Ilok, Croatia

It’s at the very northeast corner of Croatia. The church of St. John of Capistrano is high on a ridge overlooking the Danube. He was a warrior priest who defeated the Ottomans. It’s the same guy the city in California is named for. Evidently, not only was he a terrific general, he also performed lots of miracles on the side. Back then Ilok was part of Hungary. He’s buried in the church. By the altar there is a glass casket with a shred of his garment.

The Danube is to the left of the fortifications. There is a good view from the church.

The green water in the foreground is a swampy area. The river is in the background. If you turned around from the view in the church photo, you would see a palace and behind that is a wine cellar.

I’m not kidding when I tell you that for €5 I bought what may very well be the best red wine that I have ever tasted. The label is Capistrano. They drink 95% of the wine they make, so Croatian wine is very hard to find outside of the country. The guide had never heard of San Juan Capistrano in California. Nor, for that matter, When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano. I hummed a few bars for him. They say that Croatia is incredibly beautiful. I’d like to go back and see more of it and drink another bottle of that wine.

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2 Responses to Ilok, Croatia

  1. Chris M says:

    You have discovered the secret of continental European wines. Buy local, whether in an outdoor market, store or the table wine at a cafe or bar. You can’t go wrong because everyone drinks it that way, unlike here in America where wine is for snobs.

    It is be inexpensive there. It’s the taxes, dear boy. Namely hidden US federal ones, plus duties on imports if it is to be sold here. So that 5 buck bottle there becomes ten of fifteen here.

    There is the reason why we have bootleggers.

    Anyway, eastern European wines don’t make it here. But you can do fine with French, Spanish, Italian and other countries in the ten buck range. I like to amaze friends who think they have to pay $50 and still get a mediocre wine from the West Coast.

    Email or call me if you need recommendations. I drink wine with dinner and buy by the case usually online, as local stores have jacked their prices due to yoo-no-what.

    • Bud Grace says:

      I was surprised at the quality of Balkan wines. I tried online, and although Croatian wines are listed, they’re not available. I’t’s amazing, $6 for absolutely delicious wines. In Northern Virginia at the wineries, they charge $35 foycat pee.

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