Bura-Mrgudić 2018 'Fresh' Plavac Mali, Pelješac Peninsula, Dalmatia, Croatia

Bura-Mrgudić 2018 'Fresh' Plavac Mali, Pelješac Peninsula, Dalmatia, Croatia


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Bura-Mrgudić 2018 'Fresh' Plavac Mali, Pelješac Peninsula, Dalmatia, Croatia

  • Winemaker: Niko Bura
  • Farming: Organic
  • Varieties: Plavac Mali
  • Terroir: Mediterranean climate. Inland locations on Pelješac Peninsula, mostly flat and approximately 300 meters above sea level. Red soil with clay stones over a limestone base. 
  • Vinification: All grapes are strictly hand-harvested and then de-stemmed. Fermented separately in open vats with manual punchdowns with strictly only native yeasts, with 8 days of skin maceration. Aged for 4 months in stainless steel tanks and bottled after a coarse filtration.
  • Tasting Notes: A Medium-bodied and fresh red wine, with aromas of black currant, red cherry and fresh red flowers. Versatile for food pairing, and best enjoyed with a little chill!

From our January 2021 Bottle Club:

When was the last time you had a wine from Croatia? What about a wine that is a relative of the original Zinfandel?

Plavac Mali is that wine, and we’re so happy we’re tasting this with you. Croatia has been sort of lumped into the Eastern Europe wine region designation and often ignored, forgotten, and left only to the geekiest sommeliers or most adventurous wine lovers. The written language can look intimidating, the grape names seem impossible to pronounce (Crljenak Kaštelanski, anyone?), and a nearly 50-year history transitioning from a postwar Eastern Bloc, state-run reconstruction under Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito and then another period of war for independence from future war criminal Slobodan Milošević… well, there was not a lot of room for folks outside the area to easily find, or get their head around, quality Croatian wine.  But for all of that turmoil, people were still making wine in the gorgeous and perfectly-suited Mediterranean coast.

On the Dalmatian Coast, the Bura family has been making wine on the Pelješac Peninsula, just over an hours drive north from the great city of Dubrovnik, since 1860. But, as the tumultuous history of Croatia above would explain, the wine was not released commercially until 1995. The vineyards here are made of pure gravel, and the slopes of the vineyards reach a 50° grade, making machine harvesting impossible, so the family must do everything by hand. These slopes make the conditions for Plavac ideal, as, like its parent Zinfandel, it loves warm weather. The slope gives the vines day-long exposure to the sun's rays, the yellow gravel soils then reflect the sun’s rays back onto the vines, as does the nearby shimmering Mediterranean Ocean. These vines get HOT, but the acidity, which lifts the wine out of what, under a less deft hand, could be raisinated flab to a bright and crunchy place similar to a Beaujolais. Part of this lightness is a result also from Nico Buro’s attention in the winery- the grapes are completely destemmed, fermented in open vats with daily punchdowns, and then aged in stainless steel. The freshness is beyond a doubt the most attractive part of this wine.

This Plavac Mali’s emphasis is on fruity aromas, and slightly floral, with a lighter bodied than one would expect from a daughter of Zinfandel. There is also earth minerality, but the focus is on the fruit: fresh blueberries, dried currants, fresh plums, and summer cherries. When served slightly chilled, this is a red for grilled tuna steaks, smoked salmon, and bresole.

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