I just read a great blog post on The Gray Report http://blog.wblakegray.com/2012/11/the-two-americas-of-premium-wine.html about the Prestige/Intrigue divide with wine buyers in the $15 and up price category. The post suggests that there are two major types of wine buyers once you get out of the bargain basement. The first group is all about big scores and fame - the Prestige group. The second is drawn more to unique and interesting wines - the Intrigue group. I find myself much more in the Intrigue group. Although I have certain go to varietals and regions that I buy regularly, I am always looking for something new and interesting. If its from an unknown or little known wine region - all the better. I love discovering new regions to explore through wine. Today's wine absolutely fits that bill. It's a Plavac Mali from the Peljesac Peninsula in Croatia.
The 2008 Frano Milos Plavac is made from grapes grown in a peninsula on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. For those who are geographically challenged, imagine going a little south and then east from Tuscany in Italy to the Adriatic Sea and then go directly across the sea to Croatia. You'll find yourself smack in the middle of Frano Milos' coastal vineyards, where his family has been making wine for 500 years. The grapes themselves are indigenous to Croatia and resulted from the crossbreeding of Zinfandel (known as Crljenak Kaštelanski in Croatia) and Dobricic, another Croatian grape. The wine is aged in Slavonian oak, none of which is new, and is unfined and unfiltered.
In your glass the wine is a deep garnet red in color. The bouquet has a lot going on and is hard to define. There is cherry fruit, but beyond that I get a lot of spice elements, especially a very pleasant cinnamon as well as some very interesting elements that I frankly struggled to define. On the palate, you get much of the same along with fantastic acidity and mild tannins. The finish is very nice and has some decent length. Overall, this is a truly intriguing wine that is very multi-dimensional. For a price in the mid $20's you get something very unique, interesting, and delicious.
From a pairing standpoint, this wine could go so many ways, although with Thanksgiving approaching, its got me thinking that it could go very well with all the different elements that make up a traditional turkey dinner.
If this wine in intriguing to you, you can find it online at http://www.bluedanubewine.com/ This is a great website with interesting wines from Croatia, Hungary, and Austria among other interesting wine regions. Check it out and try something new and different.