In the book Cracking Croatian Wine, Alen Bibić of Domaine Bibich is referred to as “maybe Croatia’s most famous winemaker.” For a further endorsement of their prominence going hand-in-hand with that of the Croatian production writ large, look no further than the Croatian entry in the latest World Atlas of Wine, where Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson list Domaine Bibich in particular on their national map. Or, if this doesn’t convince you, take as an example of excellence: the late Anthony Bourdain, when documenting the famously breathtaking Dalmatian Coast of Croatia set against the gem-like Adriatic Sea, visited Domaine Bibich of all places. And, in attempting to film the episode, Bourdain & Alen drank too much of the family’s wine and ate too much of their Michelin-star-worthy food to faithfully travelog the day. In short: the wines were so good they literally stopped filming. Beyond celebrity endorsements or press testimonials, the wines of Domaine Bibich are true gems from a place whose geologic and climatic conditions set the stage for a kind of perfect wine-grape-ripening though the vineyards themselves are notoriously hard to work (you’ll find many abandoned vineyards along both the Dalmatian coast and the mainland, owing to an aging populace and jobs-gone-elsewhere). Cooling influence of the Adriatic with Mediterranean heat/sun, jagged limestone and opok soils combine with native varieties to which Alen Bibić has long been faithful like, for instance, this monovarietal Plavina found in your wine shares. The typically garnet-hued wine yielded from the Plavina grape, at its best, facilitates a transparency of the environmental peculiarities of this place in which its grown: medium-bodied with lighter high-tone aspects that bespeak the influence of the sea breeze’s cooling of the Mediterranean heat, a mineral aspect moving into an animal aspect that relates the seaside with the inland, and a somehow at once fresh and tannic length that works particularly well with a dish like the Northern Dalmatian specialty Skradin Risotto, a 10-12 preparation that, when plated, is garnished by a grated sheep’s cheese, known as Paški sir from the nearby Island of Pag.
Vinification & Tasting: 100% Plavina from Dalmatia, Croatia. After a hand harvest, the grapes are macerated for 30 days and fermented in stainless steel with wild yeasts and no temperature control. Unfined, unfiltered with a touch of SO2. A friendly but commanding medium-bodied red. Foraged blackberry, damp earth, light tannin.