Bombshell in Croatian wine news earlier this month was an announcement by various local media outlets that reported two Croatian wines were shipped off to United States to be served during the inauguration of President Biden (TCN). These two wines are from Peljesac Peninsula based winery owned by American family Benmosche. We tried both of them.
Benmosche is a winery established in 2006 by Robert Benmosche who fell in love with Croatian south, especially Peljesac Peninsula and its wines.
Our full video tasting:
Benmosche Family Dingac 2015
Tasted: January 2021
Variety: Plavac Mali
Dingac wines are named after the protected geographical area of Dingac which is the first officially protected wine growin area in Croatia (1961) and are 100% Plavac Mali Variety. They are usually full bodied wines well known for their dried fruit character, strong tannins and high alcohol content. Benmosche Family Dingac is not different in this respect. It’s a beast of a wine featuring 15% alcohol and plenty of both fruity and spicy aromas. It respects traditional Dingac Expression while conforming to the standards of modern red wines.
Intense ruby color of medium plus intensity. Clear and inviting.
This dingac features plenty of primary aromas. Alongside a mix of both red and dark berry fruit such as red currant, blacberry, blackberry; Benmosche Dingac also exhibits well known sun dried fig, carob, or raising aromas. Sweet spices gained through the use of oak barrels are also present and add to the body and the overall experience. Wood influence is never overwhelming.
On the palate, this wine is truly deserving of its renowned appellation. It is rich, warm and pleasantly heavy. Tannins are beautifully integrated and very round, but definitely on the higher end of the scale. Primary aromas of berry fruit, plums and dried fruit are complimented beautifully by terroir notes of minerality and mediteranean herbs. The finish is long and the aromas dissipate elegantly an in unison. Ample body makes 15% alcohol feel just right.
Dingac wines do well with red meat dishes like beefsteak, hard cheese, dark chocolate and similar. This wine is rich and powerful and is in need of a food that can stand alongside it without being overpowered. With this in mind, it can work very well with complex stews or meats in sauce. For a local pairing have it with Dalmatian Pasticada (beef fillets in thick sauce featuring vegetables and dried fruit). If you are the type of person that likes to leave a glass of good wine to enjoy at the end of the meal instead of a dessert or a digestive, this is a wine for you.
Benmosche Family Zinfandel 2013
Tasted: January 2021
Variety: Crljenak (Zinfandel)
Zinfandel is known in Croatia as Crljenak Kastelanski, Tribidrag or Pribidrag and has the earliest recorded mention out of all the varieties genetically identical to the famous Zin. In other words, according to the research zinfandel is a Croatian variety. This fact confirmed rarely recently and ever since zinfandel has been making a comeback to the mainstream of Croatian coastal vineyards having lost its footing in favour of Plavac Mali during the last few hundred years. Benmosche Winery owns vineyards of zinfandel on Peljesac Peninsula around the village of Viganj.
Even after 7 years of ageing ruby colour dominated with some garnet tones visible in the edges. It is still quite a vibrant colour.
Primary aromas of ripe red and dark berry fruit are at the forefront with wonderful notes of bluebery, blackberry, red currant. Sweet spices from the wood are present as well as is some earthy minerality. All these different aromas for a wonderful symphony that promises rich and full bodied wine with.
Palate is again fruity with vanilla and aged oak in close second plase. Tannins are ample but oh so soft and add a key ingredient giving the wine wonderful structure making it age-worthy beyond the 7 years that it already spent waiting to be enjoyed. Acidity is medium to medium + and combined with some surprisingly fresh fruity aromas maked the wine wonderfully easy to drink, way more than its 15,5% alcohol content would suggest. Finish is long.
This is a rich wine and needs good food pairing. It is too ample for very delicate food, but something like osso buco, venisson medalions in creamy sauce with bread dumplings or wild boar steak with cranberry sauce would work wonderfully with this beautiful Croatian Zin.