Those are words you should rarely – if ever – expect me to write (the BCLB part). But, I would be remiss in my duty to alert you to the best deals if I didn’t tell you about this Stina wine, coming soon to a BC liquor store near you (summer, 2017).
There is 2,500+ years of wine making history in Croatia, but after phylloxera, communism, and then the war with Serbia, the wine culture and business we are now starting to benefit from is really only about 25 years young. Stina itself was only established in 2009.
Direct Wines has been selling Stina products in BC since about 2014. Their premium wines are delicious, but also pricey for the average consumer.
So, the challenge to build a quality-focused Croatian wine category, and make the wines accessible to the average drinker, has been hard – even more so if you understand how imported wines are taxed to death in BC.
So, what of this wine, you ask? Direct Wines and Stina have partnered to create this red cuvée of 70% Plavac Mali and 10% each Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. You know the last three, but what is Plavac Mali? Translated as ‘Little Blue,’ it’s a common Croatian grape and the offspring of Zinfandel (Crljenak Kaštelanski).
Plavac is one helluva grape to grow – it requires incredible heat to ripen and only grows in tiny bunches, so the yields are ridiculously low. Stina’s Plavac grows on the super steep south-facing side of the island of Brač, making it a logistical and expensive nightmare to harvest as everything has to be done by hand.
The effort has been worth it. Think of this as a stepping stone to the higher quality Stina and other Croatian wines that will be coming to this market. On the eyes, it’s translucent ruby with aromas of plum, cherry and a little green pepper.
The palate is dry with good acidity and even tannins that allow the wine to be enjoyed on its own or with a steak, as we did. Flavours show ripe red plum, black cherry, cracked pepper, more green pepper and grass.
The finish was remarkable for this excellent ROI wine. It was deliciously interesting – not heavy or manipulated. It stood up to our meat and at the same time was elegant and versatile.
WSET Very Good – and offers rock star quality for your dollar. They’ll be in the BC liquor stores summer, 2017 – alongside the Stina White Cuvée (C$20), the Zlatan Otok Babic from Dalmatia (C$35), the Kozlovic Teran from Istria (C$35), and the Vina Laguna Malvazija (C$20) from Istria. Eventually they will be available across Canada.