Let's just call it "CK." Or maybe we should call it the heirloom Zinfandel of Croatia. We'll go with CK cause it's easier to type.
Zinfandel has always been thought to have origins in Europe even when California was claiming it as their own. It just had too many similarities to European vinifera grapes, in particular, the Primitivo grape of southern Italy.
Then with the advent of genetic testing in the late 1990's, Italians and American lovers-of-all-things-Italian could rejoice. The grape was in fact determined to be one and the same. Zinfandel was Primitivo. Unfortunately the joy for Italianophiles was short-lived because Primitivo was then determined to be the Tripidrag grape of Croatia.
Tripidrag is a truly historic Croatian grape mentioned in fifteenth century literature. It is also historically documented to have found favor in other Mediterranean nations including Italy. In fact Tripidrag means "the first to ripen" while Primitivo means "early ripening" so, yeah, they're one and the same.
So where does CK come into this? And what the heck is Plavac Mali?
Plavac Mali (PM?) is the most popular grape of Croatia and as soon as the Zinfandel discussion moved to Croatia it was assumed it was Zinfandel. It isn't. Crljenak Kastelanski, which translates as the "black grape of Kastela," a community in the Dalmatia region, is genetically identical to Tripidrag and may even be closer to the clone of Zinfandel of California. So CK is Zinfandel.
Over time names of things change so Tripidrag is now called Pribidrag in Croatia, just in case you thought you were beginning to understand this convoluted post.
All of the above is here to announce Ridge Vineyards of Sonoma Valley will soon be making a red blend consisting of 1/3 each of CK, PM, and our own California Zinfandel (CZ?).
Whew, I need to sit down and take a break.
Please join us this Thursday the 21st after 5pm when Morgan Miller joins us with a tasting of Sonoma Valley wines from Gehricke Vineyards. We will taste their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Please join us!