we project to the world and that is prevalent among high end travelers.

This is not a negative article, and is not intended to prove or disprove anything, it is just what it is, an observation supported by discussion, introspection and good intentions, recognizing the factual truths and overriding narratives. And one with the conclusion that we need to start building our new famous because the one that we have right now is both very finite and not really that famous in the larger contexts.



In 2016, around 1.23 billion tourists travelled around the world, at least according to the World Tourism Organisation. It claims that was 4 percent more than in the year before. According to the first estimates, 2017 brought an even higher growth, 7 percent. In any case, tourism represents about 10 percent of the global economy, and one-tenth of all the world’s workers are employed by the tourism industry. In 2017, Croatia was visited by about 17 million tourists, who left about 10.5 billion euro in the country. The Croatian economy is undoubtedly too much tourism-independent, since the tourism revenues make up almost 20 percent of the gross domestic product, while up to 65 percent of the annual VAT is collected during the tourist season, which makes the indirect impact of tourism on GDP likely to be well over 20 percent.


Most of this information does not mean much to most people. Indeed, large figures have a counter-intuitive effect on most people. However, what most people can feel very intuitively and which they can empirically prove to themselves thanks to their personal experience are dynamic and often dramatic changes in their living environment created by tourism. From the changes in a way the environment is used to the arrival of people from lesser-known cultures and parts of the world, to lifestyle changes which become dominantly marked by seasonality, a small world in which most of the local population experiences or survives changes. A change, especially a sudden change, as in almost all other segments of society, inevitably creates polarization.


Our society has started to split or has already been split on those who advocate tourism and those who advocate a kind of purism in life. The first group, aware of the developmental and financial opportunities offered by tourism, often and without reflection advocates uncontrolled development in order to achieve the best possible results. The second group, in its efforts to limit the influence of tourism on their own lifestyles, advocates for the continuation of or even a return to an arbitrary time in the past when life allegedly followed an imaginary, romantic film script.


The most interesting thing is that, as with any polarization which soon begins to turn into a kind of ideology, after a passage of time and deeper entrenchment of groups in their respective trenches, the noise created by both can be heard only in the trenches from which it emanates, and its only purpose is to maintain “combat readiness” in the trenches. But, unfortunately, the noise can also be heard by those of us who are trying to look at the world and the changes in the world from different perspectives and who are trying to walk on a narrow strip above the trenches. While the first group produces its noise with construction machinery and creates irreversible changes in the environment and landscapes, the second group is whining about the times past in newspaper columns, social networking posts, and sometimes with a call to the police in a hope that that will be enough to deal with polluters and those who disturb public order and peace in urban cores. That is followed by the well-known claim that they were there before tourism, forgetting that calls for authenticity are just a form of chauvinism.


The truth, as some claim, is not in the middle. The truth is entirely independent of these perspectives, and we might say it is above these polarization. And the truth is factual and complex, and at the same time contextual and multidimensional. It is true that we live in a world where more and more people are living better and better, and more and more people will want to travel. It is true that there is no reason why the growth trends in tourism should not continue in the coming years and decades when more and more people will travel. It is true that modern means of travelling have enabled people to cover vast geographical distances in short periods of time.


It is true that there are efforts to create even faster and safer ways of transporting people. It is true that the internet and especially the social media have brought people closer to the culture of other societies, making them more desirable to see, visit and experience. It is also true that the increase in travel has caused a rise in greenhouse gas emissions, and now for the first time we also talk about the carbon footprint of tourism. It is true that tourism brings huge sums of money and that tourism has an enormous multiplier effect, but also that tourism is a quite volatile branch of the economy and is therefore undesirable to be the dominant industry. In the end, it is true that life changes in places where tourism becomes the primary industry. It is also true that life is changing regardless of tourism, but that the impact of tourism on these changes is possibly quite negligible in relation to the changes that have been brought or will be brought by technological innovations or major industrial revolutions.


There is metaphorical, but also factual truth in Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that travel is a language of peace, just like there is factual truth in the words of contemporary American novelist Don DeLillo, who says that tourism is a march of stupidity. By travelling, people become more aware of their place in the world and become more tolerant and considerate, and demonstrate greater respect for the unknown. These claims are confirmed by scientific research which shows that people who travel are more creative, open, modest and that travelling particularly increases cognitive flexibility. On the other hand, we have surveys that show that those who travel a lot, in addition to breaking down mental barriers, which is necessary to adapt to new patterns of social interaction and new norms, also partially break down their own moral barriers and behave in a way how they would never act in their own part of the world.


My 20 years of experience of working in tourism confirm the claim that the entire mechanisms of host countries are aimed at travellers who are expected to behave as if they were not too smart, as if they did not know how to talk to people, as if they did not understand what is money, what time it was, what to eat or how to eat. Everything is done according to the “for dummies” model. While that can be somewhat expected, since people visit unfamiliar destinations, we still do not know what kind of effect this “for dummies” adaptation has on the population of the host country…


Let us return to Croatia for a moment. It is true that Croatia is a naturally beautiful country, it is true that, although it is located in the Mediterranean and in the heart of Europe, it is still unexplored and even unknown for most of those over a billion travellers and tourists. It is true that today Croatia is perceived as a safe country and that, with all these other factors, it is very desirable for people who want to travel, or speak in the language of peace, and at the same time suspend part of their intellectual abilities and behave a little bit more irresponsibly.


At the end of the day, there will be more and more tourists and those who manage the construction machinery will continue to build new tourist capacities and use natural resources in new ways, sometimes to the satisfaction of the majority, but mostly to the disgust of the puritan minority. Life will undoubtedly change, as it has always changed, though the speed of change today is perhaps higher than before. Some will perceive this change as desirable, some will not, but that does not make us any different from any other social group today or in the past.


What remains is for us to embrace this change and steer it towards the only viable path, the way of excellence. With excellence, we can fight against stupidity, against mediocrity, against the unsustainable use of natural resources, as well as against unselected and worn images of the past. The only viable path is the path of excellence and for it, I believe, it is still not too late! And, more on excellence some other time…


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‘Što starije to bolje’ i ‘stari kao vino’ često su spominjane i ponavljane izreke o vinima. Međutim, ono što je zanimljivo i bitno odmah napomenuti jest da koliko su česte ove izreke, toliko su i netočne, barem za najveći dio vina. Naime, procjenjuje se da je čak 98 posto svog vina namijenjeno za neposredno ili skoro uživanje. Iako je zakonskim propisima vino izuzeto od obveznog označavanja datuma minimalne trajnosti, odnosno roka trajanja, u ovim vinima bi trebalo uživati unutar prve dvije do tri godine od godine naznačene berbe. Vodeći se ovom logikom, pri kupnji vina uglavnom bismo se trebali odlučiti za što recentnije berbe. Nakon ovakvog uvoda postavlja se logično pitanje što je s onih preostalih dva posto vina. Radi boljeg razumijevanja o kolikoj se količini vina radi nije loše napomenuti da se svjetska proizvodnja vina u 2016. godini procjenjuje na 259 milijuna hektolitara.

Treba li u vinima s potencijalom starenja, uživati odmah po buteljiranju, odnosno kupnji, ili je ta vina neophodno odležavati? Ne znači da je neophodno odležavati vina koja imaju potencijal za dugo odležavanje i starenje. U njima se može uživati i odmah po pribavljanju, iako svoj puni potencijal uglavnom pokažu nakon određenog razdoblja pravilnog skladištenja, odnosno odležavanja i sazrijevanja vina. No, ne treba tražiti ni savršeni trenutak za otvaranje jedne ili više takvih butelja. Taj trenutak ne određuje pozicija na krivulji sazrijevanja vina, već uglavnom splet socijalnih ili emotivnih pretpostavki koje na kraju utječu na naš konačni dojam i sud o nekom vinu.


Drugo bitno pitanje koje se postavlja tiče se vrijednosti spomenutih vina. Raste li vrijednost vina odležavanjem i predstavljaju li ta vina dobru investiciju? Da, moglo bi se reći da sva vina koja imaju dobar potencijal starenja dobivaju na vrijednosti odležavanjem i ne, sva ova vina ne predstavljaju dobru investiciju. Kontradiktorno? Vjerujem da ne. Pravilnim skladištenjem vina i odležavanjem, vino dobiva na vrijednosti samom vlasniku koji će uživati u tom vinu pune zrelosti kada na tržištu bude manje dostupno i samim time bude teže dobavljivo, a onda moguće i skuplje. Zašto to onda nije neophodno i dobra investicija? Ako uložite, primjerice, 10.000 eura u jedno takvo vino nemate nikakvih garancija da ćete ga moći prodati za desetak godina za zadovoljavajući iznos. Uživat ćete u njemu svakako, ali da biste ga prodali po cijeni koja će opravdati troškove nabave, skladištenja, čuvanja, određenih oštećenja, pa i troška onih butelja koje ćete probavati tijekom godina kako biste se uvjerili da proces odležavanja protječe u skladu s očekivanjima i, povrh svega, dobiti povrat investicije od oko 5 do 15 posto godišnje moraju se ostvariti još neke pretpostavke koje nisu isključivo vezane samo za tekućinu u staklenki.


Ovdje veću ulogu od te vinske sadržine čini etiketa, odnosno natpis proizvođača na etiketi, kao i regija iz koje vino dolazi. Procjenjuje se da 75% cjelokupnog tržišta vina kojim se trguje za potrebe investiranja čine klasificirana vina iz francuskog Bordeauxa. Tako vina iz prvog razreda znamenite klasifikacije vina Bordeauxa iz 1855. godine (Château Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Latour, Haut-Brion) desetljećima donose stabilan povrat investicije.


Kada govorimo o konkretnim iznosima, možemo za primjer uzeti Château Mouton Rothschild. Za 12 butelja iz veoma uspješne 2000. berbe sada treba izdvojiti oko 12.000 funti, što iznosi oko 1.200 eura po butelji. Nakon puštanja u prodaju, cijena tih 12 butelja bila je 2.000 funti, a tijekom godina njihova je cijena rasla relativno stabilno. Također, top-vina Burgundije i doline Rone, kao i top-šampanjci zaokružuju prvu ligu vina za ozbiljno investiranje. Stabilno ulaganje predstavljaju i neka talijanska vina, naročito takozvani supertoskanci kao što su Sassicaia, Tignanello i Ornellaia. U ovu kategoriju spadaju još i neka kultna kalifornijska vina, naročito od sorte cabernet sauvignon. Savjetnici za investicije u vina savjetuju da se ovakva vina kupuju u paketima od tri, šest, devet ili dvanaest butelja, kao i da minimalno razdoblje odležavanja prije prodaje bude pet godina. Vina koja su kupljena s ovom namjerom najčešće i ne stignu do investitora, već budu čuvana u trošarinskim, carinskim skladištima spremna za distribuiranje širom svijeta, s obzirom da se kupci za ovakva vina nalaze na svim svjetskim meridijanima. U tom trenutku vino postaje kao i bilo koja druga investicija, dionice neke tvrtke ili nekretnine. Kao i kod ovih investicija ključan je tajming, ali naravno i značajnija financijska sredstva na raspolaganju. Kako god gledali, vino je odlična investicija. Bilo kao božanski nektar za neposredno uživanje, za odležavanje do pravog trenutka ili kao ozbiljna investicija. Odluka je na vama. Svakako, odgovorno uživajte u vinu pa će se poslovica s početka teksta moći prikladno primijeniti i na vas.


‘The older the better’ and ‘ages like wine’ are sayings about wine that we often hear. However, it is interesting and important to note that these saying are as inaccurate as they are frequent, for most wines at least. It is estimated that up to 98 percent of wine is intended to be consumed immediately after opening or soon after. Although wine is exempt by the law from mandatory labeling of the date of minimum durability, i.e. expiration date, these wines should be enjoyed within the first two or three years from the indicated vintage. With this in mind, when you buy wine, you should generally opt for a wine of a more recent vintage. The logical question that follows this introduction would be: what happens to the remaining two per cent? In order to better understand just how big the amount we are talking about is, let us mention that the wine produced in 2016 is estimated at 259 million hectolitres.


Should they be enjoyed immediately after bottling, i.e. buying, or should they also be laid down in a cellar to mature? It is not always necessary to lay down wines with a good aging potential. They can be enjoyed immediately after you have bought them, although their full potential mainly shows after a period of proper storage, i.e. aging and maturing of wine. On the other hand, there is no need to wait for a perfect moment to open one or more of these bottles. The perfect moment is not determined by the position on the wine maturing curve, but mostly by a series of social or emotional premises that ultimately affect our final impression and judgment of a wine.


Another important question is connected to the value of the aforementioned wines. Does the value of wines grow when they age and is investing in these wines a good idea? Yes, you could say that the value of all wines with a good aging potential does grow over time and no, not all of these wines are worth investing in. Contradictory? I do not think so. Proper storage and aging of a wine increases the wine’s value for the owner, who will enjoy this fully mature wine when it is less available on the market and thus more difficult to obtain, and possibly more expensive. Why is it not necessarily a good investment then? If you invest, for example, 10,000 euros in one such wine, there is no guarantee that in ten years you will be able to sell it at a satisfactory price. You will, of course, enjoy it, but to sell it at a price that will cover the cost of purchase, storage, specific damages, including the cost of those bottles that will be opened over the years to ensure that the aging process is in line with your expectations and, above all, to get the return on investment of about 5 to 15 percent per year, some additional assumptions have to be made; assumptions not connected to the bottled wine.


A greater role than the wine itself is played by the label on the bottle and the region the wine comes from. Bordeaux Grand Cru Classés account for the largest part of the investment-grade market for fine wine at around 75 per cent. For instance, first growth wines from Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855 (Château Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Latour, HautBrion) have provided sound returns for decades. For specific price details, we can take a look at Château Mouton Rothschild, for example. 12 bottles of the very successful 2000 Vintage now cost approximately £ 12,000; i.e. 1,200 euros per bottle. When they first became available, these 12 bottles cost £ 2,000, indicating a relatively stable price increase over time. The top Burgundies and Rhone wines, as well as wines from Champagne, have performed well when it comes to investment. The so called Super Tuscan wines from Italy, such as Sassicaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia, have performed very steadily in recent years. Similarly, some of the cult Californian wines, especially Cabernet Sauvignons, also belong in this category. Wine investments advisers suggest that such wines should be purchased in cases of three, six, nine or twelve bottles and they should be laid down in a cellar for a minimum of five years. Wines that are purchased with this intention usually do not even make it to the investor but are stored in government licensed bonded warehouses, ready to be distributed around the globe, since buyers can be found in all parts of the world. At this point the wine becomes like any other investment – company shares or real estate. Similar to the aforementioned investments, timing is crucial, as well as considerable financial resources that should be at your disposal. Whichever way you look at it, wine is an excellent investment – as divine nectar to be enjoyed right away, to be stored until the time is right, or as a serious investment. It is up to you to decide. One thing is for certain – if you enjoy your wine responsibly, the saying from the beginning of this text will apply to you as well.



Ideja svakog sljubljivanja je pronalaženje harmonije među komponentama, pa tako i kod vina i cigara vrijedi pravilo sparivanja po kompleksnosti i intenzitetu.


iz magazina Yachts, proljeće 2016.



Vino je zanimljiva i nepresušna tema. Teško je utvrditi što je doprinijelo takvom statusu koje vino uživa danas u svijetu. Naročito uzevši u obzir da nakon ispijene čaše ili butelje vina ostaje samo sjećanje na to iskustvo. Upravo je to iskustvo uživanja u vinu inspiririralo mnoge slikare, pisce, pjesnike i filozofe da u svoja djela ugrade vino i najvjerojatnije doprinesu stvaranju gotovo pa božanskog statusa vina, koje baš i ne odgovara osnovnom opisu vina kao jednostavnog proizvoda – fermentiranog soka od grožđa.


Međutim, s druge strane, ugostitelji koji i sami uživaju u vinu često igraju i ključnu ulogu u vođenju gosta kroz taj vinski ugođaj. Upravo zbog toga, ne razmišljaju o vinu kao samostalnom užitku, već kao integralnom i neraskidivom dijelu uživanja u jednom cjelokupnom gastronomskom, pa ako hoćete i hedonističkom ugođaju. Jedna od tema o kojoj se puno razmišlja je sparivanje ili sljubljivanje vina i hrane. Ima tu mnogo pravila, mitova, pretjerivanja što se može i što se ne može, ali neki osnovni postulati o uparivanju istinski mogu unaprijediti uživanje u vinu kroz hranu ili u hrani kroz vino.


Slična je situacija i s uparivanjem vina i cigara. Uživanje u cigari predstavlja jedno od istinskih hedonističkih ugođaja i stoga je logično za očekivati da, kada se sljube dva takva elementa, imamo vrhunsko uparivanje. Bez želje da pretenciozno postavljam pravila što se može, treba ili mora po pitanju tog sljubljivanja, podijelit ću s vama kombinacije za koje smatram da su se pokazale uspješnima. Zanimljivo, ali kada govorimo o bilo kakvom sljubljivanju, gotovo uvijek počinjemo sa šampanjcima, iako kada su cigare u pitanju, prvo na pamet pada sljubljivanje s crvenim vinima. Isti je slučaj i kada tražimo tekućeg partnera za cigaru. Iako je svačija paleta okusa specifična i svatko treba pronaći svoje savršeno uparivanje, kako kod hrane, tako i kod cigara, ovo je uparivanje skoro nepogrešivo. Takvo sljubljivanje bi trebalo pokazati ono najbolje i od jedne i od druge komponente. Upravo zbog toga, postoje protivnici sljubljivanja šampanjaca i cigara smatrajući da cigare svojim snažnim mirisom i okusom koji ostavljaju u ustima smanjuju uživanje u šampanjcu.


Međutim, moja su iskustva drugačija. Namjerno, ovdje ne pišem o pjenušcima, iako svakako postoji puno pjenušaca koji se mogu nositi s cigarama, već isključivo o šampanjcim, koji zbog svoje kompleksnosti i visokih kiselina čine uživanje u cigarama iznimnim iskustvom. Kao i kod drugih uparivanja, vrijedi pravilo uparivanja po kompleksnosti i intenzitetu. Tako, laganije cigare, blažih aroma i manjih formata možemo upariti s non vintage šampanjcima, naročito što takvi šampanjci, pored chardonnayja u sebi sadrže i crni pinot i pinot meunier koji daju vinu strukturu i intenzitet da se nosi s cigarom. Ovo bi mogao biti i dobar prijedlog za aperitiv, odnosno uparivanje cigara i vina prije večere. Intenzivnije cigare, jačih aroma i često većeg formata kojima dominiraju začinske note traže i ozbiljnije šampanjce pa se tako preporučuju uparivanja s vintage šampanjcima ili cuvée prestige šampanjcima koji su tijekom starenja razvili tercijarne note i svojom kompleksnošću se mogu nositi s takvim cigarama. Jedno povijesno uparivanje bi bilo uparivanje dva Churchilla, šampanjca Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill i cigare Davidoff Winston Churchill. Svakako uvijek posegnite za suhim šampanjcima, oznaka Brut Nature (može pisati i zero dosage) kao i Extra Brut i Brut.


Nakon šampanjaca, najzanimljiviji tip vina za sljubljivanje s cigarama su takozvana oranžna ili narančasta vina. Ova vina se rade od bijelih sorti i nastaju dugim maceracijama u kojima sok grožđa ostaje u kontaktu duže razdoblje, nekada i mjesecima, s kožicom i sjemenkom bobice, tijekom čega dolazi do intenzivne ekstrakcije boje, ali i okusa i voćnih tanina. Upravo ti tanini, karakteristični za crvena vina, daju intenzitet narančastim vinima, ali i jednu blagu dozu gorčine, dok na nosu uglavnom dominiraju intenzivni mirisi suhog žutog voća, orašastih plodova, kao i drvene note kod vina koja su odležavala u drvenim bačvama. Uvijek se radi o suhim vinima. Upravo taj aromatski profil koji je čest i kod cigara, naročito orašasti plodovi i drvene note, kao i intenzitet okusa i blaga gorčina i punoća koja je istovremeno podržana kiselinama karakterističnim za bijela vina čine ova vina odličnim partnerima za sljubljivanje s cigarama. Naročito to vrijedi za cigare kojima ne dominiraju previše paprene note već kremastije i slađe. Za ovakva vina ne morate ići predaleko jer su pojedini hrvatski vinari među najpriznatijim proizvođačima oranžnih vina u svijetu. Vinarija Roxanich iz Istre i njihova Milva Chardonnay ili Antica Malvazija među prvima padaju na pamet za uparivanje s jednom ozbiljnom, kompleksnom, ali izbalansiranom cigarom kao što je, na primjer, Padron 1964 Anniversary Series. Eto jednog konkretnog prijedloga koji ne bi ni jednog istinskog ljubitelja ostavio ravnodušnim. 


Iako zauzimaju vrlo malo mjesta na vinskim kartama domaćih restorana ili policama vinoteka, neka od desertnih hrvatskih vina osvajaju najveće regionalne i svjetske vinske nagrade.


iz magazina Yachts, ljeto 2015.


Slatka, poluslatka, desertna, predikatna, likerska vina, pa čak i prošeci, sve su različiti termini od kojih neke možemo istovremeno koristiti za jedno isto vino, dok druga znače posve nešto različito. Ovim terminima se nerijetko barata bez pravog razumijevanja njihova značenja, a gosti nisu uvijek sigurni što naručuju i što će dobiti. Treba naglasiti da određene oznake ne znače isto kod nas i u inozemstvu, tako da to može stvoriti dodatne nejasnoće. Stoga, krenimo redom.


Kada kažemo vino, obično mislimo na mirna i pjenušava vina bez ikakvih intervencija, odnosno dodataka poput šećera, alkohola, aromatizirajućih trava i slično. Upravo ova kategorija se smatra vinima u užem smislu riječi i pored mirnih i pjenušavih vina obuhvaća još biser vina i gazirana vina, ali ona nisu toliko bitna za ovu priču. Podjela vina koju svi znaju je po boji, i to na bijela, rose i crvena vina.


Ono što je malo teže zapamtiti jest podjela vina po ostatku neprevrelog šećera te tako i mirna i pjenušava vina dijelimo na suha, polusuha, poluslatka i slatka. Za pjenušava vina postoji i kategorija vrlo suha. Poluslatka vina imaju od 12 do 50 grama neprevrelog šećera po litri, dok slatka vina imaju preko 50 grama. Gornja granica neprevrelog šećera nije definirana. Slatkoću u vinu osjećamo u ustima i nikako je ne možemo namirisati iako određene arome mogu asocirati na slatkoću u vinu. Tako će crvena slatka vina uglavnom mirisati na sušene smokve, grožđice i datulje ili u nekim varijantama na čokoladu, džemove i kandirano voće. Kod bijelih slatkih vina uglavnom se vrtimo oko aroma meda, sušenih marelica, sušenih smokava ili zlatnih grožđica. Kod poluslatkih bijelih vina često dominiraju arome tropskog voća, ukuhanog voća, slatkog limuna ili određenih cvjetnih nota.


Vrlo često će tako konzumenti, kada prepoznaju ovakav ili sličan aromatski profil kod suhih vina, za njih reći da su slatkasta, iako možda nemaju niti malo neprevrelog šećera. Uglavnom se radi o aromatskim sortama poput muškata, rizlinga ili traminaca. Kod percepcije slatkoće vina u ustima značajnu ulogu igraju i kiseline u vinu. One balansiraju slatkoću tako da se može dogoditi da, i pored toga što vino ima visoku razinu neprevrelog šećera, mi ne doživimo vino kao iznimno slatko jer su ga kiseline zamaskirale i prevarile naša osjetila i percepciju slatkoće.


Pored vina u užem smislu riječi postoji i kategorija specijalnih vina. Iz te kategorije ćemo spomenuti desertna i likerska vina. Desertna vina, po hrvatskom zakonu, ona su koja imaju najmanje 15% alkohola i koja su dobivena posebnim načinom prerade prezrelog grožđa (prosušivanje na suncu, sušenje u hladu), vina dobivena posebnim doradama vinskog mošta (ukuhavanje, odnosno ugušćivanje) ili samog vina (dodavanje šećera). U kategoriju desertnih vina spada prošek koji se smatra desertnim vinom iz regije primorska Hrvatska. Prošek se u Dalmaciji radio i od bijelih i od crnih sorata, od plavca malog i babića do maraštine, prča, kuća, pošipa, vugave i malvasije dubrovačke. Prošek je bolna tema mnogih dalmatinskih vinara i konzumenata uglavnom zbog borbe za zadržavanje imena, ali i zbog nedorečenosti, odnosno nedovoljno preciznih pravila u proizvodnji. Najbolji reprezenti prošeka na tržištu su prošek Hektorović kojeg proizvodi bard dalmatinskog vinarstva Andro Tomić i prošek vinarije Stina s Brača. Dodatna konfuzija oko desertnih vina nastaje kada uzmemo u obzir da u engleskom jeziku desertno vino uglavnom označava bilo koje slatko vino, uključujući i mirna slatka vina, slatka vina dobivena doradama grožđa, mošta ili vina, ali i neka slatka likerska vina.


Likerska vina, još poznata i kao fortificirana vina, specijalna su vina koja su nastala vrenjem mošta uz dodatak alkoholiziranog mošta ili vinskog alkohola. Alkoholi moraju biti između 15 i 22%. Likerska vina su uglavnom slatka, ali mogu biti i suha. Slatka vina predstavljaju jedan od najzanimljivijih i najraznovrsnijih segmenata svijeta vina i dok na tržištu, ali i u knjigama i zakonima, postoji puno nedosljednosti u opisu i klasificiranju ovih vina, to vas ne bi trebalo zaustaviti u potrazi za omiljenim slatkim vinom i njegovom uparivanju s različitim jelima.