Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Milicevic Family Vineyards: Wine from Louisiana and Herzegovina

While conducting a review of craft beverage establishments by state for theCompass Craft Beverage Finder, I noticed a new winery in Louisana with ties to a unique wine region: Herzegovina. In 1950, Milicevic Family Vineyards opened in the Croatian area of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as a young man, Ivan Milicevic worked on his family-owned vineyards. He immigrated to the United States in 1989 settling in Louisiana where he eventually purchased land in Abita Springs. In 2015 he planted a vineyard on this property in order to open a U.S. version of Milicevic Family Vineyards. This vineyard included Blatina and Zilavka, two grapevines that exist only in his native Herzegovina.  This decision presented two challenges. Can these vines prosper in the Bayou State's extreme humidity? And could the female Blatina grapevine be pollinated by the other grapevines planted in the vineyard?  

Through VinoShipper, I thought I had purchased wines from this estate vineyard in order to answer these questions; but instead, the wines were actually produced by the MFV in Herzegovina. In this regard, they were a little overvalued - but very well made and enjoyable.  After a little research, I think these wines are from the Citluk Winery, the largest winery in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and also the source of a similar wine - the Wines of Illyria Blatina.  

Milicevic Family Vineyards Red Table Wine ($28)
This is 100% Blatina which closely resembles those I had previously sampled. Think dark cherries and black raspberries and traces of mint, chocolate, and toffee. It also provides a very smooth finish with easy tannins. 

Milicevic Family Vineyards White Table Wine ($28)
This wine is comprised of 85% Žilavka (Zhi-luv-kah) with 15% Bena with the former providing the robust flavor and alcohol and the latter acidity.  Žilavka also contains a slight nutty profile which is more prevalent in this wine's aroma. The core is fresh grapefruits and lemons with a chewy and acidic boost at the tail 

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