“For years, everybody in the world believed that only French soils could produce great wines. We shattered that myth.” - Mike Grgić
Tasting Notes: Cherry, dried cranberries, figs, herbs
Vivino Rating: 4.2 (614 ratings)
Nature gives most people, if they’re lucky, thirty chances to make a wine they way they want to. For Mike Grgić, the iconic Croatian-born winemaker who made his name in Napa, this year will be his sixtieth harvest.
That’s why we forgive him for a rambling website bio that goes on for 2,000+ words. We will not try to summarize it here except for one event: the Judgement of Paris.
Mike’s most celebrated achievement came in May of 1976, when a famous British wine merchant organized a blind tasting in Paris to promote his fine wine shop. Timed to coincide with America’s Bicentennial celebrations, the tasting gathered the best French judges, the finest French wines and a few bottles from upstart winemakers in California. The merchant himself sold only French wine and believed the New World upstarts could not possibly win.
As the scores from the all-French jury were tallied, the unimaginable happened. The 1973 Chardonnay, crafted by Mike Grgich for Napa’s Chateau Montelena, won with the highest total score of 132 points. The TIME magazine reporter at the event promptly revealed the results to the world, putting Napa Valley on the global wine map, although he did remark that the wines were “rather expensive ($6 plus).”
The French wine industry was enraged and promptly banned the unlucky merchant from their prestigious cellars and events. French media buried the story for months. But one person who did not ignore the result was a certain California native named Ronald Reagan. After becoming president, he famously packed a few cases of Mike Grgich’s chardonnay onto Airforce One and served it to François Mitterrand at a state dinner at the American Embassy in Paris.
Fast forward some forty years, and Mike has set his sights on doing the same thing he did for Napa for his native Croatia. He established a stunning winery in Trstenik on the Peljesac Peninsula, and if you ask us, his Croatian wines are just as worthy of a presidential banquet.
Traditionally served with roasted lamb, it’s bold flavours are also perfect with grilled steak, rich pasta dishes and aged cheese.
Plavac Mali, or “little blue grape” in Croatian, is a progeny of the ancestral Zinfandel grape native to Croatia. It is exceptionally well adapted to the very hot Mediterranean climate and miserly soil; making it much sought after for robust, flavorful wines that are high in alcohol, tannins, and have excellent aging capabilities. If you’re starting to get to know Croatian wines, this grape should be on the top of your list.
Grgić Vina was established in 1996 by legendary Napa Valley winemaker, Croatian-born Miljenko “Mike” Grgich and is run by Krešo Vučković. Dedicated to the art of winemaking, they started the winery to produce the finest wines from native Dalmatian grapes.
The grapes of this wine have been selected from the some of the best vineyards in the well-known locations of Dingač, Postup and around Trstenik on the Pelješac peninsula.
For the wine geeks
Region: Pelješac (pe-le-shatz) Peninsula, Croatia
Blend Info: 100% Plavac Mali (pla-vatz ma-li)
Serving Temp: 18°C
Production: 30,000 bottles