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Hello! Welcome to As Drunk by Exotic Wine Travel, a weekly column where we feature interesting wines that we encourage you to seek out. The reviews featured in this series may be written by either one or the both of us. The featured wines can be from obscure or well-known wine regions. We hope that these wine recommendations will keep you gastronomically curious and your palate invigorated!
Grabovac, Trnjak Riserva 2017
Could Trnjak have the highest potential among all indigenous Balkan red grapes?
Trnjak is a red grape is grown in the town of Imotski in the Dalmatian Hinterlands of Croatia in addition to Western Herzegovina (Bosnia Herzegovina). For the last few decades, this grape has been an afterthought. It’s been simply used in the vineyards as a pollinator of the beloved local grape Blatina – which has only a female flower. Trnjak (which also goes by Rudežuša) is often blended into varietal Blatina wines to add color.
The grape garnered some attention after Vinogradi Nuič won a gold medal in the AWC competition for their 2015 Trnjak. In recent years, more producers are planting and vinifying Trnjak. The grape is made into fresh and barrel-aged wine.
Trnjak wines tend to be plush and mouth-filling like Merlot with subtle nuances of Mediterranean herbs and spices. It creates rich fresh reds and takes to barrel aging well. There aren’t a lot of examples on the market, but existing wines show promise.
Grabovac is a family-run cellar in Imotski, a Dalmatian (Croatia) village on the border with Bosnia Herzegovina. This is the second excellent vintage in a row of the Grabovac, Trnjak Riserva. If you put this wine in a blind tasting, many people might call it a Southern Rhône wine. There are notes of black cherry, red plum, meat, garrigue, and white pepper. The mouthfeel is fruity and plush, like a good Merlot. There is an intensity of flavors on the mid-palate and the tannins and ripe and easy going.
It’s a true Mediterranean red, but at 13.5% ABV, it’s far from a bruiser. If you’re looking for something new and exciting, the Grabovac Trnjak Riserva is highly recommended.
Score: 90+/100 (You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.)
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