Deep in the heart of Pelješac, the owners of Korta Katarina see the beautiful region for what it’s worth, and while they might be American it’s clear just how much the Andersons love and respect the wine culture here. The family has a long-running history of success and philanthropy, and in 2001 they arrived to post-war Croatia to aid in the construction of schools and infrastructure. In a classic boy-meets-girl fashion, they fell instantly in love with Croatia — the land, the people, the culture: it all gave them the warm and fuzzies — and it wasn’t long before they established their winery just outside of their new favorite home away from home, Orebić.
The Andersons were nailing it: they were producing their high-quality, signature wine in one of the most beautiful places in the world, so you would think “hey, that’s pretty good for a side hobby” but no — the Andersons wanted more. In a true stroke of brilliance, the ambitious couple put themselves into the mind of the high-end consumer. Savoring Korta Katarina’s wine is an experience in-and-of-itself, but what was there to do afterward?
As an answer to an excellent question, KK is currently renovating the old seaside Rivijera hotel overlooking the Adriatic Sea. By this time next year visitors who reside in the elegant boutique hotel can expect to be treated to fine foods, breathtaking views, seaside excursions, and of course — amazing wine! I would love to show you what this beautiful estate looks like, but because it is still under construction I was asked not to steal their thunder. All I can tell you is that it will be one of the nicest and most beautiful buildings on the entire peninsula.
Your Quick Guide to Korta Katarina
How to Get There: Their address as posted on Google is “Riviera Orebic, Bana J. Jelacica 3 20250 Orebic, Croatia” and while that information will get you close, it won’t get you into the winery itself. Off by about 1/4 mile, this Google address will have you knocking on a local resident’s front door asking for wine handouts. Not such a great idea. KK is easy enough to find if you’re looking for it, though, and as you head from Dubrovnik along the Pelješac peninsula you will see Korta Katarina’s beautifully renovated white building and elaborate gate on your left just before entering the town of Orebić.
Things to Know: Korta Katarina takes quality seriously. The owners have long been aware that Pelješac has the prime growing conditions for quality fruit, but up until the 1990’s the region lacked the technology necessary to do the expressive berries justice. The Anderson’s brought Italian stainless technology and a combination of French and American oak barrels to the coast, and they believe that it’s this trilogy of grapes, technology, and wood that attributes KK’s success.
Be Sure to Sample: Um…everything! Portions here are generous, the host’s company is warm and the wines are freaking incredible. We sampled the Pošip, rosé, and Plavac Mali, and I’m telling you, the chilled wines are outstanding — and I don’t even typically care for whites.
Our Favorites: Ok, this is a tough call. I was convinced that it was the Pošip that won my heart, so much so that I went on about it for five days before I finally caved and purchased a bottle, but after Tyler convinced me we needed (yes, needed) the rosé as well I’ve come to a complete stalemate. Do yourself a favor and just buy a bottle of both upfront, you won’t regret it.
Pošip is a very flexible wine varietal with the capability to go from as light as a rich Pinot Grigio to that of a heavy, high-alcohol, oaked Chardonnay. Structured with a solid backbone, KK’s signature white stands strong and balanced while delivering a complex and citrus nose that opens up to a beautiful floral bouquet of honeyed peach. Their rosé, on the other hand, is no girly welcome-drink either. Also with a high alcohol content, this rosé was an “incesturous blend” of the familial grapes Plavac Mali and Crljenak Kaštelanski (aka Zinfandel) that hit with bubblegum at the front and finished with with lingering notes of strawberries. Yes, I know I said this wasn’t a girly drink — and yes — I know I just described it with bubblegum and strawberries, but trust me it just isn’t light and fruity. This wine has strength of character and is the perfect fit for those hearty red wine drinkers when the temperatures reach the 90s.
Points of Pride: Many of the wines of Croatia are typically described as being in the “Old European Style” but the Andersons are after something different. They saw Pelješac as an opportunity to produce wines that appealed to international tastes, but they strived to do so in a way that created an integrated wine full of character. They humbly think they succeeded in creating a boutique and signature flavor and we wholeheartedly agree.
Future Outlook: As of 2016, KK is running at half to two-thirds of their full capacity: bottling just over 65,000 liters a year. While the current setup will be able to produce around 120,000 bottles/year, this is an individualized, boutique operation with no plans to flood the US market anytime soon. Damn.
Who to Meet: Ivo! While I’m sure that all of the 14 employees are great, I can say with certainty that Ivo is the man! Part knowledgable host, part travel expert, Ivo will happily field your many questions about how to fill your time on Pelješac. Schedule your appointment with him at firstname.lastname@example.org