Last month, we were invited to learn about Miloš wines at a party in San Francisco. It was a great opportunity to taste their range of wines, and to meet the next generation of Miloš vinters, who were passing through on a tour of the U.S. Hopefully soon we’ll go and visit the Miloš winery on Pelješac, for the complete wine-tasting experience!
Miloš grows only Plavac Mali grapes, making use of the natural yeast of the fruit to produce some very fine wines. The fermentation is controlled by timing the harvest carefully, not by any additives or temperature control. The natural coolness of the stone cellar is sufficient. The wines are aged in large Slavonian oak barrels.
The name on the label, Stagnum, reflects the long history of wine-growing on the Pelješac peninsula. It’s the name the ancient Roman settlers gave to their town, strategically placed just where the peninsula meets the mainland. The Romans laid out their fields and planted vineyards. There’s some serious stone wall defenses around the town of Ston constructed in medieval times, sweeping up the hillside in double formation to block mainlanders from access to Dubrovnik’s valuable salt works.
Back to the wines, we first tried the Stagnum Rosé, which is a very pleasant dry rosé in the provence style (note NOT to be confused with a pink zinfandel). The colour is fairly robust, not terribly surprising in a plavac, with flavours of apple and minerals! I like dry rosé wines a lot, and I certainly enjoyed this one!
I also really like their labels – classy minimalist design, beautifully clear and yes, readable! Next up was the Plavac 2009, their basic plavac, if you like. Though I have to say this is a rather better than most basic wines! Produced from the younger vines, this wine is still aged for a couple of years in oak barriques. It has pepper and spices, with red fruit and aromatic herbs against, for me, a background of rocks and sunshine. A fine example of a Plavac!
Following the “basic” Plavac, came the Stagnum 2006, its big brother. Made from older vines (over 30 years old), and aged for 4 years, this was a more complex and altogether smoother wine. The brochure uses the description “gentleman-like” which seems somehow right. It brings depth and character with refinement to a classic Plavac, and stands comparison with the best.
Moving on to the Stagnum Semi-sweet, this would be an excellent aperitif, especially in colder weather if you didn’t go for the rosé. It would also pair well with chocolate (something to try later)!
And to finish, the Stagnum Dessert wine is traditionally-made using dried grapes and aging for years in the barrel in the way of a Dalmatian Prošek. Usually they’re most like an Italian Vin Santo, but this one is deep russety-red in colour, more like a port. Very tasty, especially with a creamy gorgonzola cheese. Yes, I know it also goes with cake and other sweet stuff, but I do enjoy a bit of a contrast!
A big THANK YOU to Frank Dietrich of Blue Danube wines for inviting us to the wine-tasting, and to our lovely hosts in San Francisco. And, of course to the Miloš family – Franica, Ivan and Josip.
If you’re in the U.S.A., you can find Miloš wines on the Blue Danube website (currently out of stock, I can’t imagine why!). If you’re in Croatia at any point, I suggest a trip to Pelješac to visit the Miloš winery, between Ston and Ponikve. That’s certainly what we mean to do!