Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe
The beginning of tastes from Andrija Carić
We have visited many of the formerly state-owned, large cooperatives that were remnants of the Communist area until they were sold off in to private hands. Our treatment has ranged from pleasant to here’s our boot and there’s the door. Svirče on Hvar has changed all this, because despite the fact they are a big producer (700,000 to one million bottles a year), they were very inviting and were great people to sit and talk about the wine production on this very touristic island.
These guys are the biggest producer on Hvar and if you’re a grower there and not selling your grapes to Plenković, Tomić, or Plančić, then you’re most likely selling to Svirče. Even though they could let this go to their head, they don’t and they know how to make some really good wines, which naturally, we had a good taste of. Actually, it was a great taste of nearly everything they produce, which we’ll sum up with some of the shining examples showing that big wine making can make great wines.
Their 2005 Plavac Hvar is a light wine at 12.2% alcohol that has quite a light nose. Despite the $6 price tag, it’s a nice wine that’s easy to drink through to the finish. While nothing about it really rallies any cheers, it worked as a great lead in to the Plavac Barrique 2001, which is just slightly more expensive at $9, but is much more complex. There is more spice and a touch of tasty leather to the nose. The body is dry and smooth, maybe with a little smoked ham as an undertone. The overall texture is very buttery, but when it comes to the finish, the dryness comes out.
Despite the dominance of Korčula in Pošip production, the folks at Svirče make one that is grown from the grapes on Hvar. It’s good with a stronger nose than standard Korčula Pošip. There is also a taste of raspberry to it, which was surprising and as it opens up more, a little bit of pear comes in to the picture.
One of the last wines we tasted was the 2003 Ivan Dolac Exclusive EKO. It’s almost cruel to talk about the wine because it is amazing and because of that, intertwined with limited production, naturally almost impossible to find. It has rich oak and tobacco on the nose. Due to the amount of sun the grapes get, there is higher sugar which translates in to a body that is dry, but full of meat. There are subtle berry tones in to the finish and it is flat-out amazing.
We would like to thank the Svirče people for not only changing our perception of former cooperatives, but also sharing some outstanding wines with us.