Draw me a sheep.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry… first words I wanted to know how to speak. I grew up on “Little Prince.” As well as on Plavac Mali.
Mainly, the storyteller drew a sheep for Little Prince. One looked sick, the other was a ram, the third one was old, and Little Prince wanted a sheep that would live long. In the end he drew a box with holes. The sheep you want is in there.
The allegory was so strong and simple, it did not need explaining.
Dingač is a renowned position of Plavac Mali. Today there are few Dingač wines I can appreciate. Why are someone’s ‘boiled’ grapes better than another’s? Why is the 2011 Kiridžija Dingač not oily? Why does it live long? It is herbal, just like the grapes, close to the soil, leathery and meaty… lots of tannin warmth and acidity coolness.
“If you say to grown-ups: I saw a wonderful house of reddish brick, with geraniums on windows and pigeons on the roof… they are not able to imagine that house. They should be told: I saw a house worth one hundred thousand Francs. Then they shout: How beautiful!”
Lots of Plavac wines in this price range is overly ripe and too heavy, and without a proper body. Many of them feel made up and spruced up, with odd acids, off-balance from the whole.
Korta Katarina manages to accomplish what few Dingač wines do these days. However, Korta Katarina uses grapes of Dingač and Postup locations. The 2009 Korta Katarina Reuben’s Reserve opens with cedar wood. A breath of integrated wood. Without jam, yet extracted, with concentrated aromas of dried plums, figs and wormwood. Herbal also on the palate, to the edge of bitterness. Sage and tannin softened with schooling and time. Still a bit stiff, but this earthiness and a firm and slender body without a gram of fat, hard, impenetrable. Not closed, impenetrable. Time in a decanter is a necessity. Alcohol follows such concentration. It is pronounced, but does not heat or pinch. One of the finest Plavac wines I’ve tasted.
The 2012 Korta Katarina Plavac Mali gives carob and sage on the nose, dried figs and sour cherry on the palate. Smoke and fruit together, perfectly clear and in order. Tiny leathers tannin intertwined with the freshness of cold acids. Pedantically tailored, precise in aroma, from first-grade material. Warmth in the nostrils or volatility? The lack of embalmment on the palate does not mean either a lack of volatility or the presence of naturally high alcohols. “Fiery Plavac” as Bulić would say. When it finally assembles after decanting and forming in the glass, it breathes. Slowly. Like the sea. Deep. Becoming a whole.
Dingač is one, but what about other Plavac wines? How does Plavac from Korčula Island fit in? The 2015 Zure Advocatus Diaboli topples stereotypes. With carob and dried cherry, spiciness and all the strength of warmth, and without the high alcohols. The tannin grip on the palate is not as raw as it was last year, with all the heartiness and fruitiness deepening together with unrecognizably vital acids. Still, no matter how ground, all those tannins pile on. Into a recognizable grip. Is it Plavac? Which only a hard cheese with olive oil can soften?
“If you say to grown-ups: Proof that Little Prince existed is in his beauty, his laugh and for wanting a sheep. (…) They will shrug and consider you a child! But, if you tell them: The Planet he came from was the B612 asteroid – they will be convinced and leave you alone.”
Plavac Mali also grows in Macedonia. Has anyone tried the 2013 Ezimit Veliki Plavac Mali? Probably more times than you think. It smells like a Vranac with leathery tannins, but with the Vranac fruit it is at the same time rich in aromas of carob and dried fig, sour cherry and plum. However, the balance is fantastic… perfect, but boring. Slightly synthetic, not polished for the better, but without a soul.
Vis residents don’t lack soul. The 2016 Bunčić Smokovo is an outsider in everything. From the raw power of its youth, the only stronger thing is the leathery tannin. Robust wine, ‘domestic,’ but without indicators of ‘home production.’ Mineral in the after! The sand of Smokovo which soaked up the sun and left coolness without any volatility. Essence of soil and a variety from a specific terroir.
Terroir… a French word I wished I understood.
Eyes are blind. Seek with the heart.
Translated from Vinopija.com, click here for the original.