Never forget the Mali Plavač

Photo by Vinologue

While dousing ourselves in San Francisco over the holidays, a friend invited us over for a Szechuan hot pot dinner. Despite eating out a lot in SF over the last two weeks, it was, without a doubt one of the most fantastic things we had to eat there. A couple of neighbors stopped by and brought some wine, specifically, the “Grifone Primitivo 2010” from Trader Joe’s.

This wine hasn’t gone without notice. Given that it’s priced at $4 a bottle, several people in the US have picked it up and reviewed it, such as here and here. Our impressions of it were generally neutral. It’s a decent wine with food, but nothing mind-blowing. The price of course is its biggest selling point in a country where anything that costs less than $10 and doesn’t make you hate yourself the next day is a winner.

What was most interesting about it though was the back label that, at the top read, “Zinfandel in America… Primitivo in Italy… Mali Plavač in Croatia…” Naturally, we tip our hats to the fact that they pay tribute to the three countries where this wine grape is grown. But, we have to give a rather large wag of the finger to the Croatia bit as it’s actually Crljenak (aka Tribidrag/Pribidrag) that’s the Croatian grape. As we tirelessly point out, Plavac Mali (not Mali Plavač) is the child of Crljenak and Dobričić.

Someone must have pointed this out to Trader Joe’s as while the label is wrong, the write up on their website stays away from the topic altogether. These things do suck as they undoubtedly had the labels printed and put on the bottles in Italy, then shipped to the US, and then distributed to their stores. That probably took months and there’s no way to correct it now, but we thought it worth pointing out as we’re both gigantic wine snobs and, well, we did write a book about the wines of Dalmatia, Croatia.