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Zlatan Otok
by
Terry Sullivan

Zlatan OtokIn 1986 the Plenkovic family formed a horticulture company named Vitis. The name was changed to Zlatan Otok in 1993. Zlatan is a first name and Otok refers to island. Zlatan Plenkovic is the owner and winemaker. He has won the Croatian Winemaker of the Year award and has continued to place first or second since the award was started. Zlatan Plenkovic comes from a long history of family winemaking. In 1985 he decided to start making his own wines.

Zlatan Otok

Vineyards

The vineyards are in the southern part of Hvar Island surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. Of the 250 hectares of vineyards, Zlatan Otok uses about half of the grapes while the other half is used by a cooperative. Most of the vineyards are planted with Plavac Mali with smaller plantings of Crljenak (Zinfandel), Babić, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for the red wine grapes. There are also plantings of white varietals Pošip, Žilavka, Dubrovačka Malvazija, and also Chardonnay and Žuti Muškat (Yellow Muscat). The vines grow on a sun facing slope in a gravel soil. Although surrounded by water, one of the vineyard challenges is lack of rain. The owner is currently working on achieving Croatian Organic Certification.

Winery

The winery produces between 500,000 and 800,000 liters of wine, enough to fill between 55,000 and 88,000 cases. This makes Zlatan Otok one of the larger producers in Croatia. The winery chose a scene of a single tree in front of their house for the wine bottle labels. The tree is on a rock connected to the coast by a small bridge.The beautiful scene overlooks the Adriatic Sea and nearby islands.

Zlatan OtokWines

We tasted four Zlatan Otok wines at Vina Croatia in New York City. The 2009 Zlatan Plavac was made of Plavac Mali. The wine was a dark ruby color and emphasized dark berry fruits with a hint of perfume. The wine aged in neutral oak for a year. The 2009 Barrique was also made with Plavac Mali grapes. This wine aged for 18 months in a combination of new and old oak barrels. The dark ruby colored wine had black berry fruit on the aroma and taste. The wine had bold tannins. The 2009 Grand Cru was also made from Plavac Mali grapes. The dark ruby colored wine offered hints of dark fruits including black cherries and plums as well as nuances of leather and spice. Bold tannins accompanied the finish. The 2010 Babić was a ruby colored wine made with Babić grapes. Dark fruits and leather were noticed on the aroma and taste. There were tannins on the fruity finish that yielded to leather.

This article was based on an email interview with Zlatan Plenkovic, owner and winemaker for Zlatan Otok and a tasting of the Zlatan Otok wines at the Vina Croatia 2nd Annual Portfolio Tasting in New York City in February 2013.

Article written February 2013


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