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Rasa Vineyard & Culinary Sojourns | Crystal Cruises Dalmatian Discoveries

April 18, 2019 (Thu)

Venice to Athens
Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece
View full itinerary, below


Cost: from $ 4,900

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Thursday, April 18, 2019
​Venice Italy

We arrive in one of the greatest city's of Europe, Venice.  Rasa's guests may either go directly to the ship or arrive a day or two earlier to better enjoy the wonders this unique city has to offer.  Venice is the capital of northern Italy's Veneto region, and is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea.  With no roads, only canals, home of the Grand Canal thoroughfare, lined with Renaissance and Gothic Palaces and Churches.  The Piazza San Marco is the central square and home to St. Mark's Basilica, famed for its intricate Byzantine mosaics and golden tiles, and the Campanile bell tower, still in operation, boasting spectacular views of the city and lagoon.  Your cruise ship, the Crystal Serenity, set sails for your Dalmatian Discovery at 9:00 pm this evening.  Before we set sail, join Billo at a Welcome Reception.  Billo will be pouring his famous Dream Deferred Chardonnay for all his guests.  It's time to meet and mingle with your host and fellow wine loving cruisers!


Friday, April 19, 2019
Koper Slovenia

The port city of Koper is situated on the country's Adriatic coastline.  Its medieval old town centers around Titov Trg, a square with Venetian influenced landmarks such as the Praetorian Palace and a Gothic-style loggia, while nearby Da Ponte Fountain is a replica of Venice's famed Rialto Bridge.  Rebuilt many times, the circa 12th century Cathedral of the Assumption features a tall campanile with sweeping bay views.  Koper is the gateway to one of Europe's most important wine centers, the Goriska Brda region of Slovenia.  This area will be our first wine stop along the Dalmatian coast and our cruise.


Edi Simcic Winery
Goriska Brda Slovenia

​Under the guidance of Aleks and Martina Simcic, this winery produces some of the finest examples of Slovenian wines available.  They work with many of the same vinefera grape varieties as well as indigenous varietals that express the terroir and region.  The Goriska Brda region is predominantly noted for white wines that are fresh, full bodied and rich with salts and minerals.  This region delivers on Rebula (Ribolla Gialla) grapes and its proud identity.  Yes, Simcic makes red wines; and, you will have the opportunity to taste those wines as well.


After our winery visit to Edi Simcic Winery, we will proceed to the seashore for a fabulous Italian-Slovenian luncheon at Ristorante Locanda Al Cardellino (www.alcardellino.it). This temple of seafood is actually in Italy.  You see, the border between Slovenia and Italy runs very close to the shore and you must cross it to get to this superb restaurant.  The dish pictured is the most famous pasta preparation that is offered by our restaurant host, Spaghetti Scogli!  A set three (3) course menu will be offered, and for sure, the pictured dish will be one of the choices.  After lunch, we will proceed to our second winery stop.


 Scurek Wines
Goriska Brda, Slovenia

Scurek Wines (www.scurek.com), also located in both Slovenia and Italy.  Vineyards on both sides of the boarder with the major part of the estate's vineyards in Italy.  Scurek Wines releases about 80,000 bottles of quality wine, fresh and full bodied.  The wines made at Scurek utilize local indigenous grape varieties (Regula white and Stara Brajda red) as well as world class vinifra varietals.   Afterwards we will return to our luxury ship waiting for us in Koper; departing at 6:00 pm to take us to our next port of call, Split, Croatia.


Saturday, April 20, 2019
Split, Croatia

We arrive at our next stop, Split, Croatia early morning.  Be prepared to explore a fascinating city.  A blend of ancient Roman, Medieval Venetian and more modern Croatian.  Located on Croatia's Dalmatian coast, Split is renown for its beaches and citadel-esque network at its center.  Diocletian's Palace (one of Rome's most famous Emperor rising from a lowly status to Roman cavalry commander and then Emperor), built by Diocletian himself in the 4th century.  Once home to thousands, its sprawling remains include more than 200 buildings.  Within its white stone walls and under its courtyards are a cathedral and numerous shops, bars, cafes, hotels and houses.

We set sail at 6:00 pm, and that is when the fun really begins!
Rasa Vineyards Wine Tasting No. 1

Your host, Billo Naravane invites all his guest to the first of two wine tastings aboard at 6:00 pm sharp.  We are planning to hold this event on the ship's fantail (weather permitting) as we sail away from Split.  What a scenic wine hour!  


The wines that Billo will pour for this event are:

2017 The Composer Riesling - 92 Point rating.  Light straw in color, this wine offers superb aromatics of apple, pear, spice and while flowers.  The taste generates notes of spice, mineral, wet stone, pear and lime.  


2015 Primus Inter Pares - 95 Point rating.  100% grenache from Monette's Vineyard in
"The Rocks" area of Walla Walla, Washington.  This is part of the new Milton-Freewater AVA where some of Washington's great wines are built.  This wine is full bodied, as you might expect, from an in The Rocks grenache.  Cases produced 103..


2015 Living in the Limelight Petit Verdot - 94 Point rating.  This 95% Petit Verdot sports 2.5% Cab Sav and 2.5% Cab Franc from the Dionysus Vineyard of Colombia Valley, Washington.  This dark, full bodied red is the perfect accompaniment for price rib, steaks and chops.  Cases produced 103.


2015 QED Axiom of Choice Cabernet Franc - 95 Point rating.  100% Cabernet Franc from the Weinbau Vineyard and Firethorn Vineyard of Colombia Valley, Washington.  In Washington, Cabernet Franc has found a home to rival the Loire Valley of France, Chinon in particular.  This wine is robust and spicy with a long and juicy finish.  Cases produced 156.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Dubrovnik, is a city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea.  It's known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century.  Its well preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza and Gothic Rector's Palace, now a history museum.  Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Stadum is lined with shops and restaurants.


Dubrovnik is the gateway to Croatia's premier grape growing and wine making area, the Peljesac Peninsula.   It is a scenic and mountainous finger of land jutting out into the Adriatic Sea, surrounded on three sides by water.  This provides a unique micro-climate and allows the grapes grown here to reach full maturity providing fabulous flavors.  The premier grape grown is the Plavic Mali, a cousin of the American Zinfandel; however, here this grape develops into highly complex and world-class wines.


Saints Hills Winery
Zagruda (Peljesac) Croatia 

The Tolj Family have a love of the land and the place itself.  The wines are named after their children which in-turn were named after famous local saints.  The well known winemaker and consultant, Michel Rolland, a close friend of the Tolj family has helped Saints Hills produce world-class wines using the indigenous grape varietals at hand.  Tradition and passion make the difference at Saints Hills, and we will all feel fortunate to have made this stop, met this family and tasted product of all their hard work.  The wines!


We wish Saints Hills Winery farewell and proceed to the largest small town on the Peljesac, Orebic.  This picturesque seafront hamlet faces across a narrow body of water, the island of Korcula.  Korcula is one of Croatia's many lush islands that by themselves are covered with multiply vineyards and wineries.

We stop at a lovely boutique hotel,
​ The Hotel Adriatico, and its well known restaurant positioned on the beach overlooking the isle of Korcula.  At the hotel restaurant, Stari Kapetan, seafood is the specialty; from prawns to squid, to octopus.  Be prepared for all things Croatian from the sea.  Other specialties will be included.  We will be offered a three (3) course set menu to include a starter, main and dessert.  There will be several choices that will please every pallet.


Korta Katarina
Orebic Croatia

After lunch, we proceed the short distance to the modern and well appointed winery of Korta Katarina for an indepth tasting & winery tour.  Americans, Lee and Penny Anderson, traveled to post-war Croatia in 2001 with nonprofit organization St. David's Relief Foundation in an effort to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  The Anderson's passion for wine and the new found passion for Croatia, inspired them to build Korta Katarina.  Their first vintage was in 2006 and over the next 12 years, the production and quality reached a level where the world began to take notice.  Again, Plavic Mali will be the centerpiece of the tasting; however, Korta Katarina makes an outstanding white as well from the isle of Kocula.  After our tasting & tour, we will return to Dubrovnik with a stop in the ancient walled city of Ston.  We will make a short stop for photos and take a quick look around.


Upon return to Dubrovnik,  guests will have all evening to "shop til' you drop" amongst the numerous art galleries and shops offering gifts, clothing, and jewelry.  When most of your funds have been exhausted, stop for a wonderful local dinner at one of the many restaurants either inside the city walls or directly outside.  Be prepared for some serious seafood delights. 

​ The ship spends the night at the Dubrovnik port and departs at 5:00 am.


Monday, April 22, 2019
Kotor Montenegro

Kotor is a fortified town on Montenegro's Adriatic coast, at the end of a long and magnificent fjord, in a bay near the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovcen.  Characterized by winding streets and squares, its medieval old town has several Romanesque churches, including Kotor Cathedral.  It's also home to the Maritime Museum, which explores local seafaring history.  Sveti Dorde, one of two tiny islands off the ancient town of Perast, features a centuries old church.
Rasa Vineyards Wine Tasting No. 2


As we sail away from the village of Kotor, through one of Europe's most scenic fjords, we will have the opportunity to sail by a couple of small islands, Sveti Dorde pictured left, with its picturesque small church.  Again, weather permitting, Billo will host his 2nd wine tasting on the fantail of the Serenity so as to best enjoy the views as we sail away down the fjord toward the open sea.

​The wines that Billo will pour for this event are:


​2015 Tilting at Windmills Cuevee - 94 Point rating.  This grenache blend is a "Homage" to one of Billo's favorite wine regions, Priorat of Spain.  This blend shows grace, power, complexity and down right deliciousness.  Cases produced 105.


​2014 Veritas Sequitur Estate Syrah - 96 Point rating.  Dense, dark purple in color with a compelling bouquet of exotic spices, bacon fat, black olive, black berry, stony minerality and earthiness.  This wine requires spicy food, barbecued meats and strong flavors.  Cases produced 126.


2013 Fianchetto - 96 Point rating.  This is Rasa's second Walla Walla designated Bordeaux blend from the XL Vineyard.  What is a Bordeaux blend?  Generally, you will find Cabernet Savignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc.  However, Billo will brief us on how this wine came to life, and the actual blend it contains.  Cases produced 84.


2013 in Order to form a more perfect Union
 - 95 Point rated.  A Columbia Valley sourced blend of classic Bordeaux varietals.  A wine of traditional elegance and refinement, and a wine that will show itself well for many years to come.  This wine can enhance any meal from the most fancy to the most mundane.  Cases produced 105.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 
Cruising The Ionian Sea

Now for one of the real highlights of our cruise.  The Naravane's invites all their guests to a Chef/Winemaker Paired Dinner.  Your host & chef will consider all the wines below and decide together what dishes to match up to what wines.  This will be a great deal of fun and we should all look forward to this opportunity to learn more about the wines that Rasa Vineyards and Washington State produces.

Below is a list of wines you will encounter at this dinner:
  • 2013 Composer Riesling
  • 2009 Creative Impulse - a blend of 69% Cabernet Savignon and 31% of Merlot - 95 Point rating
  • 2009 QED - GSM - a blend of Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre in the style of the Rhone Valley - 94 Point rating
  • 2013 En Passant Merlot - a high quality Merlot as only Rasa can make - 95 Point rating
  • 2013 Veritas Sequitur Syrah - 94 Point rating
  • 2017 Sweet Tooth Dessert Wine - a surprise finish to the dinner as this will be a very new wine for Rasa, be the first to rate it!


Wednesday, April 24, 2019 
Santorini Greece

Santorini is one of the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea.  It was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape.  The whitewashed, cubiform houses of its two principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to the cliffs above an underwater caldera.  They overlook the sea, small islands to the west and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles.  We will travel by bus from the new port to the village of Oia at the end of the island.  It is here we will have our first of two opportunities to taste and appreciate the wines of Santorini and Greece.  
Domaine Sigalas
Santorini Greece

The winery was founded in 1991 and was initially located in the traditional home of the Sigalas Family.  In 1998 a new production, bottling, and aging cellar was constructed close to the original location.  Since then, the Sigalas Family have modernized and expanded the facilities, and today are bottling over 25,000 cases annually.

The viticultural area of Santorini is ancient with varietals that date back to antiquity.  You will notice, for the most part, the grapes are not grown in the traditional manner.  This is due to the climate and the winds that buffet Santorini daily.  The eruption of the volcano has made the soil of Santorini incredibly fertile, loaded with minerality.


​Sigalas is famous for its Assyrtiko wine, a grape indigenous to Santorini; the vines are over 50 years old.  They also produce a red Mandilaria blend, also indigenous to Santorini; these vines are over 60 years old.   Finally, look out for the Vin Santo, a dessert wine with low alcohol and high residual sugar, based on the Assyrtiko grape. ​


Now, prepare yourselves for a set three (3) course lunch at one of the best and most scenic restaurants any of us have ever seen.  The photo to the right will not do it justice.  The Ammoudi Tavernaof Santorini is one of the world's more iconic locations to enjoy the cuisine and culture of its place on the globe.  Of course, seafood will be in the forefront, but other Greek delicacies will be offered.


Santo Winery - Wine Tasting & Tour in a picture perfect location offering spectacular views within the caldera! Modern in design and technology,  Santo Winery is well known for their Assyritiko, a grape indigenous to Santorini and now grown throughout the country.  The winery adheres to organic farming methods with everything from pruning to harvesting being done by hand.  The volcanic soils here produce high quality, distinctive wines. 


Thursday, April 25, 2019
Nafplion Greece

We will arrive at 8:00 am with plenty of time to see the many sights this area offers.  Nafplion is one of the most romantic towns in Greece, geographically located on the eastern side of the Peloponnesian Penesula.  With the intense Medieval style and only 2 hours drive from Athens, this is a popular weekend destination.  The Old Town is a marvel to walk around with elegant mansions and large squares, while on the hill above the Old Town is a strong fortress dating from the Venetian age.  Many lovely beaches are found in the region to enjoy summer holidays in Nafplion.  If time permits, try and see the Corinth Canal, a deep cut in the peninsula that runs from one side to the other, and allows shipping to bypass the long route around Greece; it is amazing.
Friday, April 26, 2019
Athens/Priaeus Greece

Athens is the capital of Greece.  It was once a powerful city state in BC Greece.  One of many.  It was a Republic where the people ruled through an elected body of the wealthiest and most learned citizens of the city.  It was also at the heart of Ancient Greece, a powerful civilization and empire.  The city is still dominated by 5th century BC landmarks, including the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel topped with ancient buildings like the colonnaded Parthenon Temple.  The Acropolis Museum, along with the National Archaeological Museum, preserves sculptures, vases, jewelry and more from Ancient Greece.  The Plaka area of Athens offers many fabulous restaurants and a view of what makes Athens tick.  It is the center of night culture and is inhabited by the youngest and most trendy residents of the city.  An evening stroll through the Plaka will produce many rewards.  Of course, the Acropolis must be climbed and visited.  This is not for the faint of heart, as the climb can be quite strenuous.  Once on top, the famous Parthenon dominates the scene along with other ancient buildings, like the Temple of Athena.
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Athens/Pireaus Greece - Disembarkation

We disembark from the Crystal Serenity this morning and bid goodbye to new friends made aboard.  Some may decide to find their way to the airport for a flight home; some may find their way to the airport for another European destination; but, may we suggest that you extend your stay in the Athens area! Through an extension program that will be offered by Hills Travel, a Virtuoso agency, better acquaint yourselves with one of histories great capitals and centers of civilization.  Virtuoso will be building a three night, four day extension to the cruise that will allow visits to such storied places such as the Oracle of Delphi,  the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Theater of Dionysus, and the Syntagma Square.  These, and many other sights are waiting to be explored, and if you extend your stay in Athens, you will have the time to visit many of these spots and make your Greek adventure that much more meaningful.

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