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The Plavac Mali Grape


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About Plavac Mali

(Synonyms: Crijenak, Kasteljanak, Pagadebit Crni, Pagadebit Mali, Plavac Mali Crni, Plavac Veliki, Plavac Mai, Zelenak.)

Background

Map showing Croatia

Plavac Mali is an old red-wine grape originating in the Dalmatian coast region of Croatia, which remains its home today. (Its correct pronunciation is PLAH-vats MAH-lee.)

“Croatia has many indigenous grape varieties that are not very well-known internationally, partly due to their complicated names! Croatians are not afraid of a long row of consonants in one word and have some special characters like č, ž or dž. So you might find yourself totally confused when you wish to order a glass of Pošip or want to buy a bottle of Grk.”
   —Dario Drmač

Plavac Mali wines are big boys, thick, rich, tannic, and clocking in with alcohol levels normally around 13% but capable of reaching as much as 17%. There are two basic styles, which reflect the two growing areas: the Pelješac peninsula and the Dalmatian hinterlands. The peninsula is home to most of the better Plavac Mali bottlings, which are rich and full-bodied, while the hinterlands produce wines—by no means to be snooted—that are lighter and fruitier. The peninsula itself comprises two appellations of note: Dingač and Postup, with some saying that Dingač has a higher rate of quality preoducers.

Factoid: Zinfandel (known in Croatia as Tribidrag) is one of the two parent grapes for Plavac Mali (the other is the little-known Dobričić).

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Some Descriptions of Plavac Mali Wines

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Some Plavac Malis to Try

(About this list.)

Plavac Mali is not (yet) well known to U.S. wine drinkers, and so availability is somewhat cramped. There are quite a few more than we show here, but all available at (per the wine search engines) only one or at most two retail outlets. (Or for more than our $20 cutoff.)


Bura “Fresh” Plavac
(Peljesac Peninsula. They have numerous Plavac bottlings: the “Fresh” does not always show that word on the label, so have a care which Bura Plavac you may be looking at.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Zlatan Otok Plavac
(Island of Hvar. This is their basic bottling: they have numerous others.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Zlatan Otok “Little Blue” Plavac
(Croatia: “Dalmatia Coastal Vineyards”.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Skaramuča Plavac
(Peljesac Peninsula. They have numerous Plavac bottlings: this will say, somewhere on the label, “Kvalietno Vino”.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

We could find no reasonably available Plavac Mali wines better enough than those listed above as to justify a “splurge” price.

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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.