Tourists flock to Skradin, a cute little town that’s best known as the launching point for ferries to Kris National Park. One of the most visited sites in Croatia, the park is famous for its cascading waterfalls, seven in total. You stroll the park via a boardwalk, soaking in the flowing water and the chirps and buzzes from wildlife (cicadas certainly make their presence known on hot summer days). And if the weather’s right, you can even go for a swim at the bottom of one of the falls.
But most people don’t realize that Skradin is a 12-minute drive from the village of Plastovo, where another valuable liquid flows. Plastovo is home to one of the country’s best wineries, and for those in the know, a visit to Bibich winery is a gourmet experience hard to find elsewhere in this Mediterranean country.
Alen Bibić’s family have lived on this land for generations. The winemaker’s grandfather taught him the craft on this land, and despite sustaining damage to their property during the Croatian War of Independence, Bibić has returned the vines, some as old as 55 years, to their deliciously productive ways.
Bibić is the first Croatian winemaker to have local wines sold in the U.S. Today, they can also be found on wine lists of fine restaurants in New York, Stockholm and Tokyo. And Anthony Bourdain fans will likely recognize Bibić from his appearance on the Croatia episode of the show No Reservations.
From April through October, the cellar is open daily for tastings, where visitors can sip their way through the Bibich portfolio, an introduction to indigenous grapes such as debit, a dry white with fruity aromas perfect for summer, and babić and plavina, easy drinking reds that smell like juicy berries with a hint of spice. During the one-hour visit, tastings can be accompanied by tapas, cooked up using local ingredients, like figs, cheese and honey, pršut – Croatia’s prosciutto – and fresh veg.
But to come here for just the wine and a snack is to miss culinary magic. Bibić’s wife, Vesna, expertly oversees the winery’s kitchen, offering guests dishes that are works of art to both the eyes and the taste buds.
Year round, Bibich winery offers a private tasting experience. A four- or seven-course food and wine pairing is offered at lunch, while a 13-course tasting menu can be enjoyed at dinner. Each dish perfectly paired with wine, of course.
Vesna’s dishes are works of art both literally and figuratively. A deconstructed olive has its pit replaced with olive oil, while a dish called Summer Garden is escargot on a bed of creamed spinach accompanied by edible flowers and a quail egg cut in half and placed to look like a mushroom.
Depending on the season, the menu might include locally raised veal, free-range duck, pheasant and other poultry, all accompanied by grown vegetables and herbs from their expansive gardens.
As if this wasn’t enough, the winery’s courtyard setting – whitewashed building, terracotta roofs, limestone groundwork, and lush greenery – is the perfect spot to indulge for a few hours. If you listen closely enough, you might hear the rush of those waterfalls just a few kilometres away.
Book tastings and meals at bibich.superbexperience.com.