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Croatian Wine Center Ancient Romans Named 'Golden Valley'

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Have you ever had a privilege to taste the perfectly aged Croatian wine in the cellar built in 1232 AD? At the same stone table where Holy Roman Empress and Queen of Germany and Austria, Maria Theresa was sitting?

Cellar with wine barrels in Kutjevo
Cellar with wine barrels in Kutjevo

Highly unlikely. Because there is only one place on this planet where you can do this. The place where the mighty queen was having a late-night confidential talks. Discussions about the future of the empire and the world.

Kutjevo – the Croatian wine center

One of the smallest, oldest and most famous Croatian towns, named as one of the Top 3 wine locations in the world. There’s Californian Napa Valley, French Burgundy, and Croatian wine Golden Valley. And the town of Kutjevo is in the center of the Croatian wine industry.

These three micro-locations produce the best quality grapes in the entire world. And the best wines, as you probably already know.

Kutjevo's 18th century castle
Kutjevo's 18th century castle
Croatian Wine Kutjevo winery wine cellar
Croatian Wine Kutjevo Winery Wine Cellar

The world-renowned vinery, that carries the same name as the town, is making sure that every visitor tastes some of the best wines in the world. At that same table, where kings and queens were plotting their games while enjoying those same Croatian wines.

Yes, there is a special section of the cellar, behind the age-old oak door, with hundreds of bottles of archive wines. Left there to age, some specimens are over a hundred years old.

Croatian Wine Archive In Kutjevo Winery
Croatian Wine Archive In Kutjevo Winery

The tour lasts for two or more hours and culminates with the tasting of 4 most famous Croatian wines. One of them is always the unforgettable ice wine made exclusively from selected frozen grapes.

To produce that special wine, they leave grapes on the vine during the winter. Harvest occurs in January or February next year after at least two days and nights with temperatures below -10°C.

Croatian Vineyard
Croatian Vineyard

The result is an unlikely, sweet and refreshing wine like no other you’ve tasted so far.

Now, add the fact that you are sipping it in the underground cellar build almost 800 years ago by the group of monks. Imagine how deep impression the entire experience leaves on a person.

And that’s just a small part of the rich and fertile caldera of the mighty, ancient mega volcano. After all, you can’t just drink wines all day long. You could, but…

How about some trekking or hiking with…

Thermal springs right under your feet

There is a location on the north edge of the Golden Valley, on the foothill of Papuk mountain, where Earth is reminding us how powerful and might it truly is. The hot water, heated by the molten lava is emerging from the deep core, reaching the surface.

Thermal Springs on the Foothill of Papuk Mountain
Thermal Springs on the Foothill of Papuk Mountain

In some places, it’s enough to drill just a shallow hole and you have your own steam bath. For decades, people were congregating in Velika to enjoy the benefits of the hot bath under the clear blue sky. It’s a small town just 15 kilometers north from Požega, the county’s administrative center.

It was a welcomed retreat after a day of hiking to ancient fortress overseeing the entire valley.

Croatian Ancient Fortress
Croatian Ancient Fortress

The heat coming from down beneath that keeps the ground warm even during the coldest winter days. Volcanic soil that turned into humus over the millennia. A natural shield of five distinct hills, the remnants of the ancient volcanic summit that now surrounds the valley. That’s the recipe for a uniquely fertile environment.

When they first came here, Romans immediately named it ‘Vallis Aurea’ or the Golden Valley.

The place where seafood and olive oil exist only in vocabulary

Today, Golden Valley is known not only for best Croatian wine, fertile soil, thermal water, and baroque valley’s center of Požega but also for its unique cuisine.

The Valley is the inevitable first stop on the gourmet journey to the far east of Croatia. If you don’t mind tasting a bit more powerful, taste-rich meals; you’ll enjoy it here. That’s a promise.

The famous, smoked, dried, spicy Slavonian Kulen that goes perfectly with the glass of the best Croatian wine.
The famous, smoked, dried, spicy Slavonian Kulen that goes perfectly with the glass of the best Croatian wine.

Because in this part of Croatia, people are best known for dried, smoked delicacies and strong, spicy stews cooked outside, on the fire. In other words, if you are a bit tired of seafood, beaches, olives and olive oil, pasta, and all that sea salt and “healthy food,” maybe you should start your dinner with something else.

Traditional Acoholic drinks in Croatia
Traditional Acoholic drinks in Croatia

Perhaps with the large tray filled with, so called, 45° delicacies?

The whole variety of spicy sausages, fresh cow cheese and cream, irresistible and unforgettable Slavonian Kulen, smoked bacon and ham. All kick-started with the inevitable “Šljivovica.” A strong, aromatic liquor made from distilled plumbs, traditional in this part of the world.

Then, after the calming effect of Šljivovica and those powerful appetizers, just let yourself go and enjoy. Enjoy in a sequence of dishes coming one after another while the relaxing sounds of traditional instruments are playing their music.

That’s how they spend their evenings and nights over there and you are more than welcome to join.

Your destination: Požega’s Golden Valley. They are expecting you.

Your CTC Team, I.K.

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