We have arrived at the winery ready for a wine tasting and meal. Rina who is a very young eighty-three has decided to come too. We are shown into a room that is set up ready for us and the girl begins to tell us a bit about the local wine industry and how in the late 1800s the disease that strikes the vineyards decimates the vines overnight. This sounds very like the potato famine. Wine is the mainstay of the island and once this is gone families have no way of surviving. Men start to make their way to far flung reaches of the world. She lists some and we add New Zealand.
She adds layers to the story as we sip our way through seven different courses with wine. The food is superb. Each dish, a part of Brac history that she describes as we go through and each wine complementing the food. This dish was one of my favourites, tho I worried when I first saw it. It had a bottom layer of soft mashed potato with white truffle. Then a ‘stew’ that started with onions and garlic and then as many different seafoods as you can gather to be simmered in a stock of red wine giving it it’s dark colour and some tomato. She never mentioned mushrooms but I’m sure they were in there too. It is reduced down and when served some chilli strands added giving it a bite. It was soft and warm and explosive all at the same time.
She then takes us through the history of their vineyard and her husband’s family as they experimented, with guidance, the different techniques for growing, harvesting and wine making. They are doing well. Their Rose’ for example is pre-sold before they even harvest it each year. Their white wine has such a demand locally they can no longer send it off the island.
She explains how the island is one big rock and to plant they need to scrape off the soil, break the rock and plant with soil and fertiliser before the rock resettles and then add a layer of pebble above for easy drainage. Rina asks to taste their olive oil and in true Rina style screws up her nose and with Tanja and Zarko admonishing her, she proceeds to tell the girl their olive oil is not that good. In fact it tastes a bit like fish oil. I’m not sure if she tells her of Zarkos prowess at olive oil and the medal he has won recently but it is hilarious and the girl takes it with a smile.
We then visit the cellar and she explains how they check it daily and test. We are full and content as we make our way back to the cars. We decide to visit Povlija on the way home where’s there’s a live band and a girl with the longest legs and the shortest shorts. Dancing and general happiness abounds. We have coffee, cake and ice cream, even tho I don’t think one among us is hungry and head home just before midnight as the music is cranking up. Children are riding bikes, young ones playing and dancing. The singer announces a tug of war will take place after the break and we decide to head home.
Another great day. Rina is still bright as a button and wants to get out cakes when we return but there’s no way! We head for bed. Right now it’s 1.45am and to give you an idea of Rina’s stamina I can hear her watering the garden. She is amazing!