Last month’s Dirty Dozen was a resounding hit in large part due to the inclusion of wine from Croatia, Hungary and Macedonia. TWH carries inventory of wine from Central and Eastern Europe regularly, as our own personal interest in these wines and our customers’ taste for something new supports delving into these lesser-known wine regions. The emphasis on indigenous varietals, preserving age-old winemaking traditions, and the overall quality of wine from these areas are the attraction for adventurous palates. For your consideration, I have selected one white from Bosnia Herzegovina and one red from Croatia; both newly arrived and absolutely delicious! 

 

 



260787The 2010 Žilavka Greda from Brkić is the first wine I have ever tasted from Bosnia Herzegovina. That alone, quite honestly, was enough to get me excited, but it was the aroma and taste that had me ordering the wine on the spot.
 This white is fermented on the skins, so the color is light amber. Not at all funky like some orange wines, the Gredahas a softness to it with notes of honey and bay leaf. The skin contact fermentation lends structure and depth. After fermentation the wine sits on its lees in large oak cask for two years! The 2010 is the current vintage. Low in alcohol, it can go it alone or it can be the perfect foil for a wide array of food match ups. The proprietor and winemaker Josip Brkić took over the domaine from his father who planted the vineyards in the late ’70’s. The vineyards are situated on the limestone plateaus of Čitluk in southern Herzegovina. The native Žilavka thrives in the temperate climate and limestone soils of this region. Josip Brkić has converted to biodynamic practices and uses only native yeast for fermentation. I find the combination of honeyed, nutty flavors, that whisper of bay leaf and tingling acidity a delightful tasting experience. 

 

 

2010 Brkic Zilavka Greda

White Wine; other white varietal; Other International;
$19.98
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260789Winemaker Frano Miloš is passionate about Plavac Mali, the indigenous red varietal that is commonly grown along the coastal vineyards of Dalmatia in southern Croatia along the Pelješac Peninsula. His family has been producing wine for over 500 years. Working only with Plavac Mali (a progeny of the ancient grape Crljenak Kaštelanski which is genetically identical to what is known as Zinfandel is the US), Frano Miloš takes this robust red grape that struggles to grow in the Dolomite limestone, battered by wind and intense summer heat and makes a complex, deeply fruited wine that is characterized by minerality and elegant tannins. Like at Brkić, only native yeast fermentation is used. The 2009 Plavac was aged in used large Slavonian oak barrels for two years before bottling. It is a youthful and powerful red that has the capacity to age. Plavac Mali can be described as having the intensity of fruit like Zinfandel, but with structure more like old world Gamay. It is a viscerally satisfying red wine that matches brilliantly with cold weather dishes like stews and braises. I have included a tasting note from the winemaker below that I can’t top. 

 

 

2009 Milos Plavac

Red Wine; other red varietal; Croatia;
$19.98
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“This wine is a pure reflection of variety and terroir from which it comes. It is typical for the Pelješac peninsula and our style of wine. It has a very thick aromatic profile with dark fruit, minerals, herbal notes with sage domination. Deep and slow to open. The flavor is rich and concentrated, balanced with soft natural tannins. Elegant and long living.” 

 

 

It is the first weekend of 2014. I am grateful I made it to this point, though I still have left one kid birthday party to throw for my daughter tomorrow and then a traditional Russian Christmas Eve /”real” birthday on Monday. Then, I pray, I can rest a bit. I have tossed out self-improvement resolutions in favor of New Year’s wine resolutions. For 2014, I will highlight more of our Central and Eastern European wine selections in newsletters, take time out to visit local wineries, and drink more aged wine from my cellar. Now THAT I have a good chance of accomplishing. Sretna nova godina!!! –Anya Balistreri