Log In Sign Up

Frano Miloš, Plavac MaliPelješac Peninsula, Croatia 2017 (750mL)

The Daily Offer

Frano Miloš, Plavac Mali Pelješac Peninsula, Croatia 2017 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

When international travel opens back up for real again, I’ll bet there will be a lot of people with Croatia—and especially its spectacular Dalmatian Coast—first on their “must-go” lists. There will be lots of wine geeks among them, because Croatia is a full-blown wine destination now. For me and most other sommeliers I know, Croatia (and other ascendant wine nations of Central/Eastern Europe, like Hungary and Romania) is a subject of fascination: And it’s not merely because the wines are “new” and different, but because they’re world class.


Croatia is excelling with whites and reds alike, and today’s red from Miloš has the added benefit of some international star power since it was discovered that the Plavac Mali grape—Croatia’s most-planted red variety—is one of Zinfandel’s long-lost cousins. As grown on the Pelješac Peninsula in Dalmatia, Plavac Mali offers up a tantalizing combination of dark fruit, exotic spice, and classic European-style freshness, and we’re fortunate to have a new wave of intrepid importers bringing the best of them to our shores. So, until such time as you get to see the place firsthand, be grateful you get to taste it in this masterful 2017 from Miloš. If Croatian reds weren’t on your radar before, this will fix that once and for all.



Despite its size (smaller than the state of Maine), Croatia’s wine history extends well beyond many famous regions. For more than 2,000 years, the country has produced an abundance of world-class wine from indigenous grape varieties. However, with phylloxera in the late 1800s, only their 30th year of independence from Yugoslavia (1991) and recent entrance into the EU (2013) has largely held the country’s wines back from world view—until very recently. Between the country’s 2nd place finish in the 2018 World Cup and the filming of “Game of Thrones,” Croatia’s wine business has garnered a new degree of attention in tandem with the skyrocketing levels of tourism. Not that there’s so much Croatian wine to go around—overall, the country’s total vineyard acreage is less than that of the Napa Valley.


Croatia’s wine regions can be divided between three major areas: the warmer interior of continental Croatia (bordering Hungary, Slovenia, etc), the western, mountainous interior (between Slovenia and Bosnia), and the coastal region, across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. However, with 3,600 miles of coastline, this region alone contains countless microclimates, including the Pelješac (“Pel-yah-shatz”) Peninsula at the southern tip of the country, home to legendary Miloš.


Frano Miloš (“Mee-loash”) is a standard-bearer for quality vine growing and winemaking in Croatia. With 500 years of family history informing him, Frano is a force on the Croatian wine scene and is widely known as one of the top producers of Plavic Mali. Frano, a vivacious and outspoken character, adheres to a strict focus on quality in the vineyard and winery, and has no inhibitions about speaking his mind regarding Croatia’s winemaking scene, for better or worse. 


Today’s 2017 is sourced from 15 hectares of steep, 45-degree vineyards planted on limestone-rich soils. Plavac Mali is an offspring of Crljenak Kaštelansk (Zinfandel) and Dobričić, from which it derives its ability to thrive in the heat of the Mediterranean. The Plavac is fermented naturally and matured entirely in large neutral Slavonian barrels for two years, followed by two additional years of bottle aging. Meaning, their entry-level wine is aged longer than most of the top wines in the region (The top wine, “Stagnum,” is aged a minimum of 10 years before release). All wines are bottled unfiltered and only see minimal sulfur at bottling. 


The 2017 Plavac Mali shows a medium-plus ruby at the core with a touch of garnet on the rim. On the nose, this wine is truly Mediterranean: boisterous, sun-kissed red fruits of baked strawberry, rhubarb, and a kiss of dried Damson plum. On the palate this wine builds on the intensity of the nose; the warm, baked fruits create a buoyant, juicy entry that gives way to a rush of crushed red fruit acidity with gritty, Nebbiolo-like tannins on the finish. As it opens over time, darker fruits emerge with deeper undercurrents of rugged Mediterranean herbs in the form of bay laurel, sage, and briny green olive. It’s delicious right now, but will absolutely reward with age over the next 7-10 years and beyond. Given the immense value/quality ratio and incredible ageability offered with this wine, I highly recommend purchasing at least six bottles and stowing a few away in your cellar. 


Open and decant this wine 20-30 minutes prior to consuming and serve slightly above cellar temperature (60-65) degrees in a Burgundy stem. Keep this versatile wine in your arsenal for the upcoming seasonal shift, as it will come in handy with a variety of preparations. You can go the traditional route and pair this alongside Peka, a national Croatian dish composed of meat, vegetables, herbs, and EVOO baked in a dome-like dish. Alternatively, take advantage of your grill during the last days of summer with one of my new favorite summer/fall combinations: plantains and parsnips. Roast these whole (or mash together after cooked) with salt, pepper, paprika, and EVOO and serve alongside a grilled New York strip (or even seafood!).




Frano Miloš, Plavac Mali Pelješac Peninsula, Croatia 2017 - SommSelect

  • CountryCroatia
  • RegionPelješac Peninsula
  • SoilSandy Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendPlavac Mali
  • Alcohol13.7%
  • OakNeutral Slavonian Barrels
  • Service Temp.60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkNow-2030+
  • Decanting20-30 Minutes
  • PairingLamb Peka

  • CountryCroatia
  • RegionPelješac Peninsula
  • SoilSandy Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendPlavac Mali
  • Alcohol13.7%
  • OakNeutral Slavonian Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2030+
  • Decanting20-30 Minutes
  • PairingLamb Peka