Ask the Pros: 2017 Balkan Vintage Report

What a rollecoaster of weather conditions 2017 has been. From spring frost to extreme temperatures to heavy rain, this was truly the survival of the fittest. Only the most competent viticulturists got their grapes out of this alive and well and have passed the torch to their winemakers. Talking to some of the most skillful people in the Balkan region, I can conclude that the 2017 vintage will bring bottled magic to our tables. We just have to WAIT. Will it be worth it? Read on and find out. Continue reading “Ask the Pros: 2017 Balkan Vintage Report”

Advertisements

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”

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”

Grape Nomad’s Top 10 Cellar Picks of 2016

When reviewing 2016, I can’t help but think only one thing – what a shitty year for the world. Alan Rickman, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen died, Donald Trump became president of the US, refugee crises overflowed the news, people still think that sweet wines are cheap rubbish that should solely be paired with poor life decisions. Oh well, at least true wine lovers have been drinking some nice stuff to drown their sorrows and enter 2017 in style, like Kanye West did at the MTV Awards a few years back. But before you go anywhere and start analyzing the trends of next year (which you probably won’t follow), allow me to introduce you to the first Grape Nomad annual recap! Here, you’ll read about MY highest rated wines of 2016, wines that have blown me away with their sexiness and helped me rethink the complexity of this business. Because I decided to discover Italy in detail this year, you’ll see that their wines are pretty dominant in the selection. As a side-note, these are not bottles necessarily released during the year, nor are the scores something you have to blindly follow. I urge you to explore, be open and enjoy whatever gems you find from these top 10 picks. Continue reading “Grape Nomad’s Top 10 Cellar Picks of 2016”