Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Grape Spotlight: Pelješac Peninsula Rukatac, Pošip, and Dubrovnik Malvasia

In a previous Grape Spotlight, we focused on Malvasija Dubrovacka - and specifically those grown in southern Croatia as opposed to its planting in northern Croatia's Istria.  One of its autochthonous regions is also the Pelješac Peninsula - a wine region on the Adriatic coast of Croatia between Split and Dubrovnik. It is a mountainous peninsula with peaks of 3,150ft (960 meters), bright sunshine, and vineyards planted on steep slopes of karstic limestone. It is also narrow, 40 miles long but only four miles wide, and the name Pelješac is that of a hill above the town Orebic. The peninsula is also home to Dingac, Croatia’s first appellation that was created to showcase Croatian Plavac Mali.

Two more autochthonous Dalmatian grapes are Rukatac (Maraština) and Pošip. Rukatac is now planted throughout the Mediterranean and is noted for its fragrance and deep stone fruit profile. It is also generally low in alcohol content and acids which is why it's an obvious candidate to be blended with the more acidic Pošip. This grape originated in the neighboring island of Korčula and can also provide more citrus and apple notes to the blend. 

The Marlais Winery is located near Ston, close to where the peninsula meets the mainland and was founded by a family that now consists of seven generations of grape growers and winemakers. The family owns three separate vineyard sites on the southern slopes of the peninsula, planted on sandy soils and with a slope where they build drywalls to limit the soil erosion resulting from heavy rainfall. The grapes are hand-harvested since the slopes are too steep and the soils too gravely for machines. A few of their wines are available from Croatian Premium Wine Imports -- one being the Dišpet.

Marlais Dišpet 2018 ($25)
This blend consists of Rukatac (70%), Dubrovačka malvasija (15%), and Pošip (15%) and is fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel.  The wine is delicious where the acidity immediately captures the palate and when the effervescence subsides a velvety coating of orange peel and pineapple remain. 

Disclosure: We received samples from Croatian Premium Wine Imports in order to share our opinion about their products, but this isn’t a sponsored post.

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