Little Blue Gem
About the Wine Maker
An hour's drive north of the stunning walled city of Dubrovnik, the Pelješac Peninsula extends roughly 40 miles out into the Adriatic. Its extremely steep hill sides are covered in pine forest, olive trees, figs, herbs, and head-trained vines. The precipitous south facing sea cliff vineyards of Dingač are Croatia’s first protected wine region and the most famous site for Plavac, having a history of wine making going back 1000's of years. Vinarija (winery) Dingač takes its name from this special site. It was founded in 1937 by 550 winegrowing households contributing as one collective, and since the privatisation which followed the fall of Communism in the 1990's, the number has dropped to 300, but their challenges and successes are still shared.
The Dingač ‘Plavac’ is sourced from grapes grown in the fertile interior Župa Valley. Motorised vehicles and mechanical harvesting are impossible and its for this reason that the stubborn donkey adorns the Vinarija Dingač labels and without whom, grape cultivation here would not have been possible. The near constant exposure to the sun, reflective heat from the Adriatic, drainage in the rocky soil and the cooling “Bura” winds create a perfectly suited terroir for these head-trained and dry farmed vines.
About the Wine
Plavac Mali is a cross between ancestral Zinfandel (known locally as Crljenak Kaštelanski) and Dobričić grapes, and is the primary red wine grape grown along the Dalmatian coast. The name refers to the small blue grapes that the vines produce: in Croatian "Plavo" means blue and "Mali" means small.
Constant sunshine beating down on local herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano imparts a sweet menthol like herbaceousness to Plavac grown along the Dalmatian Coast. “Plavac” is a classic expression of lighter weight Plavac Mali (pronounced (Pla-vatz Molly). While there are rugged notes of dried figs, plums and rosehips, the weight is Gamay-like, but with Plavac’s wild edge. In 2010 a portion of Postup made its way into the wine elevating the alcohol to 12.5% and giving its characteristic “freškina” note (scent of the sea).
This wine goes well with any food but best of all with anything Mediterranean.