Friday, July 24, 2009

2006 Bibich Riserva Skradin North Dalmatia, Croatia

Wow...I really like this wine. Sarah liked it too (enough to have two glasses of it). I first had it in April at Providence, where it was paired with veal. (By the way, if you can afford it, you owe it to yourself to check out Providence. It's off the chain and the sommelier has lots of esoteric pairings, like this one. The only problem is that it's expensive...) It was perhaps a bit more on the restrained side when I had it there, but I liked it enough to pick up a bottle at K&L for 16$. Last night, I was looking for something to drink with chicken smothered in olive tapenade, almost went with a Cotes du Rhone, but decided that this might go well with it. This wine is from Croatia, which is just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. It's pretty much parallel to Tuscany. A blend of Babich, Plavina, and Lasin, which are all native to Croatia, and are related to Zinfandel. I like that you can say that this wine is Babich by's like a tongue twister.

Dried fruit (dried cherries specifically), and spice. Reminds me a lot of an Amarone or a ripasso Valpolicella like "La Grola" from Allegrini. Juicy fruit that is well balanced by nice acidity. Low alcohol--12.2%. This is a great food wine; it stood up very well to a flavorful dish and would work with many other things. Drinks well on it's own; there is nice poise, ripe fruit, and structure. Interesting to drink and relatively cheap for the quality. Plus, let's face it, Croatia isn't on a lot of people's radar, so it's inexpensive, and K&L still has a lot of inventory. An insider buy if you will. I don't get why people aren't more open to trying new stuff. Let's face it--how many mediocre wines has everyone had at this price point from established areas like California, Bordeaux, et al?? It's not like if you get a mediocre wine from Croatia it's much different than getting a mediocre California wine (except maybe you're more educated after the fact with Croatia). Going off the beaten path can have some good results, and since a lot of places aren't stocking a lot of Croatian wine, if they're stocking something, it's probably pretty good. This is definitely worth picking up. A


CabFrancoPhile said...

Nice find, looks like one I should throw into a future order. I'm always scared to try European equivalents of Zin based on CA experiences (raisin flavored alcohol). But I really shouldn't be.

I think you're spot on with "unknown" wines being great values. They can't sell on name or region, so all they've got going is quality. That's what really counts.

Jeff said...

Yeah this is really nice, but I never would have picked it up if someone hadn't foisted it on me. It's not raisined at all, but has some dried fruit character that's offset by acidity. Plus, it's an interesting wine. Have you ever had anything else from Croatia? I hear that they have a lot of interesting whites.

jason said...

Just added this one to my shopping cart to pick up on my next visit to K&L. Thanks for the tip and I'll let you know how it goes. I've never had a wine from Croatia, eager to give it a try.

CabFrancoPhile said...

I haven't tried anything Croatian yet. I did get a 2005 Mildiani Saperavi from K&L, a Georgian wine. Quite distant from Croatia, but high up on the hard to find scale. Good stuff, too, but I didn't take any notes on it since I shared it with Russian friends who said Georgian wines were common in the Soviet era.

Robert said...

I have lived in Croatia for 10 months and the wine here is a treasure. Decanter gave it a raft of awards this year. Do some Googling and you find that DNA testing now puts the Croatia as the home of Zinfandel. The whites here are also great, but only a few exporters. I still feel Romanian wine (many 1000 year old vineyards) is the best in the world, but incredibly hard to get. Literally worth a visit just to see the country and drink. What I like about Croatian wine is the low acidity, wonderful nose and smooth finish.

Jeff said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll be on the lookout for some Romanian wines.