Wunderkind of Pelješac: Boutique Winery Vicelić

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of these first-winery-epic-greeting moments. Vicelić is a surname to engrave into this category without doubt. Honestly, I haven’t read or heard a lot about this guy up until my visit, but I must admit, eating tuna steak in a vineyard 200 metres above the Adriatic Sea is all the PR I need. A boutique winery humbly producing 20.000 bottles a year, Vicelić is the new kid on the block who you introduce to your friends, tell them you know your stuff, let him show his skills and BOOM, you have a reputation. Definitely a better love story than Twilight.

Mateo and his wife Lucija, together with their 3.5 hectares of vines, are the definition of blue-chip hosts. Along a rocky-limestone path, which is the main culprit for the greatness of Plavac Mali, we experienced a real rally ride to their open air tavern. For six hours we talked, laughed, ate and admired the magic of Pelješac, especially the pureness of the Adriatic Sea near midnight, when all goes numb, giving way for darkness to intoxicate every single pore in the body. You feel no burden, no racing thoughts. Just pure bliss cleansing the spirit. Continue reading “Wunderkind of Pelješac: Boutique Winery Vicelić”

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A Paradisal Peninsula: Pelješac, Croatia

If Pelješac is not a pure example of a terroir-driven region, I don’t know what is. A peninsula located in southern Dalmatia, this area fascinates with vineyards everywhere you turn, from Orebić in the northwest all the way down to Ston. Even though the winemakers here have potential to grow many different world-famous grapes such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc., they find little sense in that because of the double I Plavac Mali – iconic and indigenous. There are some plantings of Rukatac, Pošip and Crljenjak, but these are either very limited in quantity or are reserved for other sub-regions such as Korčula and Komarna where winemakers are much more dedicated to exclusively these varieties.

Iconic micro-locations, Postup and Dingač, give birth to colossal age-worthy red wines made from Plavac Mali. These wines are deep ruby red, high in alcohol with structured tannins and aromas of red and black fruit with subtle hints of earth and Mediterranean herbs. If aged in oak (happens most of the time), they will be reminiscent of baking spices, black olives, cigar box, dried fig and leather. Everything you’re looking for is in the batch – New World style, fresh, rustic and experimental. Continue reading “A Paradisal Peninsula: Pelješac, Croatia”

Il Più Grande: The Art of Marchesi Antinori

The fact that every serious winelover knows at least one wine from this immense selection displays how big the Antinori brand actually is. Opened in 1385 (yes, you read it right), this winery developed its roots in beloved Florence (Tuscany, Italy) and is currently active in three other countries – Romania, Hungary and the US. However, it is most recognizable for its historic role of shaping one of the most famous Italian wine styles, the so-called Super Tuscans.

In 1971, Marchesi Antinori decided to stand up against Italian wine laws that allowed mixing white grape varieties with red, but forbade blending in international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (*facepalm*). He got stripped of his DOCG status, with the Italian government laughing in his face and assigning him the vino da tavola label (table wine, the lowest rank you can get in Italy). Our young hero did not wither and soon received a reward for this brave act – a recognition in the US press as a rebel with a cause. Today, his Tignanello for example, has a mere IGT status (regional wine), even though it meets all requirements for DOCG. This is a perfect symbol of dissent against the rigid Italian wine tradition that began 45 years ago and managed to launch Antinori in the crème de la crème of iconic brands today. Continue reading “Il Più Grande: The Art of Marchesi Antinori”

Around the World in 18 Wines: Wine Point, Belgrade led by Frank Smulders MW

I open Youtube, start playing Prince, pour a glass of white and type the first words of this article. It all kind of falls into place and goes with the flow of a stupendous experience I had in Belgrade this past weekend on Wine Style’s Wine Point. Aleksandar Duković, the leading wine expert in Serbia (both in my perception and according to the certification he holds), created something worth all the praise in the world – a six-hour event led solely by the finest people in the industry. Now, you readers living outside of the Balkans will probably think „oh, come on, MWs have presentations every other week in my city“, but for us this is a serious step forward and not at all an easy task to accomplish.

Basically, Wine Point was a WSET/MW seminar followed by a grand tasting of Antinori wines. Frank Smulders, a Dutch Master of Wine (MW) and one of the principal educators in the business today, guided 30 people through the classic systematic approach of tasting, explained what it takes to receive the highest title in this trade and guided us through all the levels of the largest wine institute in the world – Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Continue reading “Around the World in 18 Wines: Wine Point, Belgrade led by Frank Smulders MW”