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Debit grapes

Debit is a yellow-gold grape variety grown alongside the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. As its colour suggests, the grape gives off rather herbal characteristics, idyllic of green and yellow based varieties.

Being of a very local origin, its consumption has till now remained in the confinements of Croatia although it is fast gaining popularity among the wine community because of its intense aromas and very herby flavours that make it very unique in the Croatian wine industry.

The grape produces some good quality Croatian wines, if not the best and is a very sought after variety in Croatia.

Wine grape varieties

Genetically related to Trebbiano, as some DNA analysts suggest, the grape lacks proper historical records probably because of Croatia’s volatile history that might have resulted in a lot of destruction of documents and writings.

This is in respect to the fact that Croatian wine industry is very ancient, as evidences suggest it being older than Roman winemaking.

History of Debit

The grape’s name might seem very out of place for a quite a lot, however, the name derives itself from the Napoleonic era.

How old Debit is and where exactly it originated remains a completely unknown thing. The history of Croatian winemaking itself remains vague and mysterious.

With respect to Croatia’s dynamic history, Debit’s past becomes very difficult to trace. Croats historically developed wines earlier than even the Romans came although the latter catalysed Croatian wine industry in those times through industriousness and rigour, very typical of Roman values of those times.

The Dalmatian Coast (that was once Illyria) kept producing wines till the middle ages when the Ottomans marched in.

Croatia historically was never really a very serious participant in European politics as it still remains, and being a small nation, its history of winemaking remains pretty much unknown.

The Debit grape has been existing here since olden times and it’s difficult to pinpoint if it came from outside. Some have suggested it was an indigenous variety.

In addition to vague records, the Ottomans’ anti-alcohol policy further added to the distress caused on Croatian winemakers as more and more of the wineries were sealed shut by the sultan.

Croatia’s past itself has been a complex maze of events starting from their conflict with the Ottomans as they marched well into central Europe and arriving at the gates of Vienna when at their peak.

However, Ottoman rule would soon get divided as the Habsburg forced the Ottomans to withdraw, leaving some parts of Croatia under Austrian lands.

Sadly, since a lot of winemakers from Croatia had already migrated to neighbouring countries, winemaking here in Croatia never really rose up again as it used to be at least during Roman times.

Next, Napoleon’s regime caused distress among Croatian winemakers as he imposed taxes on the wine industry.

Wines with Debit grapes

The ‘Debit’ as we know, has been named because ‘Napoleon used to take a debit from the people’.

Since the French anyway had plenty of fish to pay for the taxes, Croats on the other hand chose to pay taxes through wine.

Before this vent, nobody really knows what it was known then, however, the grape and the wine produced from it have been named Debit.

Tastes and flavours

Debit wines have immense aromas to them. Most wine smell of croutons, pinesap and the dry forest floor.

A photo posted by Mais viver (@mais_viver) on

On the tongue, it has that typical acidic, strong flavoured wine with lots of herbal notes.

Chalky mineral profile mixed with some unripe kiwifruit and some hints of vanilla and buttery aspects cover the whole wine.

The flavours that it exhibits have earned its name besides similar, more popular grape varieties like Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Gruner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc.

This could also explain the reason of its gaining popularity from obscurity.

Food pairing

Debit wines seem to be best produced by a winemaker named Alan Bibich.

He and his wife work tirelessly to produce Debit wines that have earned a lot of name in Croatia and outside.

Because of the grape’s strong herbal flavours, the wine should be enjoyed young and works best with things that are a bit sweet to the mouth.

Red onions, Garlic bread are some fine examples one could pair with Debit.

A photo posted by Rozylyn (@rozylyn) on

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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