Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Grape Spotlight: Herzegovina Blatina

Most cultivated grapevines are hermaphroditic -- meaning that their flowers are both male and female and thus, can self-pollenate. These grapevine flowers have no petals and grow on stem clusters that will eventually turn into grape clusters (1).  However, some grapevine flowers are completely female and require cross-pollination. In these cases, the vineyards are interplanted with other grape varieties that then pollinate the female vines. Natural pollination is a fickle process so over time yields from these female grapevines are very unstable. As a result, these grapes are generally obscure and only planted in regions where the grape has historic significance (2).

Blatina (Blah-tee-nah) is one such female grape and only in Herzegovina -- specifically south of Mostar Bosnia around the towns of Čitluk, Međugorje, Ljubuški, and Čapljina.  Blatina vineyards are interplanted with a few vines of either Alicante Bouchet (Kambuša), Merlot, and Trnjak in order to cross-pollinate.  When pollination does take effect the fermented wine is generally full-bodied with juicy dark fruit. This Wines of Illyria Blatina ($10) is definitely full-bodied with juicy plum and blackberries and uniquely a little chocolate dirt. Very old world. The recommended food pairings are grilled red meats, chicken, sausage, or seafood paella made with red peppers and onions and we confirm the grilled red meats (mititei or cevapi).

(1) How to Tell a Male Grapevine From a Female Grapevine
(2) Female Grape Varieties

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