2019 Frano Miloš, Plavac Mali
2019 Frano Miloš, Plavac Mali

2019 Frano Miloš, Plavac Mali

Pelješac Peninsula, Croatia 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$37.00

2019 Frano Miloš, Plavac Mali

Croatia is a full-blown wine destination now. Like many other ascendant wine nations of Central/Eastern Europe (Hungary; Romania), Croatia is a subject of fascination, and it’s not merely because the wines are “new” and different—but because they’re world class. Croatian vintners are excelling with whites and reds alike, and this 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 some visionary importers bringing the best of them to our shores. Don’t miss this opportunity to taste—and learn—something new!

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 Plavac Mali. He’s a charismatic figure and has no inhibitions about speaking his mind regarding Croatia’s winemaking scene, for better or worse. 

This 2019 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 (their top wine, “Stagnum,” is aged a minimum of 10 years before release). All wines are bottled unfiltered and only see minimal sulfur at bottling. 

But while it may be related to Zinfandel, no one’s going to confuse this peppery, medium-weight red for something from Lodi or Dry Creek: Medium ruby at its core, with a touch of garnet on the rim, this is a buoyant, peppery red. On the nose, it is truly Mediterranean (or, should we say, Adriatic), with notes of red fruits like baked strawberry, rhubarb, and a kiss of dried Damson plum. The palate builds on the intensity of the nose; the warm, baked fruits create a 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. Splash-decant this about 15-20 minutes before serving in Burgundy stems at a cool 60 degrees, giving its tannins a chance to air out a bit, and pair it with the Dalmatian specialty known as Pašticada (pronounced: pashtitsada). Don’t worry—it’s just a Croatian riff on beef stew. It’ll be easy and well worth it. Enjoy!

2019 Frano Miloš, Plavac Mali

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