Five Croatian wineries and 12 wines earn high marks from Wine Enthusiast
by Srecko Mavrek
Last week, the Croatian Wine Alliance, a group of global teams promoting Croatian wines, reported that Wine Enthusiast, one of the leading US wine publications with international ratings, awarded five Croatian wineries and 12 wines with scores over 90 points highlighting consistent quality of Croatian winemaking.
The top three include the all-time highest 97 points for Saints Hills 2016 Ernest Tolj Plavac Mali Dingač, 95 for Saints Hills 2017 St. Lucia Plavac Mali, and 95 points for Volarević 2018 Platinum Plavac Mali.
“Everyone within the Croatian Wine Alliance is delighted that Croatian winemakers are being rewarded for the quality of native varieties, and we encourage wineries to continue submitting their wines to major global rankings and competitions,” said Mirena Bagur. , head of the Croatian Wine Alliance. , and founder of Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc., importer and online retailer with more than 70 Croatian wines. “Per Wine Enthusiast rules, all wines must be available for purchase in the United States and they ship to most states.”
“We are honored to have our wines recognized by this globally impactful magazine,” said Ernest Tolj, owner of Saints Hills Wine Estate, Croatia. “A few years ago, it was unthinkable for Croatian wines to score more than 91 or 92 points, because the understanding of our native varieties was limited. With persistent work on marketing, promotions and tastings specifically of Plavac Mali which deserves worldwide attention, our St. Roko and Dingač St. Lucia wines started to get 93, 94 and 95 points, which was a sign that things change. Now, with 97 pts for Ernest Tolj Plavac Mali Dingač 2016, the bar is raised. The sky is the limit, and that motivates us even more.
The five wineries rated with over 90 points by Wine Enthusiast in the August/September issue of the Buyer’s Guide are:
Holy Hills: various names
Dingac: 97 to 2016 Ernest Tolj Plavac Mali Dingač; 95 to 2017 Saint Lucia Plavac Mali; 93 to 2017 Black Plavac Mali
Istria: 94 to 2020 The Number Chardonnay; 93 to 2021 Mala Nevina (Malvasia and Chardonnay)
Volarević Cellar, Komarna Appellation: 95 to 2018 Platinum Plavac Mali; 94 to 2016 Gold Edition Plavac Mali; 91 for 2015 Plavac Mali
Terra Madre Winery, Komarna Appellation: 91 to 2016 Plavac Mali Premium; 91 to 2016 Komarna 7 Plavac Mali; 90 to 2016 Plavac Mali Barrel
Fakin Wines, Istria: 90 for La Prima Malvasia Istriana 2018
The Plavac Mali variety is grown in the southernmost wine region of Croatia, Dalmatia. Its name means “little blue”, in reference to its appearance, small dark blue berries. As a late-harvest grape growing in harsh conditions, it involves a complicated winemaking process, which is why winemakers have a saying that they have to “tame it”.
“We have conducted three years of scientific research on the influence of harvest date and maceration time on the polyphenolic and sensory characteristics of Plavac Mali, and our 2018 Platinum Plavac Mali is the first commercial vintage produced on the basis of research,” said Josip Volarević, M. Sc. Agriculture, owner and winemaker of Volarevic Vineyard. “I am proud to have obtained 95 points for a young vintage of Plavac Mali, which spent only eight months in oak barrels. The rest of the aging will be done in bottle, so I can only look forward to seeing what the future holds. We have already used the first findings of this methodology during the production of the previous Gold Edition vintage, and this is consistent with obtaining 94 points for this wine, also from the Komarna appellation.
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Magazine for wine lovers is an award-winning print publication and online resource that features wine and food trends, enotravel, and provides over 25,000 ratings and reviews annually. Content ranges from rapidly and constantly changing beverage industry news, to expert analysis and feature stories. Details of all assessments can be viewed here.
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About the Croatian Wine Alliance
Led by Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc., an online store shipping more than 70 native Croatian wines to the United States, the Alliance raises awareness of premium Croatian wines and supports the work of Croatian wines within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce; The Croatian National Tourist Board. The participants are importers and distributors of Croatian wines in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe, as well as Croatian wineries.