Monday, May 4, 2015

A Tasty Croatian Sip

Another bottle. Another grape for my little "Wild & Wacky Wine Week." As mentioned in my last post, I figured I might as well use this final hundred bottles on The List to try and make a run at my tally to become a doppel member of the Wine Century Club.

I was a little surprised that I haven't added tonight's grape to my tally previously because I've definitely had it before. Indeed, the wine at the time was added to The List at #401. It would seem that I simply forgot to add it to my Wine Century Club tally. I'll have to make sure that doesn't happen again.

So, getting on to the grape in question, it's Plavac Mali and it hails from the island of Brac on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.

1911.  2010 Stina - Plavac Mali Barrique (Croatia)

The Stina winery created quite a stir at this year's Vancouver International Wine Festival. It was the first time that a Croatian winery had participated in the Festival - despite the gathering now being in its 37th year - and word definitely got out the folks from Stina had brought along some very tasty wines. There was a perpetual gathering around the Stina table - a sure sign that there was wine of note at a table.

It's quite possible that the winery may not have previously attended the Vancouver Festival because it only started in 2009. Stina has quickly established itself as a quality producer of modern wines, however. Indeed, its wines have to show a fair bit of substance to command between $45 and $100 in the local market - and the interest was clearly evident.

The Plavac Mali grape is the most economically valuable grape grown in Croatia and is often compared to Zinfandel. A little wine-geek sleuthing in Jancis Robinson (et al)'s tome, Wine Grapes, explains the validity to that comparison. Zinfandel - or as it was originally known in Croatia as Tribidrag - has been shown to be one of the genetic parents of Plavac Mali. Although the origin of Zinfandel has been the subject of great study and discussion (amusingly referred to as "The Zinquest"), many see Croatia as the birthplace of Zin.

Photo from winery website
Not that you'd get any of this information from the front label of this bottle. There's no printing on the label - just a bit of embossing in the upper corner. Otherwise, it's a pure white label. The winery website states that the winery and the "label was inspired by the world-famous white Brac stone" called Stina and the wine is marketed as inspiration for artists whether carving virgin stone or applying paint to a blank canvas.

All said and done though, this was a thoroughly rich, full bodied and fruit forward sip and, on top of that, I get to add the #180 grape to my Wine Century Club tally. Got to like that.

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