One-Donkey Dingač

Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe

There is a bit of confusion surrounding the wine producer, Dingač on the Pelješac Peninsula in Croatia. The issue primarily revolves around the fact that the major wine region in Pelješac is called Dingač and that this is also the name of this company. This in by itself wouldn’t be so bad except that several other winemakers in the area also make a wine which is called Dingač, because their wines are made from the high-quality grapes of this region. So, to clear this up once and for all, the wine producer, Dingač, is what’s left from the cooperative that was built there in 1982 for wine production in what was then, Yugoslavia, and the one that features a donkey logo in its wine labels.

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The cooperative had been actively producing wines before then, since about 1960. Today, they still function in a similar fashion wherein they buy the grapes from small, local farmers for large-scale wine production to the tune of 1.5 million liters a year. The big difference between now and before the fall of communism is that grape growers now have the choice of whether they want to sell their grapes to the cooperative or not.

In the end, this maybe doesn’t clear up the confusion, since one of the wines that the Dingač company produces is also called Dingač, to differentiate it from the other wines they produce from grapes grown in their vineyards not located in the dingač region, such as their Postup or Plavac.

bottleDuring our visit we tried four of their wines. There was the 2004 Plavac at 11.6% alcohol. It had a very dry body with a dry nose that had a hint of blackberry to it. Then there was the 2004 Pelješac with 11.9% alcohol. It had a similar nose to the Plavac, but the body was lighter with sharp berry tones that were a bit tart.

We then moved on to the “quality” level wines which are the mid-range wines. The 2004 Postup, made from grapes of a region to the north of Dingač, had a lovely mint and licorice nose to it, at 14.2% alcohol. There wre stronger fruits in the body, as well as a great smoothness to it. The finish was quite dry as we’ve found to be similar in other Postups.

We finished with their namesake, the Dingač. The 2004 has 14.1% alcohol and that extra heat to the wine goes a long way to making it a deeper wine. The nose has similar berry aromas like the other wines we tasted, but also has a good deal of tobacco. The body is very smooth and that texture pulls all the way through the taste and in to the finish. Overall, this wine has a much stronger earthiness to it than a standard Plavac (Dingač is made from Plavac grapes) and there is a leafy quality to the wine that you can both smell and taste.