What Is Plavac Mali?
Plavac Mali (pronounced Plahvahts Mahlee in Croatian) is a red grape variety that is native to Croatia and more specifically, native to Dalmatia. This is a strip of land that has Bosnia Herzegovina to the east and the Adriatic Sea to the west. It gets an obscene amount of sun throughout the year, so Plavac Mali is a happy grape to have Dalmatia as it’s home.
By far and away, Plavac Mali is the dominant red grape in Dalmatia. Others like Merlot, Shiraz, and a number of minor native grapes pop up here and there, but inevitably, if you see a field of red wine grapes, they will be Plavac Mali.
If you have had any experience with Croatian wine, then you have probably tasted ‘plavac mali’ – and might want some more! Many of Croatia’s best – and most expensive – wines are plavac mali.
The old Latin saying ‘It’s all in the name’ is true for plavac mali, as plavac means ‘blue’ and mali means ‘small’: the name accurately describes the small blue grapes of the vine. The wine plavac mali is a very powerful, robust red wine, rich in taste and high in alcohol and tannins.
Plavac mali has a very interesting history of origin and family background that has caused many wine experts to become obsessed with tracing its origins. Plavac mali has even been subjected to DNA research and has starred in the documentary ‘Dossier Zinfandel’.