Croatia’s Grgić Winery Heavily Damaged During Pelješac Wildfire

(Photo courtesy www.24sata.hr)
(Photo courtesy http://www.24sata.hr)

Late Monday night, a savage wildfire consumed large swaths of scrub pine, olive and fig trees, and vineyards on the Pelješac peninsula in Dalmatia, one of Croatia’s most renowned wine-growing regions, leaving as many as 600 hectares of rocky landscape–as well as cars and some homes–blackened and charred at the height of the tourist season.

Especially hard hit was the area around the tiny seaside hamlet, Trstenik—home of the world-famous Grgić Vina, a winery founded by legendary—and Croatian-born—Napa Valley winemaker, Mike Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate in Rutherford, CA.

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Croatia’s 2014 Dalmacija Wine Expo: Three Things I Learned

By Cliff Rames © 2014

Sensory overload. That is how I would describe any one of my whirlwind visits to Croatia.

I mean it in a positive way. The country is simply brimming with vinous, culinary and natural delights. Gnarly old grapevines improbably clinging to sun baked seaside slopes. Nearly 1,200 islands sprinkled like seashells on the impossibly blue Adriatic. Countless villages and hamlets of seminal charm nestled in coves and on mountainsides. Fresh caught seafood and farm-to-table produce so succulent and cooked to perfection. The warm faces of family, old friends and new acquaintances (and an occasional donkey).  Swoon-worthy views and secret spots where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature that – to this New York City boy – are so intimate, pure and wonderful.

Dingač (Photo © Cliff Rames)
Dingač (Photo © Cliff Rames)

And then there is the wine. Indigenous grapes, local producers. Most of it delicious and distinct. So this is what all this beauty… this land…this Croatia tastes like, you may be inspired to declare.

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Wine Review: Miličić 2007 Plavac Mali “Selekcija”

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Wine:  Miličić 2007 Plavac Mali “Selekcija” (Vrhunsko vino)

Producer: Miličić

Region:  Dalmatia

Sub-Region: Pelješac Peninsula

Grape Varieties: Plavac Mali

Alcohol by Volume: 13.7%

Residual Sugar: N/A

Price: 65 Kuna (in Croatia; Approximately $13)

Bottle Size: 750 ml

Imported By: N/A

Tasting Note: At 7 years old, this wine is dark ruby colored yet translucent, with elegant hues of garnet beginning to betray its age. Bold, seductive notes of dried fruits – black cherry, fig, and plum – combine to deliver a sweetly enticing nose that’s balanced and alluring, earthy and briny, sweet yet savory. Tertiary notes of leather, black olive, and iodine lurk beneath and linger with the aroma of stewed black fruits long after the glass is empty. The wine is labeled dry, yet I suspect there is a gram or two of residual sugar due to its slightly sweet attack and round finish that avoids being cloying due to a juicy dose of acidity. At 13.7% ABV, this is a pleasantly restrained and refined Plavac Mali, completely balanced, richly extracted, and easy to drink with dusty, fine tannins and a long, long mouth coating finish. Excellent! Bring on the mussels and squid ink risotto!! ~CR

Photo: Cliff Rames
Photo: Cliff Rames

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Sunday Snapshot: Postup

Located on the Pelješac peninsula along the Adriatic Sea in Dalmatia, Postup is Croatia’s second oldest geographically protected wine-growing appellation (granted in 1963), lying just northwest of its more famous sister region, Dingač.

Like Dingač, Postup is home to the Plavac Mali grape and produces bold, powerful, sometimes off-dry to slightly sweet wines such as the benchmark Postup Mare from Bura-Mrgudić.

Behold the beauty of this terroir: Postup!

(Photo: Copyright © Cliff Rames)
(Photo: Copyright © Cliff Rames)

Wine Review: Miloš 2005 Stagnum Dessert Wine

(Photo: Copyright © Cliff Rames)
(Photo: Copyright © Cliff Rames)

WineMiloš 2005 Stagnum Dessert Wine (Desertno vino)

Producer: Frane Miloš

Region:  Dalmatia

Sub-Region: Pelješac Peninsula

Grape Varieties: Plavac Mali

Alcohol by Volume: 15.5%

Residual Sugar: 66 g/l

Price: 370 Kuna (in Croatia)

Bottle Size: 375 ml

Imported By: N/A

Tasting Note: Made only in the best years from partially sun-dried Plavac Mali grapes, this deeply garnet-colored, full-bodied wine is sweet at first but finishes a bit drier to reveal a mouth-filling texture and notes of dried plum, black fig, pine, orange zest, old saddle leather, espresso, and sea salt-infused dark chocolate. A fine & rare treat for a chilly autumn eve at home with loved ones.  🙂

(Photo: Copyright © Cliff Rames)
(Photo: Copyright © Cliff Rames)

Wines of Croatia News Round-Up for March 18, 2012

In case you missed anything, here is a round-up of the latest links to the news articles, blog posts and videos that highlighted Croatia, its wine or wine culture.

1. The Image Pantry.com: On Green Lycra, German Riesling and Other Fashion Victims

March 4, 2012

A review of Bolfan Primus Riesling, included in the Image Pantry’s round-up of “some of the best rieslings central Europe has to offer”. 

2. Grape Experiences: Wine Blogs I Actually Read and You Should Too

March 5, 2012

The Wines of Croatia blog makes the Grape Experiences list of five wine blogs that should be followed.

3. Istria Travel.com: Baptising Wine Among Other Things

March 5, 2012

The Clumsy Traveler learns about colorful local traditions in Istrian wine country.  

4. Total Hvar.com: Where is the Largest Island Vineyard in the Mediterranean?

March 6, 2012

A report about the new Plančić vineyard on Hvar that will eventually produce 2 million bottles of Plavac Mali and Bogdanuša.

5. The Croatian Times.com: Croatian Wines Appreciation Growing on German and UK Markets

March 7, 2012

New data about Croatia wine exports to Europe.

6. Gourmand Awards News: World Cookbook Awards Winners

March 7, 2012

Croatia’s premier food & wine magazine, Iće & piće (“Eat & Drink”) wins Third Place in the “Book & Trade Magazine” category (Page 81 on the slide show) at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

7. Thirst for Wine: Tonight’s Croatian Wine – Thanks to Mountain Valley Wines

March 8, 2012

U.K. wine writer, Robert McIntosh, reviews Pelješac Plavac Mali 2010.

8. The Daily Meal.com: Wine Tasting in Croatia

March 9, 2012

A hop across Croatia to visit some of its wineries on “the road less traveled in Europe”.  

9. IWINETC.com: All Aboard the Orient Express to Zagreb’s Regent-Esplanade for IWINETC 2013

March 10, 2012

Wine Pleasures.com announces that the 5th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference and Workshop will be held in Zagreb, Croatia in March 2013.

10. Pacta Connect Blog: Tasting Istrian Malvazija

March 12, 2012

As the season of Malvasia Istriana (Malvazija istarska) begins, the team from Pacta Connect provides this primer about Istria’s flagship wine and recommends a few producers for your drinking pleasure.  

11. Total Hvar.com: 21st Century Planting Planting Planting

March 12, 2012

A report about Hvar winemaker Andro Tomić’s Bastijana vineyards expansion project.

12. Istriaficionado.com: Giorgio Clai of Istria Nominated as Wine-Newcomer of the Year by Der Feinschmecker

March 12, 2012

A report about Istrian biodynamic winemaker Giorgio Clai being nominated by German lifestyle magazine Der Feinschmeker as “Newcomer of the Year” in the Wine Awards 2012 competition.

13. Wines of Croatia Blog: Blood from Stone: Stina Wine from Brač – Best New Label Design

March 16, 2012

This new wine label design from JAKO VINO Winery really caught our eye. Find out why.

14. Balkan Travellers.com: Croatian Wine for Beginners

March 18, 2012

A repackaged and republished introduction to Croatian wines by Austrian wine writer, Peter Moser.

P.S. We love to hear from you!

If you have comments or other news to share, please comment on this post or email us at info@winesofcroatia.com

 

Images from the Wine Roads of Croatia #8 – Terra Rota

“Plavac Rising”

Photo © Cliff Rames

 Terra Rota winery (“Vinarija Terra Rota”) vineyards, Kuna, Pelješac wine-growing hills, Southern Dalmatia sub-region, Coastal Croatia.

Terra Rota is a new project at Kuna in the upper interior highlands of the Pelješac peninsula. The winery planted 30 hectares of vineyards – some at an elevation of 480 meters (1,575 feet) above sea level, making them the highest vineyards on Pelješac.

Of the more than 235,000 vines planted at the site, the indigenous red variety Plavac Mali dominates, comprising 95 percent of the total. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah complete the remaining 5 percent. The vines are currently in their 6th year of growth.

So far Terra Rota has commercially released just one wine, the “Rota Standard”, a 100 percent barrel-fermented Plavac Mali, bottle-aged for a minimum of six months prior to release.