The “Who’s Your Daddy” series takes a very brief look at the parentage of grapes, in order to get a better understanding of where particular varietals come from and how they are genetically related to one another. So far, we’ve covered: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gamay, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Pinotage, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Torrentés riojano. Feel free to click on any one of the varietal names to read all about their parentage.
The subject of today’s “Who’s Your Daddy” post is the native Croatian grape, Pošip bijeli (usually simply refered to as Pošip).
Pošip bijeli is grown almost exclusively on the Dalmatian coast as well as the Croatian island of Korčula and Otok Hvar. The area is characterized as having a mild Mediterranean climate, with average temperatures in January of 9.8oC (49.6oF) and in July of 26.9oC (80.4oF). Geographically, the area is known for its hills, as well as the Dinaric Alps mountain range. Some of the hills have very steep slopes with very little rainfall, which provides an ideal microclimate for wine grapes. Even within this small area, there are several different microclimates which suit different grape varieties very well, one of which is the Pošip grape.
Soils in this area are primarily sandy soils, thereby creating a protection of the grape vines from the devastating Phylloxera pest; infamous for destroying vineyards all over the globe throughout history; since it cannot survive in sandy soils. This allows the use of native rootstock on all vines, rather than requiring the grafting of Phylloxera-resistant American rootstock onto the vines. In 1967, Pošip attained “protected geographical origin” status, and remains one of the few in Croatia to have such a designation.
I should note: I have never actually tasted Pošip wines, so all of the aromatic and flavor descriptions that follow are based on what others have taken away from the wine. If you feel as though I am missing some key aromatics or flavors, feel free to list them in the comments section!
Pošip wines are golden yellow in color, and sometimes with a slight green tinge. These wines are often full-bodied, and with alcohol levels on average between 13% and 14.5%. Intensity of flavors may vary from vintage to vintage, but often possess characteristics of dried apricots and figs. Pošip wines can be both blended and in varietal form. These wines are very popular among Croatian wine consumers, and are thought to be some of the best wines created in the region.
So, Who’s Your Daddy, Pošip bijeli?
In 2002, a collaboration between a group at the University of California Davis and the University of Zagreb in Croatia performed DNA fingerprinting analysis on Pošip bijeli which resulted in the positive identification of both parents of the grape vine. Both parents of Pošip bijeli are native Croatian, and it is thought that the cross was completely random in a vineyard someplace in the area.So, without further ado, I present to you the parents of the native Croatian grape, Pošip bijeli!
Pošip bijeli is a genetic cross between:
Zlatarica blatska bijeli….
There you have it! The genetic origins and a little bit of history of the Pošip bijeli grape!
I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson, and hope you find yourself tasting the wines made from these grapes in the near future!
Source for the DNA analysis: Piljac, J., Maletić, E., Kontić, J.K., Dangl, G.S., Pejić, I., Miros Ević, N., and Meredith, C.P. 2002. The parentage of Pos ip bijeli, a major white wine cultivar of Croatia. Vitis 41(2): 83-87.