29-07-2011 ~ 1 Comment

On Hvar Island

The Croatian tourism mecca. The New Riviera. The New Saint Tropez. Whatever. The accolades for Hvar being geographically fortunate enough to be Hvar continually roll in from tourism promoters around the world. The New York Times put it in their bizarrely random list of “The 53 Places to go in 2008” for instance. The amount of superlatives can be pretty ridiculous. It wouldn’t be surprising if people starting giving Hvar awards such as, “Best New Destination in a Greater Post Conflict Area” or “Best Place to Call the New New Spain Without Overly Abundant Hyperbole”. It’s true though in that Hvar is indeed a beautiful place.

Much like other Croatian island such as Brač and Vis, the wine vines love the island for the same reason the tourists do. There is a massive, southern-exposed coast to the island that gets continual amounts of sunlight making for a great growing season. This produces deep-bodied wines approachable by almost anyone from casual sippers to true aficionados. Thankfully where the wine grows is not where the tourists go.

Also, like just about all of the other islands, tourists and visitors are concentrated in a few areas. In this case, it’s the west end of the island which comprises maybe 30% of the island. The rest is quite barren, minus the few small villages that spring up. It’s in these areas that you find the grapes, but it’s in the more developed places where you find the wineries.

One of the other characteristics about Hvar is the fact that it is very well known for its lavender. Rumor has it that a lot of the lavender might not even be completely grown in Hvar at this point, with larger fields of it growing in the area of Slavonia (the far eastern area of Croatia that touches Serbia) than anywhere in Croatia. These are only rumors, that are unfounded at best. However, it seems that many are finding that there is more money to be made in the wine than in aromatic flowers and thus lavender fields are now being removed to make room for grapes.

And what grapes they make on Hvar with wineries like Zlatan Plenković, Carić Vinar Hvar, and Ivan Dolac turning out one solid vintage after another of Plavac Mali.

WINES

Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars

Terroir Sense Fronteres - Guix Vermell 2017
Crisp red cherry fruit, touch of spice, flecks of pepper, baking spice, compacted, wet earth. Delicate on the palate, stays fresh, surprising high wealth of tannins, long finish.
100% Grenache · 13% · 250EUR
93+ 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars