Although prošek is one of unique Dalmatian products, it has often been mistaken by Italian Prossecco, which is a sparkling wine and belongs to a completely different type of wine.
I have tasted prošek for the first time during my college years, as students from different regions started gathering around. It was a special wine for me, something completely new.
Prošek from island Hvar is light, golden brown, thick and rich scented. That sweet, dangerously seductive taste of prošek, delusive for un-experienced, has opened a door to a new world of sweet dessert wines.
A bottle sent straight from the family cellar from island Hvar, got the attention of all of us pretty soon and the whole experience got a new dimension when we heard a story how the prošek is produced in grandpa cellar on island Hvar. Enjoying the taste we were amazed by this enchanting story.
Late harvest, almost dried grapes due to high percentage of sugar are used for production of this special dessert wine. The technology for production of prošek is called passito method. The goal is dehydration of almost dried grapes to increase the percentage of sugar so such wines after fermentation can have up to 120 g of sugar per liter. The ripening of wine, or the wine ripening length in wooden barrels is one of the most important stages in the production of prošek. There are various types of prošek and they vary with regards to color and bouquet, and the wine yard type (white and black prošek). The most common and most dominant types are Bogdanusa, Marastina and Vugava (all native Croatian grapes) and smaller amounts of locally known grapes are added to this composition).
It is not surprising that this unique sweet dessert wine has evoked so much media attention after July 1st 2013, regarding regulation of prošek. As Prošek isn’t a trademark yet, the process to protect the name Prošek is yet to come, and that will enable to use this name within the European Union.
This sweet dessert wine is often used when preparing sweet delicacies, such as cookies, cakes, custards. It also blends perfectly with savory dishes as it provides special sweet wine flavor and unique taste to the dish. People from island Hvar use prošek generously when preparing their traditional old savory dishes. Some of them are Pašticada (stewed beef dish) and various fish dishes from island Hvar which are inviting all those eager to experience some new creative cuisines. Prošek is served with sweet cookies, cakes and cheese.
Recently a 125 year old bottle of prošek has been found on island Hvar that provides an additional proof that this traditional Dalmatian product has long tradition in our region of Dalmatia.
Yet later on I have found out that the Prošek I had tried during college years has been a first class sample made in limited family production and would had been opened just in special occasions.
It has become a good scale for all the other wines I had tasted later on.