This vertical tasting was not just an everyday work task with a due date attached to it, but rather an event proving why we’re living such a beautiful life. It was the first time I organized an official tasting for a group of close friends interested in the world of wine, but quite hesitant to put their finger on what exactly they like about it. We sniffed and tasted four wines from the same winery, grape variety and region, but of different vintages (2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010). They enjoyed it so much, that my very good compadre Adin even wrote a passage about the whole experience and sensory escapade he went through. Here’s a small excerpt that I’m most proud of:

At the beginning of the evening, Saša told us that Dingač 2011 was probably the best one in the flight. For me, it was not only the best one in the flight, but the best red wine I’ve ever tried. So I say to Saša, “I just lit a cigarette after a meal, but I can’t remember which dish preceded the cigarette”. He laughs, turns around and pulls out three Cuban cigars out of the drawer. After the third sip of wine, I remember what came before the cigarette and finish my imaginary dinner with a perfect chocolate souffle. And yes, the cigars and wine enhance the intensity of this blissful moment which I could’ve sworn I’ve experienced in a past life.

Plavac Mali is a grape variety well-known to the majority of Slavic people living in the Balkans. It is highly appreciated for its robust wines marked by high fruit concentration and tannins. Its kingdom is the Pelješac peninsula (Dalmatia, Croatia) where it thrives on sandy soils and receives optimal sun treatment on south-facing slopes. Why particularly wines from this area? Well, there’s this young winemaker who goes by the name of Mateo Vicelić and in just a few days, he proved to me why wines from Pelješac blow minds and flawlessly succeed at every restaurant they appear in. I had the honor to make history and be the first professional to taste four vintages of Vicelić wines one after the other, so I hope you enjoy the notes!

Dingač 2013

Ruby red color of medium depth. Very subtle nose for a Dingač – aromas of black fruit, licorice, Mediterranean herbs, caramelized coffee. Dry, with a creamy latte texture. High tannins followed by a medium acidity. Deep structure, great complexity, going back and forth from primary and secondary notes on the palate. The mid-palate is dominated by the grandious C – caramel, coffee, cocoa. Huge butter bomb on the aftertaste, which last for an eternity. Hedonism at its finest, but leave it for a couple of years and then truly enjoy the explosion of tastes you never knew existed.

Dingač 2012

Ruby red color of medium depth. Fruit is buried under a coat of tertiary aromas and hot alcohol. Dry with an immediate bitter hit which masks most of the fruit and oak tones that kind of swim in between the ripe tannins and creamy texture. High alcohol, medium acidity. Long finish dominated by cocoa powdered cereal.

Dingač 2011

Ruby red color of medium depth. Medium nose with light tones of red fruit (cranberry, sweet cherry), Mediterranean herbs, cocoa, roasted coffee, blueberry and blackcurrant leaf. Dry, huge concentration of black fruit (blackcurrant, dried plum, blueberry), going more on jammy tones rather than fresh fruit. High tannins, paired with a lovely interplay of acidity and alcohol. Long aftertaste with a whole spectre of excitement, progressing from overripe plum to freshly rolled Cuban cigar. Bravo. What a treat. Heart emojis all around.

Dingač 2010

Ruby red color. Very subtle aromas of cherry, blueberry, wet leaves and a hint of barnyard. Dry with a light, elegant texture. Even though the alcohol and acidity are in balance, they don’t pair very well with the fruit concentration – everything is kind of scattered around without any serious structure. Mostly notes of bottle aging on the palate – roasted almonds, cooked strawberry, leather and mushroom. I’m guessing the winemaker was still finding himself in this wine, ending up stuck in the middle between poorly estimated Old and New World styles.

Written by Aleksandar Draganić.

I’m a WSET certified grape juice drinker, and yes, I’m that 1% of people that love their job. I drink wine, write about it, preach about it, even take pictures of it. Find me at @grapenomad


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  1. I’m heading to Croatia in 10 days so this article has been really helpful. We live in Napa Valley and one of our wine makers (Miljenko Grgich) is a big deal here, and he also has a winery in Croatia. I’m going to add Dingac to our list to visit – thanks for sharing! You may enjoy our wine country blog at

    Liked by 1 person

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