Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Vina Delmati Winery – The Newest Star of Southern Croatia

Vina Delmati is an incredible wine story from Croatia. The winery is more than 60 years old, but it’s only now present on the market with its own brand. Why such a long wait? Well, during the communist-socialist era, this winery was state owned and produced wine in bulk for other wineries. After the Croatian Homeland War of 1990’s and the process of privatization the winery got new owners. It didn’t last long though. Outdated way of management and the inability to understand and adapt to modern winemaking ultimately made the company go under. This is when it is taken over by a company belonging to Zloić family. Their  local roots helped them understand not only the winemaking potential of the winery, but also the cultural importance and tourism potential of the traditional vineyards belonging to it. Today, Vina Delmati is the biggest winery in Dalmatia with an output of around 1 million bottles per year and it’s on its way to becoming a household name.

New Beginning

It is one of the most exciting wine projects in modern Croatian history. The new management inherited a winery in dire need of renovation and re-organising. It also came into possession of 200 hectares of old vineyards in one of the most productive vineyard areas of Croatia – Pojezerje area around the town og Vrgorac. This impressive South-Dalmatian vineyard area is surrounded by hills and mountains on three sides, with the proximity to both the Adriatic and Neretva River Delta providing beneficial air flow to the vineyards. Pojezerje area is unique in another aspect as well. Pretty much every winter underground river Matica running below it will rise up and flood parts of the field. This happens during the dormancy stage of the vines, but for up to three months the vineyards of Vina Delmati Winery will be under water. Local people will take their small boats into vineyards and fish among the vines. It is a sight to behold!

Wealth of Grapes

With the youngest of the vineyards of Vina Delmati being 40 years old, it takes little imagination to picture the quality of the grapes at their disposal. Their main grapes are Trebbiano Toscano (Ugni Blanc) and Plavka. Trebbiano is a well known white variety perfect for producing refreshing white wines. Plavka (Plavina) on the other hand is an indigenous Dalmatian black grape variety perfect for production of light or medium-body red wines. Plavka is seeing more and more attempts by winemakers to make it into a varietal wine and is definitely a variety to look out for in the near future. Vina Delmati is currently out on the market with 6 labels and this is their story:

Biokovo Line

Biokovo Bijelo (White)

Alc: 12% Variety: Trbljan (Trebianno) Recent Texsomm 2024 gold medal winner, this is Vina Delmati’s entry level white. Made with local version of Trebianno grape, this wine is made to be an easy drinking, refreshing white wine, perfect for hot summer days. It delivers on this! Colour is lemon and is of medium intensity. On the nose it exhibits aromas of lemon zest, yellow apple, asparagus and wet stone. On the palate the wine is dry with a pleasant fruity flavour profile dominated by citrus notes. There is a pleasant hint of bitterness on the back palate. Biokovo Bijelo features medium acidity and a nice finish. This is a white wine with plenty of versatility. It will serve as a wonderful aperitif wine throughout the warmer half of the year and will pair with various seafood dishes, pastas and salads. Try it with grilled sea bass, seafood salads, fish carpaccio, cheesy pastas, fried rice, or fresh oysters.

Biokovi Crno (Red)

Alc: 13,5% Variety: Plavka Red wine from the same line as the previous one, Biokovo Crno is a fruity red wine featuring some of the nicest characteristics of Plavka grape variety. It will be a wonderful fit for anyone looking for a red wine to accompany a range of different foods and not leave those enjoying it feeling over encumbered. Colour is ruby with the intensity nestling between light and medium levels. Aromas are of medium intensity. Fruity aromas dominate with cherry jam, strawberry juice, beef tomato and cranberry. On the palate this wine is lean and refreshing with flavours of jammy red berry fruit. The acidity is medium in intensity with warming of the alcohol being noticeable, but never unpleasant. The finish is medium. It leaves you ready for the next sip. This is a very good value for money wine with a rather lean, but pleasant palate and fruity nose. It is a wonderful beginner red and can be paired with plenty of food, tomato sauce pasta, pizza, lean meat and burgers.

Vina Delmati Line

Latinica 2021

Alc. 12% Variety: Trebianno Toscano At Vina Delmati they are first and foremost proud of their grapes. This wine is a great example of this. It would perhaps be easier and more bottom-line friendly to plant new vineyards of Trebianno (Ugni Blanc), a white variety that generally produces simple and refreshing wines, instead of keeping the existing 40 year old vineyards with diminishing yields. However, Vina Delmati’s leadership makes a point of researching the potential of old vine grapes. They even decided to age it for 12 months in large concrete tanks as to give it a bit of more integration, but not to overlay the fruitiness with spicy aromas. Resulting wine is one of the more interesting wines made with this variety that I have tasted. The colour is straw colour of medium intensity. Very elegant nose with aromas of white and yellow flowers, hint of pear, vineyard peach. It is a wine that will not display itself fully if overly chilled, so keep it at 10-12°C On the palate, it is mineral, refreshing and fruity with flavours of vineyard peach, still ripening apricot and warm lemon. It is a wine of crisp acidity and medium finish. It lulls you into thinking it will be a breath of freshness and not much more until you experience it on the palate where the flavour profile exhibits layers you didn’t expect and the finish turns out quite substantial. Serve it less chilled than some others of similar character as it displays more of its aromatics that way. This wine works as a more serious aperitif wine, but will also shine accompanying various foods like grilled sea bass, bream or even amberjack, fried or grilled calamari, fresh oysters, Caesar salad, creamy pastas, grilled turkey breast, goat cheese and plenty more.

Vina Delmati Romanca 2021

Alc: 13% Variety: Plavka Veina Delmati Romanca Vina Delmati’s Plavka vineyards are old and produce very concentrated and powerful grapes. This is not something that many modern day rosé producers necessarily want. Many casual drinkers will inevitably go for lightest possible experience of this style. However, Romanca is a great example of a rosé that is a bit more than meets the eye. Interestingly, this wine was also aged in large concrete vats adding to the complexity. This is a food rosé that will surprise you with its body and long finish, while still retaining refreshing and easy drinking character. The colour of this wine is salmon, going to orange, of medium intensity. On the nose it displays alluring aromas of strawberries, raspberries, watermelon and discreet florals. On the palate this rosé immediately takes charge as you discover layers of flavour. The mid palate will let you know this is not your light drinking party rosé, but a more substantial wine that demands a bit of your time and attention. Thankfully, acidity of Plavka shines through as it makes Romanca a refreshing wine that is easy to drink. Aside from being a lovely (albeit strong) aperitif wine, food pairings abound with Romanca. It will go down a treat with dishes like seafood pastas, tuna tartare, beef carpaccio, caprese salad, fried fish, octopus salad, falafel, sushi and plenty more.

Vina Delmati Plavka 2021

Alc: 13,5% Variety: Plavka Winery’s flagship wine, Vina Delmati Plavka 2021 is a wonderful contender for one of the lighter Dalmatian reds to look out for. With pretty much the entire region being rather hot, it was always a challenge trying to find a lighter red wine that will still display complexity and structure. This old vine Plavka fits the bill perfectly. Made with old vine Plavka has gone through 18 months maturation in large concrete tanks. Colour is ruby of medium minus intensity. Aromas on the nose are of sweet red berry jam, raspberry, strawberry, black cherry as well as liquorice and even an unexpected and pleasant hint of cooked beef. It is fruity and pleasant, but far from overly simple. Wonderful structure of medium minus tannins and very smooth medium acidity makes it a great food wine and able to go through some ageing as well. It features a long finish that’s as elegant as any other part of the experience. This is a red wine of a wonderful balance and a lighter profile, but still ample enough to be a good food wine. Serve it on 14°C – 18°C. It will work lovely with tuna steak, pork or veal cutlets, duck breast, salmon steak, as well as many vegan dishes featuring beet, legumes or tomato sauce.

Vina Delmati Kompozicija 2021

Alc: 14% Variety: Plavka 60%, Merlot 20%, Vranac 20% This red blend is all about combining the lively acidity and elegance of Plavka with the ample fruitiness of Merlot and Vranac. The result is a red wine with a body going towards a full body. It was aged for 18 months in large concrete vats and this bit of ageing really went a long way towards making Kompozicija a serious red with a body that can handle plenty of different foods. Kompozicija is of medium intensity ruby colour. On the nose the aromas are those of red plums, black currant, and cherry, with hints of spiciness. On the palate the wine is pleasant, soft, warm and plush with velvety tannins of medium intensity. The acidity is medium and it adds to the potential of this wine to age, but not for a very long time. It is more than ready to be enjoyed right now. Finish is rather long and the flavours dissipate elegantly. It’s an ample red wine that is certain to be a crowd pleaser among those who mostly opt for red wines. This is a wonderfully smooth wine that will pair well with beefsteak, venison, lamb or pork roast, octopus stew, barbecued meats, hamburgers and veggie burgers.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *