Ahhh, Plavac Mali. The crowning jewel of Croatia’s wine scene. The most planted red variety in Croatia, Plavac Mali (plah-vatz mah-lee) is a cross between zinfandel and Dobričić. It calls the southern Dalmatian Coast home and can be found growing all over the Pelješac Peninsula (pel-ye-shots). Translated literally, Plavac means “blue” and Mali means “small.” These small grapes are grown both off the flat ground as well as on the incredibly steep slopes of the protected Dingač (ding-gatch) region. The wines produced from these grapes are incredibly powerful, high in tannins, and have a fruit forward profile that is matched with pepper and spice.
Dingač is an appellation (geographical region) that was designated and protected in 1961. This southern facing strip of the peninsula has inclines of over 40degrees! What makes this region so unique and fascinating?
It is entirely farmed by hand. The rocks are broken into smaller pieces and the vines are forced into the ground. From here, the roots dig deep into the rocky soil. As the roots draw water from deep in the ground, minerals are absorbed in the process, leading to the complexity and structure of this incredible wine. Additionally, nothing is irrigated and the result is a plant that only yields roughly 1kg of grapes per harvest.