UPDATE: Alas, The Art of Wine has closed. We recommend PARADOX, just behind the Bellevue Hotel at the end of Split’s waterfront Riva. Lovely open air rooftop, highly professional staff, superlative wine and cheese enjoyed in flights or by the glass.
Earlier this year, I took a small group of friends to experience Split’s first real wine tasting “club” just a few minutes walk from the Green Market at The Art of Wine, which is also known to locals as Klub Gurmana i Hedonista– a real labor of love that is a terrific addition to Split’s improving gastronomy scene.
The interior space is beautifully fitted out in custom wrought iron wall and free-standing displays to house a stunning collection of wine from all over the country.
Owner Igor Beros, a treasure-trove of information about Croatian wines, wineries, wime makers, lore and culture; not only does wine tasting, but sells wine by the bottle to locals, tourists and restauranteurs alike.
Our group, Goran Zekan, the suave owner of Konoba Nevera, a top-rated restaurant just above Bacvice Beach here; Barbara Markovic, who owns Dalmagic, a local DMC agency, Josip Culic, the equally suave manager of the wonderful Hotel Luxe, and Natasha Aronson, my fabulous wife, spent two plus hours enjoying four different wines from the four different regions of Croatia and nibbling on terrific delicacies.
The first two wines were from Istria and Slovenia, both delicate whites with wonderful noses and smooth finish. Accompanying these was a fine plate of marinated anchovies (which Igor told us were world-respected because of their special Omega properties due to the unique salinity and temperature of the Adriatic) with olive oil from Primosten.Later, with the reds, we had special olives grown on Hvar (brought there from Spain) just for eating and spectacular goats cheese. But the real surprise was octopus on skewers with three different kinds of peppers–from sweet to mild to hot. Oh yes, the prsut stuffed with figs was also wonderful!
I’ve always preferred whites to reds, and living here I’m constantly surprised by the high quality of white wine in Croatia. Igor says its due to the temperature, wind, growing season and all sorts of other stuff–and his Malvasia from Istria was all the proof I needed!
Sitting around a table with glistening stemware and wonderful food; laughing and listening to wine stories made for a fine evening. Igor offers his program nightly at 7 for up to 20 people or more (there’s even an outside courtyard than can be used for larger groups). And he can also be contacted to offer it at special hours for special groups.