Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula

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Pelješac Peninsula

P.O.P. Pošip, Oysters & Pelješac. Pop go the tastebuds! I probably would have fallen in love with Pošip (pronounced POH-ship) whether I first encountered it at a dinner party in Los Angeles or in one of the wine tasting rooms we visited on Croatia’s Pelješac Peninsula. It’s a remarkably sippable wine, thirst-quenching, citrusy, and fragrant. It goes perfectly with summer.

But it didn’t happen that way.

Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia

As it turns out the head-spinning moment of Pošip passion for me came last week as Ken and I sailed the Adriatic with friends. Boatlife is laid out at a leisurely pace. We often found ourselves lazily, blissfully, quietly sailing past islands with rolling hills and pocket-sized harbors keeping one eye on the shimmering sea and the other eye on the horizon. Both the same glorious shade of true blue.

Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia
Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia

I didn’t think I could possibly need anything else. Then came the wine, from a grape variety with which I was only vaguely familiar. Not only did this wine have historic importance as an indigenous grape to the island of Korčula (it still grows on its own rootstock since it was planted long ago in sandy soils of Smokvica village). But it’s also versatile. If you like a dry white wine, you’ll almost certainly find a Pošip to love while you’re in Croatia. The Pošips we tasted varied from juicy, Sauvignon Blanc-style wines to more mineral Chablis-styles. Which got me thinking about oysters.

Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia
Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia

The Oysters of the Pelješac Peninsula

When the time came to leave the boat and our friends behind in Split we rented a car and drove down to the Pelješac Peninsula. It’s an area known for shellfish. After a week of sailing to a different city every day we decided a little time on dry land was how we wanted to end our Croatian adventure.

So here we are, idly stopping into any winery or random konaba that strikes our fancy. We don’t have much of an agenda so it’s turned out that Pošip and oysters are giving our days all the structure we need.

Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia

Like wine, oysters exhibit a discernible terroir. Maybe it’s because they’re still alive when you eat them but for me, no other food carries its provenance in quite the same way. This is what I’m thinking about as I sit here sipping wine and eating oysters steps from the 14th-century oyster bed where my meal was born.

Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia
Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia

After all, there’s an expression used by chefs and wine lovers. “What grows together, goes together.” I try to remember that phrase when I travel because it means that the traditional foods from a particular region pair extremely well with the wines native to that same area. So it’s no wonder that Pošip shows itself in no place better than in a glass next to a plate of freshly shucked oysters from the Pelješac Peninsula. GREG

Ston, Croatia
Dingac Vineyard, Pelješac Peninsula
Pošip, Oysters & the Pelješac Peninsula aboard the Gulet Maske in Croatia

For more info see this video from Skoljka Ledinic, one of the oyster farms we visited.