This summer I’ve been between Italy and Croatia, a highlight of which has been enjoying Amarone with friends in Croatia. Verona’s famous red is likely to enhance any dinner, but I particularly enjoyed consuming a bottle here, because the oak used in Amarone grows in Croatia.


It’s easily overlooked that the most prestigious wines from the territories of the former Venetian and Empire make use of Slavonian oak. The forests of Slavonia, a historic region of Eastern Croatia, grow the oak that adds character not only to Amarone but also Piemontese Barolo and numerous Tuscan wines. Slavonian oak has a less intense flavor than French or American and enables wine to live longer in the bottle as compared to other oaks.

Large Savonian oak barrels are used across Northern Italy

The region of Slavonia was ruled by Austria-Hungary and not the Venetian Empire, but ancient links between Slavonia and Venice explain why it became commonplace in Northern Italian winemaking.  Archives from the Croatian confraternity at the Scuola degli Schiavoni (worth visiting when in Venice) speak to a significant centuries-old Slavonian minority in Venice. The confraternity was a meeting point for Slavonians alongside Istrians and Dalmatians that promoted trade routes that moved Slavonian oak across the empire.

Venice’s ancient influence over coastal Croatia is apparent enough to make Amorone a fitting choice on the island of Korčula (Curzola in Venetian), where locals bost, however unlikely I find it, to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. The most fitting choice, however, is the local varietal is Plavac Mali, which is celebrated in Croatia the way Amarone is celebrated in Italy. Plavac Mali from the Pelješac Peninsula, as far from Slavonia as Venice, is alongside Amorone, undoubtedly one of the best places to discover Slavonian oak attributes.









13 thoughts on “Slavonian Oak

  1. Wonderful facts … scribbling these down … you shall have a mention I think in the back of my novel as the font on all knowledge on Italian wines! 😀

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  2. Just the person 😃

    May I pick your brain? Can you name a really high quality Tuscan Rose wine which would be served before a meal .. as an enjoyable drink with nibbles? 🌸🥂

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      1. You star … thank you.
        Yes, the vineyard in my novel is in the Lombardy region .. I need to study a map again to locate the nearest town but it basically needs to be approx an hour out of Milan and an hour or two from Lake Garda 😂 (no pressure then!)

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  3. I’m not much of a wine drinker to be honest, but I do find it fascinating how crucial each element of the wine making process is in influencing the end product.

    By the way, thanks for following my blog. I have actually moved to a new site and you’re following my old one at the moment which I no longer update. My new website is below, hope to see you there. Thanks!!!

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