The head of the newest generation to take over the Bibić family winemaking tradition tells us about his new line of cuvees, the future of his region, and gets philosophical on drinking instructions.
Your family has a long-running successful portfolio of wines exported around the world. Why rock the boat with the new line of cuvees?
The new, Domaine BIBICh line of wines is somewhat a playful line making a hard distinction from our standard line. I always preferred lighter-bodied, easier-drinking wines and this was an excellent opportunity to show them to the word. I’ve been producing them ever since I was in high school, mainly for my friends and myself and at one moment I thought – why not release them to the world. This resulted in a range of beautiful wines, each completely different from the next and a wonderful expression of our authentic, indigenous, and local varietals and terroir, with just a tiny bit of my personality inside.
How did you choose the varieties to work with and what uniqueness does the Plastovo terroir bring to them?
It wasn’t a hard decision, trust me. We have several amazing varietals micro-local to the region, and this includes Debit, Lasin, Babić and Plavina. Additionally, I decided to add a little Syrah as we’re growing it extremely successfully with amazing results in our region, in several locations around Šibenik-Knin county including Plastovo. Plastovo as our home and our village, at several altitudes cruising around 250m (depending on the vineyard) blesses us with a climate one could only ask for, great temperature shifts - really hot days, cold nights, and a lot of breeze – basically the ideal conditions. Then there is the soil – a lot of karst and limestone, but also some clay and other soils found depending on the micro-location.
"The question of what the terroir brings to the wine – simply said, Dalmatian spirit."
On more serious note – the altitude and the temperature differences give us a unique advantage of having optimal acidity, the soil itself abundant minerality, and the overall state of things the ability to be and stay organic, as there is practically no need to use anything other than what nature gives us.
Each of the cuvees comes with quite philosophical handling instructions for drinking them. What was your idea here?
I’ve always had this debate with myself, and some of my more philosophical friends – whether art should be imposed to the receiver – the answer is, I don’t know, probably no. However, as the wines in this line are quite special in a way that they do represent something factual and actual from my personal life, and basically the reason for their existence in the form it is – is factual, so are the instructions to using them.
"On the Bilo you will find it says 'drink when thirsty, to revitalize' – and I sure do mean it!"
Do you have any favorite food pairings for your wines, especially since your mother is such an accomplished chef?
Of course, but as with all our wines, I like to leave the choice to the drinker, the wines really are extremely versatile and go well wide range of dishes. However, I can say that I hope they will pair well with many Singaporean dishes, please let me know what you find works.
How would you like to see your wines, and wines from Croatia in general, develop in the future?
Personally, I would love to see our native varietals get the recognition they deserve globally, and we are extensively working on that, along with many of our friends and colleagues winemakers. For example, I was in New York, Washington, and many other cities throughout the U.S., and they are actively offering and promoting babić, debit, lasin and many other Croatian varietals by pouring them in bars, restaurants etc, can you imagine how delighted I was to hear the table next to mine talking about the wine, the grape and the country – I loved it! However, we still have a lot of work even nationally, because compared to my previous example, when you come to restaurants or bars in some Croatian cities and ask about lasin, or plavina – they still, in many cases don’t know what you are asking for.