Tonight’s Croatian wine, thanks to @mountainvalleyw

Croatia is firmly on my radar screen right now. I was bowled over by wines I tasted on the Pacta Connect table at a tasting a few months ago, and wrote about the Croatian wine love affair, and in part thanks to that, I will also be setting out on a trip to Istria (with a truly AWESOME group of wine communicators) in a few weeks. You’ll definitely hear more about that soon.

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However, this bottle was sent to me by a friend who I met when he was importing wines from Montenegro. Mountain Valley Wines (@mountainvalleyw) have now expanded well beyond Montenegro to Spain, France, USA, Slovenia and Croatia. They’re even opening a restaurant in London dedicated to basque cuisine – so look out for Donostia.

Tonight I tried a bottle of Peljesac Plavac Mali 2010 – a grape somewhat related, but rather different to, Zinfandel

This wine initially smelled a bit closed, a bit dusty, but by the end (of the bottle) was smelling more like a bright, red-currant sauce. The wine itself is nicely balanced – it isn’t too heavy but it isn’t a pushover. It has warm, dark fruit flavour which is matched by good acidity and a fair amount of grippy tannins that whisper: “hey man, I’m a food wine, give me something to chew on and I’ll surprise you even more!”. It is a fun, but still serious wine, a little fresh and young that could still be interesting in a few years time. I like it indeed.

I thought I’d try it with some Cecina (Spanish dry cured beef) as a starter and a pasta with a tomato, olive and tuna sauce. The dark, umami flavours of both dishes matched the darker fruit and tannins of the wine very well and I suspect this is a wine that would be quite flexible.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned that this wine is just under £10 from Mountain Valley Wines, and from what I’ve seen of prices for wines from Croatia (at least those that get exported), that’s a pretty good price.