Balkan Wine Box

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

#WineWednesday Spotlight #136: Miloš Stagnum

A couple of months ago, Cliff Rames, founder of Wines of Croatia and also Contributing-Editor-at-Large for The SOMM Journal, led the SommCon San Diego attendees though a Wines of Croatia presentation, pointing out the connection between Croatia and California and recalling the quest for Zinfandel’s origins: Geographically, Croatia appeared to be a plausible source and once researchers began testing, they found numerous varieties that shared Zinfandel’s genetic material—including Plavac Mali. After years of study, they traced an exact match: seven vines that were locally called Crljenak Kaštelanski (historically known as Tribidrag) in the Dalmatian region of coastal Croatia. Plavac Mali, native to the Adriatic Coast, is the offspring of Tribidrag and Dobričić. The region’s extremely dry conditions and lack of irrigation make viticulture difficult and Plavac Mali was preferred over Zinfandel. Cliff presented the Miloš Stagnum 2007 to showcase how well Plavac Mali can age despite its low acidity and higher alcohol content: Intriguing aromas of mint, clove, and mushroom. On the palate, notes of bay leaf and green figs mingle around a tannic core of light roasted coffee, mint, chocolate, and plum pudding. A fascinating wine considering its maturity. We just received the Miloš Stagnum 2008, also a very … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #136: Miloš Stagnum

#WineWednesday Spotlight #115: Miloš Rosé

I served the Miloš Rosé 2016 for Thanksgiving last week and wow, this was one of the best pairings ever! Especially with the cranberry sauce, but also with the bitter greens, the gravy, the chestnuts, and of course the turkey. This is a pretty hearty wine, made from old Plavac Mali vines grown on the steep terraced slopes of the Pelješac Peninsula, and it can really stand up to all kinds of richly flavored food. This is also one of our friend Marcy’s favorite Rosés. She still remembers when we tasted it on the Mali Ston’s harbour with briny oysters: A toast to the last day of summer with this beautiful Rosé from Miloš in Croatia. It smells like Croatia — of ancient vines in limestone vineyards caressed by sun and sea. Reminds me of the spectacular lunch in Ston we enjoyed with the Miloš brothers, our table filled with Ston oysters and other delights of the sea alongside many bottles of Miloš wine. What a day! #rosé #croatia #miloswinery #miloš #wine #bluedanubewine #plavacmali #bluedanubewine #rosèallyear For sure you can drink this Rosé all year long. Plus now is oyster season so what are you waiting for?

#WineWednesday Spotlight #102: Miloš Stagnum

The Oxford University Wine Circle is the oldest student wine society in the world. Since 1962, it has organized frequent tastings and dinners for its members and their guests, bringing top quality producers to the university of Oxford. One of the society’s recent tastings featured a 1961 Aloxe-Corton, a 1995 Corton-Charlemagne, a 2003 Opus One and a 2003 Miloš Stagnum: So a couple of (opposite) ’03s.. ’03 Stagnum Milos.. against a ’03 Opus One… Well, we also had a 1961 Aloxe-Corton (rubbish) and a wonderful ’95 Corton-Charlemagne.. . Par for the course.. The Milos won! Goddamn, this Croatian wine is good! I really hope my subscribers get a chance to taste it! . . #croatia #plavacmali #milos The Stagnum is quite a special wine. Sourced from organic 30-year-old Plavac Mali vines planted on steep, dry-farmed terraced vineyards, it is fermented with wild yeasts, and aged in old Slavonian oak barrel for three years. The wine is rich and powerful with well structured tannins and it is definitively age-worthy. Is it the First Cult Wine of Croatia? Check this video from Exotic Wine Travel: We’re sold out of the 2003 but the 2007 vintage is still available, hurry up!

#WineWednesday Spotlight #93: Miloš Plavac

Our new Dalmatian container is coming soon with brand new vintages from the Miloš winery! The Miloš family has been making full bodied Plavac from the rugged coastal vineyards of Pelješac Peninsula in for over 500 years. Today, the wines are certified organic, made with minimal intervention and totally aged worthy. Wine lover and blogger Nenad Trifunović just reviewed the Miloš Plavac 2013 on his blog Dnevnik Vinopije (Diary of the Wine-Drinker): I still feel the playful fruit, the smell of ripe grapes harvested in the vineyard. I can see the bees and wasps sticking in the air filled with smells. While in the glass, the wine gradually releases figs and roasted almonds aromas. On the palate, the wine is well balanced. Clearly, the tannins are present, rubbing the palate but also associated with beautiful fresh balsamic notes. Ready to enjoy and ready for storage. Try the new Miloš wines on our webshop

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia: A Detox to Retox Adventure!

Stefani Jackenthal is an adventure travel & wine journalist. She likes to write about outdoor activities in wine regions, seeking out sporty, sipping travel destinations. Her latest article about her vacation in Dalmatia, was published in the Huffington Post. Her first producer visit was at Miloš Winery: Our first stop was Miloš Winery, a family-run operation near the Neretva River. Ivan Miloš, one of three winemakers, showed me around the winery and stone caves, explaining their dedication to organic methods and bio diversity. We continued our conversation at the wooden table in the cozy tasting room, as I sampled a handful of wines. I particularly enjoyed the premier Stagnum line, made from Plavac Mali grown on 35-year old vines. Wines spend several years in barrel and bottle before release. The Stagnum 2007 (released in 2015) pleased with chocolate covered cherries, menthol and restrained tannins. While, the Stagnum 2005 was a powerhouse with herbal red fruit aromas and holiday spice, stewed fruit full-body. At the end, Ivan pulled out 1994 Plavic Mali, preserved with a homemade Coravin. The 22-year old wine presented a beefy nose, delicate tannins and complex mocha medium body. It was surprisingly fresh and frisky. Read more about … Continue reading Dalmatian Coast, Croatia: A Detox to Retox Adventure!

#WineWednesday Spotlight #66: Miloš Plavac with Oysters

Since it’s oysters season, here is a contribution from Blue Danubian Stetson Robbins. It comes from a blog post he wrote a while ago. Since then, nothing has changed: he is still crazy for oysters and Plavac! Recently, my mom made friends with a favorite local oysterman. It was rumored that his were the best, so for this most recent visit she order 3½ dozen for just 4 of us. The guy hand delivered his day’s catch to the door. Most were these deliciously fresh, even sweet locally farmed ‘America’ oysters, but the real treat were the dozen strongly flavored wild Belon. Forgoing the typical compliment of Muscadet, or Chablis, I selected something more appropriate for the season. After all, in Maine, winter is the best season for oysters; so why should we drink summer wine? Peljesac wines are some of the most transparent expressions of place and people being bottled today. Paradoxically, it is this individuality that enables them to relate so brilliantly to the culinary traditions of other places. For me, winter oysters in Maine will never be complete without some hearty Plavac. This makes the world feel smaller, but in a good way. In fact, people have … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #66: Miloš Plavac with Oysters

#WineWednesday Spotlight #54: Dingač Dingač

A special issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine featured conversations and tastings with 50 sommeliers, critics and wine educators. One of the articles was an interview of Beverage Director & Wine Buyer John Aranza by the magazine’s wine writer Tara Q. Thomas: “Dingac is to Croatia as Chianti is to Tuscany,” Aranza says. The country’s first officially recognized appellation, it sits on the west coast of the Pelješac Peninsula, the vineyards perched high up on cliffs at such extreme angles that donkey-pulled carts are the only vehicles allowed among the vines. Old vines and warm, southern Mediterranean climate mark the flavors of this wine, “very ripe, with lush fruit, exotic spices and smoke, all entangled with a backbone of acid,” Aranza says. “Dingac has always been the finest wine of Croatia. I’ve had vintages eighteen years old still showing beautifully. If there’s a defining wine for Croatia, it’s this grape and place.” Read the whole article here and click here to buy and enjoy one of the finest wines of Croatia!

#WineWednesday Spotlight #36: Miloš Stagnum Rosé

Contributed by Croatian wine writer Nenad Trifunović. Nenad is based in Zagreb and writes regularly about wines, in particular those from Croatia, on his blog Dnevnik Vinopije (Wine Drinker Journal). To learn more read our interview with him. 2015 Miloš Stagnum Rosé Blood orange by color and scent. Pomegranate in the mouth, with its astringent vegital refreshment. A resemblance that transcends aromatic associations, Stagnum rosé is “white” juice of a noble red variety. One that is easy drinkable and full of freshness, with integrated acidity. A juice which refreshes since there is no sweetness whatsoever. Except in the aromatic sense because those sure are fruity enough, but also very much like tea. There’s tannin, evenly spread like a herbal component in pitted juice, an indicator of not over-processed fruit. Alcohol (13,5%) is invisible, carefully integrated, present only as a transferor of information, a persuasive witness of a proper wine in the glass and not a fruit juice. Stagnum Rosé is so impressive and incredibly subtle. It can be simply enjoyed, but can also be seen as an example of paradox. Those who seek depth will wait for Stagnum Rosé a bit, to toughen exposed to air and to approach its … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #36: Miloš Stagnum Rosé

#WineWednesday Spotlight #21: Dingač Postup

Contributed by Marcy Gordon, CA based wine and travel writer, founder of Writing Between the Vines. Get along little donkey… 2009 Donkey Dingač Postup from Vinarija Dingač in Pelješac Peninsula, Croatia. This is a juicy spicy kick of dark fruits with bright acidity and firm tannins. There are two protected wine growing regions in southern Dalmatia– Postup and Dingač. And it can get a little confusing with regard to the varietal names. While this wine is made of 100% Plavac Mali grapes the wine is called Postup, after the wine-growing region on the Pelješac Peninsula. Also confusing is that Dingač is the name of both the region and the winery, a former communist co-op from the time when the area was still known as Yugoslavia. The donkey on the label is not only cute, but symbolic of the rugged lands and steep slopes in which the vines grow, making hand harvesting a necessity. But despite all the confusing names one thing is perfectly clear — the wine is delicious. It’s spicy and concentrated with a meatiness and hint of sage. Surprisingly it doesn’t drink like it’s 14.6 AVB! It’s bright indeed, but not hot. I love it and can’t wait … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #21: Dingač Postup