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New varietals for a new season

Ready to continue your journey of discovery into the new old world?

Summer is finally here, and we are celebrating with a host of new flavour profiles. We invite you to challenge your taste buds with some new varietals, and toast in summer with a duo of Adriatic rosés ...

The WineAlign team of experts have been busy tasting our latest releases, and we have shared their notes and ratings below ... we hope you will be as impressed as they have been!

Wishing you a wonderful start to the summer season and safe and happy sipping ...

VUGAVA - an aromatic gift from the ancient Greeks

Vugava is an ancient varietal from the island of Vis in Dalmatia. It is believed to have been introduced to the region by the ancient Greeks. It thrives on stony, sandy hillside slopes, where, with optimal sun exposure and Adriatic breezes, it ripens quickly, and, as a result, the harvest needs to be closely managed.

Genetic analysis is ongoing, but it is believed to be indigenous to Croatia. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not genetically matched to Viognier. Wines are intense and aromatic in nature, golden yellow in colour, with a palate of green apples and ripe apricots.

Stina Vugava

"Vugava is ... one of the shining lights of the Croatian wine revolution. This is a high-quality version from nearby Brac Island made by the excellent Stina Winery, evident right off the top, one of those lovely, stony, sun-drenched white and yellow fruit-flavoured Mediterranean whites with citrus blossom notes, rich body, bright, balancing acids and perfectly dialed lees influence. This is exciting wine, full stop. Check it out."

94 pts.

Style: Dry white

Production: Stainless Steel

Alcohol: 12%

Price: $39.95

DEBIT - a currency accepted by Napoleon

Debit is a white grape indigenous to the Dalmatian region of Croatia. Historically, since Napoleonic times, this high quality wine which produces high yields, was used as a form of currency, to pay off debts - hence the name! It thrives on inland vineyards, which benefit from good sun exposure, as well as cooling mountain breezes.

It is believed to be indigenous to Croatia, but is also grown today in Northern Macedonia. When well produced​, wines attain depth and intensity, with great minerality, and strong citrus notes. It is also well suited to maceration, producing wonderfully flavourful orange wines with notes of dried fruits, herbs and nuts.

Ante Sladic Debit Oya Noya

"This is a skin-fermented "orange" wine... of burnished gold colour. This is well balanced, complex and intriguing! The grape here is the local debit, which deserves real credit. The nose shows melon/starfruit, subtle tea and jasmin notes - exotic but not overt. It is medium-full bodied, rounded with some expectation of sweetness, yet it comes off dry and even a bit tannic thanks to the skin contact."

David Lawrason - WineAlign (June 2021) 94 pts.

Style: Orange / macerated

Production: Oak aged

Alcohol: 13%

Price: $49.65

TRIBIDRAG - the original Zinfandel, a wine fit for a President

Tribidrag, otherwise known as Crljenak Kaštelanski, is an old varietal with its ancestral home in the region of Dalmatia. It is well suited to the hot, Mediterranean climate, and ripens early, to produce wonderfully deep red wines, with subtle tannins and good acidity.

In 2001, genetic analysis confirmed it to be the original Zinfandel / Primitivo, and 4 years later it was determined to be a parent of Dalmatia's flagship red, Plavac Mali. In the years since this genetic discovery, the grape has gone through somewhat of a renaissance in Croatia, with more producers embracing the history and traditions of this varietal.

Wines are bold and fruit-forward, with strong notes of Mediterranean herbs and pepper.

The original Zinfandel was recently thrown back into the limelight when it was selected to be served at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. If it's good enough for a president ....

Rizman Tribidrag

"Nowhere does the combination of old vine concentration, field blend variegation and marine air do this to this family of varietal wines. Part dried leathery fruit and part salty sea, all in, fully, completely Croatia. California growers should want to kill for this fruit, that’s how special it is."

Michael Godello - WineAlign (June 2021) 92 pts.

Style: Dry red

Production: Oak aged

Alcohol: 13.5%

Price: $64.65

PLAVINA - a Dalmatian flavour profile with a lighter touch

Plavina is a red grape, most commonly found in Northern Dalmatia, although it can be found throughout Coastal Croatia, from the Kvarner Gulf to Montenegro. When it meets its terroir match - rich soil with a high moisture content - it produces consistently high yields, and makes wines that are typically light to medium bodied, with great acidity.

Genetic analysis has established Plavina to be a cross between Tribidrag and Verdeca (from Puglia, Italy). It is still widely cultivated in Croatia, and has all but disappeared from Puglia.

​Wines are soft, fresh and bright, with a flavour profile of red fruits, bramble berry and earthy undertones.

Ante Sladic Plavina

"This is a lovely, perfumed, very Mediterranean wine from the Dalmatian Coast ... It's replete with pot pourri and both fresh and sundried fruit aromas and flavours. The palate is surprisingly lively and almost light, very savoury... Tannins are very fine-grained, and structure is based more on acids, making it a juicy, food-friendly option. Lots of savour and regional swagger here for the money, worth discovering."

91 pts.

Style: Dry Red

Production: Oak aged

Alcohol: 13%

Price: $26.65

ROSÉ - perfect for patio sipping

Summer is simply not complete without a bottle or 2 of rosé decorating your patio or porch, and offering you both refreshment and delight ...

Damjanic Penelope Rosé

"It pours moderately pale salmon pink. The aromas are generous strawberry and peach, with linden florals, pepper and a touch of grapefruit. It is medium weight, fairly smooth yet fresh with firm acidity, some alcohol heat (despite only 12.5%) and excellent length. Quite lovely."

91 pts.

Grape: Borgonja (aka Blaufränkisch)

Style: Dry Rosé

Production: Stainless steel

Alcohol: 12.5%

Price: $29.95

Volarevic La Chic! Rosé

"Lovely, fresh and lifted, fruity-floral rosé here made from plavac mali grown in Dalmatia, succulent and juicy. There's genuine depth and concentration on offer - this is good rosé, with sapidity and salinity in spades. Premium price, but backed by premium wine."

91 pts.

Grape: Plavac Mali

Style: Dry Rosé

Production: Stainless steel

Alcohol: 12.5%

Price: $32.80

Ready to challenge and awaken your tastebuds?

We have curated a mixed case showcasing these Flavours of Summer just for you ...

Our Flavours of Summer - Discovery Pack highlights new arrivals for summer - a combination of new varietals and new producers to welcome to Ontario.

A selection of wines perfect for patio sipping and to accompany BBQ'd foods and summer salads. Enjoy!

Mixed Case of 6 wines: $243.95

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