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Exciting wine from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia

February 20, 2019 Leave a comment

At MacArthur Beverages, John recently recommended two wines made from indigenous varieties which I must recommend that you try out.  The 2017 Vilinka Cellars, Zilavka, Bosnia-Herzegovina is a very fine white wine.  Think white fruit, nuts, lively acidity, and some chalk.  I do not usually drink much white wine but I felt compelled to start every night with a glass.  It dances on the tongue with plenty of fruit to back it; these are qualities I find in good German Riesling.  If that is lively and youthful, the 2015 Ivika Pilizota Winery, Babic, North Dalmatia, Croatia is hitting its mature phase.  There is some earth, lifted ripeness, and a floral, black tea finish.  In short, a mature wine to drink this year.  These unique wines are adeptly made and outperform their pricing.  Stock up!

2017 Vilinka Cellars, Zilavka, Bosnia-Herzegovina – $20
Imported by Winebow. Alcohol 12.7%.  A pale, yellow straw color.  Articulate on the nose with bright white fruit and nuts.  In the mouth are lively herbaceous flavors reminiscent of the nose, white fruit and nuts but also lychee with baking spices.  There is density to the mouth feel.  It wraps up with chalk and a woodsey/stemmy bit.  Once open, it drinks in top form for days.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2015 Ivika Pilizota Winery, Babic, North Dalmatia, Croatia – $17
Imported by Vinum USA.  This wine is 100% Babic.  Alcohol 13%.  Earthy and maturing aromas greet.  In the mouth is a rounded start with dense fruit that is integrated with the minimal tannins.  The flavors turn bluer in the marshmallow-like ripe finish.  This is a smooth wine for drinking now.  With air it shows a floral, spiced middle, lifted ripeness, and a little floral black tea in the finish.  *** Now – 2020.

Three Alternative Wines

Today’s post features wines from Mexico and Croatia.  The 2010 Vinicola L.A. Cetto, Petite Sirah is an improvement over the 2008 vintage which I tasted almost two years ago.  It is a solid wine for the price and worth trying if you want something affordable and different or you have never tried a Mexican wine.  The pair of Trapan wines represent further offerings from The Balkan Wine Project.  Of the two, the 2012 Trapan, Ponente was my favorite.  It had an interesting combination of tropical flavors, waxiness, some vibrancy and texture.  It is reasonably priced and may be drunk over several days.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

Wine1

2010 Vinicola L.A. Cetto, Petite Sirah, Valle de Guadalupe – $10
Imported by International Spirits and Wines LLC.  This wine is 100% Petite Sirah.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light to medium purple ruby.  In the mouth there were grapey flavors of purple and black fruit.  The flavors were somewhat lifted with a grapey middle, some ripe tannins, and a moderately ripe level of personality.  The wine became a little savory with air.  It has strength and ruggedness.  ** Now-2016.

Wine3

2012 Trapan, Ponente, Istria – $16
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Malvazija sourced from vines planted in 2005 which was fermented and aged in stainless steel.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light straw yellow.  The subtle nose first had aromas of skin contact, waxy, and nutty.  In the mouth the wine was slightly vibrant with lively fruit at first, stones, and some tropical white fruit in the middle.  It was almost creamy before the texture picked up leaving a waxy impression in the aftertaste.  It held up well in the refrigerator.  ** Now-2016.

Wine2

2011 Trapan, Terra Mare, Istria -$26
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Teran sourced from vines planted in 2005 which was aged for 12 months in used French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed a combination of different aromas, wood notes, and vanilla.  In the mouth there was moderately focused fruit, firm and tart, with red and black flavors.  The wine tastes wood aged with the fruit existing within the structure.  There were vanilla notes and sweetness but not too much.  After the middle there were drying flavors and a little vibrancy on the tongue.  This modern wine finished with a vanilla note.  ** Now-2016.

Wine4

Plavac Mali from the Dalmatian Coast

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

I first and last tried a Croatian wine just over one decade ago.  During a visit to the QFC at The University Village in Seattle I had spied a sole bottle of Grgic Vina, Plavac Mali.  This is the winery of Mike Grgich who you may know through his Californian winery Grgich Hills Estate.  Back then Plavac Mali was believed to be the ancient ancestor of Zinfandel.  Now it is known that Plavac Mali stems from both Zinfandel and Dobricic.  Lately, I have been curious to taste the wines of Croatia but there are not many on offer in Washington, DC.  Seattle has a decent selection so I randomly grabbed this bottle by PZ Putnikovici.  The agricultural cooperative Putnikovici was founded in 1945 by 175 members.  Twenty years later the members built the winery.  Today the cooperative is primarily focused on the production of wine across several different labels.  The winery is modernizing with both temperature controlled stainless steel and concrete tanks.  The bottling line is automatic.  Today the winery produces some 500,000 bottles of wine with the rest sold off in bulk.  The cooperative is also working on the first Croatian museum dedicated to viticulture and oenology.

Plavac Mali may readily produce wines high in alcohol and tannins.  I could taste this ripening vigor in the wine.  Despite this strength I found my bottle tasted much better on the first night.  If you are curious then grab several friends to drink this wine while you grill and eat meat on a cool Fall evening.  This wine is available at Wine World and Spririts in Seattle.

2008 PZ Putnikovici, Lirica, Plavac Mali, Peljesac Peninsula – $18
Imported by Vinum USA.  This wine is 100% Plavac Mali sourced from vineyards on the southern side of the Peljesac Peninsula.  Alcohol 14.4%.  The nose offers dark red fruit and compote.  On the first night the flavors were of dried fruit, somewhat tightly concentrated and mixed with red and blue fruits.  The wine was drying with somewhat ripe tannins which begin to coat the mouth in the middle.  There was a hint of smoothness as flavors of tobacco and sweet, Christmas spices, and stones made way to a dark aftertaste of ripe, dried berries.  Some rustic heat came out. The tannins thoroughly coat the teeth and lips.  On the second night the wine became a little figgy, showing pruned flavors and a dry aspect but otherwise the same.  ** Now-2017.