As a life-long fan of Croatia and Croatian wines, I had the pleasure of an in-depth conversation with Prof. Bernard Kozina, is a director of the ROTA vineyard and viticulture lecturer at the University of Zagreb in Croatia (http://www.agr.unizg.hr/en/address-book/216/bernard-kozina ).
Bernard is not just an academic specialising in viticulture as he also works with Mladen Lukšić at ROTA to produce 50,000 bottles of Plavic Mali wine from a vineyard established in 2005/6 on the narrow peninsula of Peljesac north of Dubrovnik in the Dalmatian region of Croatia.
The Plavic Mali vineyard is heavily influenced by the sea, the steepness of the Rota mountain and the wine is very characteristic of the Mediterranean, pine and karst influences. Whilst the steepness of the slopes were initially challenging to Bernard, they have proved to be one of the founding characteristics of the vineyard.
Plavic Mali is the Croatian native grapevine variety and it performs well in Rota. Of the other Plavic Mali’s I tasted both at the London Wine Fair, and in the past, this wine comes with a more in-depth earthy & wholesome body, with an herby, flowery taste. Notes of chocolate, rosemary and lavender came to mind. Interestingly, Rota recommend decanting for about an hour and I suggest you could use the WineWeaver to speed up this tense waiting time.
As an aside, we also spoke about the beers at this year’s Wine Fair, as we found we had shared passion for the Croatian Beer (PIVO) Tomislav. Tomislav brewed in Zagreb area, named after the first king of Croatia, has strength of 7.3%ABV (was once 7.4%ABV.) Bernard told me his wife worked for the brewery that produced it, and production was in limited batches, hence you can’t find it everywhere in Croatia. So if you like beer and see it, I recommend that you try it.