New year, new wine.
Some say if you love Zinfandel, you’ll love Plavac Mali. They’re closely related grape relatives—a cross between Crljenak Kaštelanski (the ancient, original Zinfandel) and Dobričić grapes. California Zinfandel ($25-$30 range) compared to this Plavac from Frano Miloš is… well, other than both being red and full-bodied, there’s really no comparison. What makes this so pleasantly different just might be the Friškina (“scent of the sea”).
Plavac Mali (“plah-vahts mah-lee”) is grown off the Dalmatia Coast of Croatia. Plavac Mali means “little blue” (plavo = blue, mali = small), but the wine is big, red, and complex.
You might’ve heard more about Dubrovnik, Croatia in the last year or so—where many Game of Thrones scenes were filmed—than Pelješac. Just a little over an hour’s drive away from the hoards of new tourists wanting to walk in the footsteps of Cersei’s walk of shame, there are gorgeous, steep vineyards with views of the Adriatic sea. And, there are passionate winemakers who are making exceptional wines. The Miloš winery is one I’ve learned about through Blue Danube Wine Company, and to quote Cracking Croatian Wine:
“Frano Miloš was one of the visionary pioneers who saw Croatia’s potential to create high-quality wine.”
This 2013 Plavac ($26.95) had my senses on a heightened, curious/intrigued mode (I’m sure new, neural pathways were being formed; and, my brain, like the Grinch’s heart, grew three sizes that day). It’s nothing like a jammy, stewed Zin of the same price range. This had a great pop of mouth watering acidity, just the right amount of tart, with firm tannins. I’ve read Plavac Mali can be known for high alcohol and strong tannins, but not this one. The tannins just gave a respectful hello, without being overbearing or gluing themselves to the papillae. But, it was the unique herbal notes that had me wanting more.
We should all seek unique wines and get out of our comfort zones.
I’m a bit of a creature of habit—which leads to my taste buds, for the majority of the time, knowing what to expect. When I first tried Plavac Mali, I wasn’t blown away. Examples of good and terrible wine can come from any region. However, it wasn’t until I was fortunate enough to receive this bottle (Christmas came early!) from Blue Danube Wine Company that I can say I am a true fan of Plavac Mali! (Thank you, Frank!).
As I haven’t (yet) visited Croatia, what better way to experience another part of the world than through wine? I might’ve not given much thought about seeking out Croatian wine until getting my hands on a copy of Charine & Matt’s (Exotic Wine Travel) book. So, thanks to adventurous wine friends, I’m stepping out of my wine comfort zone.
“A man can truly reaffirm himself in his surroundings by continuously evolving and trying to create a better and nicer world.” ~Frano Miloš
It’s not a region you easily find in local stores (hopefully we’ll see much more in the future) and if you’re not in the wine business or a certified wine geek, you may never come across a gem like this 2013 Plavac!
Wine makes the world smaller, friendlier, and happier. May your 2018 begin beautifully, hopefully with new wines to experience and love.