Rock. Paper. Saint.

Dark bloody purple crimson, an absolute stunner in the glass–clean, bright, clear, and a ridiculous hue of red. Grainy, chalky mineral is the first thing out of the glass, tempered with a touch of fresh straw bedding and saddle-blanket. Deep, generous fruit gradually gains the upper hand, elegant and sophisticated–this is NOT *jam & vodka* Zinfandel like so many which litter shelves and shops and sometimes entire regions. It’s also not Cab or Merlot–don’t get me wrong–CLEARLY not them, because there is the required element of funkiness and brashness and gummy fruit that sets Plavac Mali–and Zinfandel–apart from everything else.

Ice-cold and shrill on entry, further proving its un-sluttiness. Dry sheaves of mineral calve off sheer cliffs of structure, and only the promise of all that fruit in the nose keeps you from puckering. Sure enough, here it comes, gobs of cherry and boysenberry, but tempered with cranberry acid and pine-nut spice, softening the fast-approaching dryness in the finish. This thing’s like a steel rasp, dipped coyly in a thin berry glaze. Not a speck of heat, green-bitter tannins rustle around in the finish, playing a lazy, un-winnable game of tic-tac-toe with the fruit.

This is warm and inviting, fruit pure and rewarding and balanced, but at the same time is NOT for those afraid of structure. Desert-dry and petite-sirah tannic, it will pucker your face in between gasps of joy. Easy to get in the US–and about HALF the price of top-notch Zin–I would highly recommend this to anyone who shares a palate for wine with me.

2015 SAINTS HILLS Plavac Mali ‘St. Roko’ Dalmatia Croatia 13.5

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