As you drive up and down the Croatian coast and up into the Karst ridden hinterlands of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is one constant smell: the combination of herbs and rocks. What “Garrigue” is to the French, “Friškina” is to the Balkans – herbs, rocks and salt baking under the sun. It’s also oddly refreshing. Maybe it’s the ocean air, and maybe it’s the super counterintuitive acidity of the wines and olive oils. Whatever it is, very few smells trigger our olfactory memory so violently. We want Brudet (fish stew), Crni Rižoto (squid ink risotto), octopus cooked under “Peka,” Palačinka (crepes) filled with small fish, and everything bathed in Dalmatian olive oil. Focusing on the Dalmatian coast with a quick jump into Bosnia and Herzegovina (Istrian and Slavonian wines arrive in June), please consider these wines as ideal lubricates for our transition into Spring. Starting on the Island of Korčula off the Southern Dalmatian Coast, three new Pošips from Frano Banicević’s Toreta winery. Pošip is a white grape that can muster a ton of acidity and alcohol if left unchecked. Farmed well on the windy island it can produce salty, aromatic and lively wines. From stainless steel to acacia fermented, … Continue reading Balkan Wine Box
Another contribution from our friend, BIBICh wine lover Marcy Gordon: Lučica, Lučica! How do I love thee Lučica, let me count the ways… 1) Produced by the master Alen Bibić. 2) My beloved Debit grape indigenous to Croatia. 3) The first Bibich wine I fell in love with. (The rest all followed quickly) 4) Always surprises me. 5) Orange is not the only wine, but it could be for me. (subtle Jeanette Winterson reference –google it) 6) Every sip transports me to Skradin. Thank you Alen Bibic for making Lučica! #Lučia #Bibich #winesofcroatia #wine #croatia #Skradin #orange #orangewine #bluedanubewine #dalmatia #winesofdalmatia #BibichWinery #BIBICh The BIBICh Lučica 2015 is a 100% Debit from old vines planted by Alen Bibić’s grandfather. It’s Alen’s special wine, macerated on the skins for two weeks, and fermented with natural yeast in French oak barrels for more than a year. It’s a serious age-worthy wine, evoking scents of Mediterranean dried herbs and the salty sea breeze and it’s also delicious right now. Ask Marcy!
15 wines is a lot to get through without losing you after this sentence. However, there is a salty, tart, and often nutty line that connects them all from the Bay of Trieste down to Southern Dalmatia. These are our table wines for the summer. For the past few years, we’ve brought the Martinčič Cviček liter in from Dolenjsko (in between Zagreb and Ljubljana in Slovenia). This tongue-twisting blend of red and white grapes must be between 8.5-10% alcohol and dry by law. Now we are finally adding two more liters to round things out – the 2016 Modra Frankinja (Blaufränkisch) and 2016 Modri Pinot Rosé (Pinot Noir). They are both around 11-11.5% alcohol, incredibly low in SO2, and are impossibly fresh and full of character. Chill all three down and let them come up at the table. Roughly 2 hours West and a bit south by car and you hit Istria (Istra in Slovenia). Dominated by Malvasia Istarska, Teran and Refošk, the diversity by soil and proximity to the Adriatic is immense. Keeping with the liter theme, the 2016 Santomas LNG Refošk is our Dolcetto by the sea in that it satisfies the pizza/pasta needs but still lends itself … Continue reading The Tart, Salty and the Nutty from the other side of the Adriatic: Summer Wines from the Balkans
Everyone agrees: The BIBICh Debit from the 2015 vintage is particularly awesome! Here is what wine professional Kerry Winslow has to say about it over at Grapelive: The stainless steel fermented and aged Debit comes from rocky dry farmed and head trained vines, the warm days and sea cooled nights gives this wine its poise and flavor filled vitality it bursts from the glass with citrus, white flowers and tropical notes with a hint of flinty spice and wet stones. Bright tangerine, melon and peach lead the way along with mango, lemon/lime, basil leaf and a nice dry saltiness. This is a pleasing crisp wine with a nice balance of juicy fruit and brisk elements, great with sea food, salads and just plain summer sipping! Debit is an interesting grape, it hasn’t been studied, though some claim it might be related to Italy’s Trebbiano, I find it more similar to Pecorino, and it drinks a little like a fine Soave, though less floral, the terroir influence makes it unique and clearly Bibich has it nailed, this is lovely stuff. 91 Points, grapelive You should read the whole tasting note here. And here is an Instagram review from sommelier Cliff Rames … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #51: BIBICh Debit
Broken down by wine Instagrammer Michael Trainor aka @awordtothewine. Michael is a “high energy guitar playing glorified wino with an intense curiosity and passion for all living things” based in Los Angeles. Be sure to follow him and his poetry! 2011 Bibich Lučica To the EYE: Lučica is liquid gold. Uptown elegance. The belle of the ball. On the NOSE: working class rust, dried herbs. A bit of Vermouth. In the MOUTH: elegant and graceful. Salty ocean spray. Broken skin of fallen fruit. Citrusy finish, lemony orangey zest. Lučica was a stitch in time. Evokes memories. An example of a wine that may take you someplace you’ve never been.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently reviewed a number of wines in their Wine for Every Occasion section. The good news is that they like the Bibich Debit a great deal. The bad news (or maybe the expected news) is that they found the name a bit humorous. Not to be surprised as the first time I saw a bottle of Debit I wondered what it meant. From my background in Croatian, I assume it comes from “debeo” which means “fat or thick” which is fitting given that it’s a very tasty, full-bodied white wine. Of course, I could be completely wrong on this and am more than willing to stand corrected.
Over a summer, two travelers drink their way through the wines of Mediterranean Europe Alante – The Restaurant. This is a continuation of Part 1 where we talked about the history and how Bibich winery came about. Now, let’s get in to the fun of the wines we tasted. The Bodulski We started with the Debit 2006. It’s a very fresh white wine with a peachy nose and a slight bit of acidity. The finish has a bit of dryness that moves more in to some mineral tones as it breathes. Moreover, the wine does very well when chilled a bit, as there are sweet tones that come out from it, that you don’t taste unless at the proper temperature. We then moved in to the another white, the Debit Lučica 2005, which is actually very hard to come by because it sells out fast with just 1,800 bottles produced. There is a bit more citrus to the nose and a lovely, natural honey tones. The nose slips right in to the body, but loses a bit of the honey. This tricky honey part then comes back to great you again in the finish. The wine cleans up wonderfully and … Continue reading An Evening with Alen Bibić Part 2