Drinking in Rovinj,Croatia – Piassa Granda wine bar
There aren’t many wine bars in Croatia and to find one in the ancient city of Rovinj, you have to be lucky. Sure there are lots of cocktail bars lining the cliffs along the seaside but a proper wine bar with a full list of some of the best wines that Croatia has to offer as well as a few foreign ones for the locals is well neigh impossible to find. That is, unless you know of Piassa Granda, a cool little bar tucked in amongst the winding streets of old Rovijn.
Piassa Granda is at the end of side street in the old city of Rovinj and may take a little searching to find but once you do, it’s a great little bar to hang out in. One of the first and probably only fully dedicated wine bars of Croatia, Helena and her sister Dragana run the joint and are extremely welcoming as well as speaking very good English which is a handy when you’re trying to navigate their extensive wine list. They have over 250 wines of the region on their list, mainly focusing on the native varietals with the major and best producers on the list. They also helpfully line the walls of the bar with their wines so you can just pick one off the shelf if it catches your fancy.
Along with an extensive selection of Istrian wines, they also feature local produce. We had a generous portion of cheeses and meats to go along with the wines. We wanted to try local so Helena brought us a red and a white. The white was from the producer Franko Radovan, a well regarded winemaker, his 2009 malvazijalstarska ( Croatian for malvasia) was a delight. Fresh and full of tropical fruit on the nose and palate with a nice weighty feel to it, a great wine to while away the afternoon. His labels are famous as well, having all the animal symbols of Croatia playfully scattered about the front of the bottle.
We finished that one off fairly quickly and prepared for the red. Helena brought us a wine from of the most famous producers of Istria, a Roxanich red. Mladen Rozanic spent years travelling around various wine regions learning all he could before picking what he felt was the best land in Istria and planted his grapes. Mladen planted international varieties but also planted indigenous grapes. The Roxanich 2007 SuperIstrian is his version of a Super Tuscan and in a blend of 40% merlot, 40% cabernet and 20% borgonja ( some say it’s a mutation of gamay which came over with Napolean). A stonker of a wine, savoury, mineral nose with integrated oak notes and rich red and black fruit flavours. Excellent acidity on a medium bodied wine, a good match with the charcuterie, especially the boar salami that was the centrepiece of the platter.
I would have liked to have tried others but we had a dinner reservation to get to so we waved goodbye to Helena and Dragana but hopefully not for the last time, I definitely plan another trip back to Rovijn.
Piassa Granda is in the old town of Rovinj at Veli Trg 1,
phone: +385 (0)52 811 374