Tuesday, September 21, 2021

International Plavac Mali Day: Skaramuča Plavac Mali

Today is International Plavac Mali Day!

The Croatian Wine Alliance, a group of global teams promoting Croatian wines led by the US-based duo, Aroma Wine Co., and Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc., made September 21 to be International Plavac Mali Day. This collaboration is a public and private partnership among organizations from the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and Croatia – all dedicated to telling the many stories of this indigenous and predominant Croatian red variety. 

Plavac Mali is a descendant of Zinfandel (aka Tribidrag or Crljenak kaštelanski) creating a natural hybrid with another indigenous variety, Dobričić. Plavac Mali produces several styles of wines, from medium-bodied and easy-drinking, to elegant and robust wines. The aromas in Plavac mali are predominantly dark berries and Mediterranean herbs with expressive tannins, and mineral on the palate. Plavac Mali means ‘little blue’, referring to its appearance, small and dark blue berries.

Two years ago this month, I visited Croatia, and wrote numerous articles about my experiences in that beautiful and wondrous country. I learned much about Plavac Mali, having visited numerous vineyards and wineries, and tasted a diverse variety of the wines. That diversity is compelling, as you can enjoy fresh and light Plavac Mali wines, as well as heavier, more robust wines that will age very well. So, you can enjoy Plavac Mali with a wide assortment of foods, just dependent on which style you prefer. 

My article, Volarević Winery: Organic Rakija & The Complexity of Plavac Mali, provides more information about Plavac Mali, its origins, as well as the efforts to study and research this fascinating grape. In some respects, and despite the long history of Plavac Mali, there is still much to learn about this grape, and that that times, research and experimentation. As I said in that article, "This is a grape which can present greatness, which can compare well to other famed red grapes around the world."

Onto a couple Plavac Mali wines that I recently drank.

The family behind Vina Skaramuča family has growing vineyards on Pelješac Peninsula of Croatia for several generations. However, when Ivo Skaramuča, the vineyard only had a few hectares which has now grown to about 20 hectares. Most of their vineyards are in the Dingač region,  and they now  possess the largest vineyard in this region. In 1961, Dingač became the first protected wine region in Croatia and it is well known for its Plavac Mali wines. Today the winery is managed by Igor Skaramuča, Ivana and Branimir Anđelić

The 2017 Vina Skaramuča Plavac Premium ($16) is made from 100% Plavac Mali from vineyards in Pelješac and the Dingač. It was fermented in stainless steel, aged for 6 months in large 3000L barrels, aged for another 6 months in the bottle, and has a 13% ABV. This is a lighter, easier drinking Plavac Mali, with plenty of tasty red and black fruit flavors, good acidity, and some subtle spice notes. This is an everyday wine, perfect on its own or with everything from pizza to burgers, tacos to salmon. 

The 2016 Vina Skaramuča Plavac Mali Dingac ($24) is a different style of Plavac Mali, a bigger, bolder version. It is 100% Plavac Mali, all organically grown, and using natural yeasts. It is aged for 12 months in large 3000L barrels, aged for another 6 months in the bottle, and has a 14% ABV. This wine tends more to richer, black fruit flavors, like plum and black cherry, with an ample spicy element, strong tannins, and a touch of earthiness. A lengthy finish, nicely balanced, and quite tasty. This is a wine to pair with hearty dishes, from steak to stews. Or some wild boar. 

How did you celebrate International Plavac Mali wine Day?

No comments: