There is a lot of snobbery in the wine industry, something I did a little to reduce when I worked in it for five years. Apart from having little style, I also had even less knowledge, and doing tasting presentations for more than 50 people was always a nerve-wracking experience in case I got found out.
I was secretly a little in awe of the wine snobs, for there is something about wine and the deep knowledge the experts have, but it was always nice to meet a down-to-earth expert, who spoke in clear terms, and whose range of adjectives was restricted to experiences and foods you had actually heard of.
So I was mildly curious to hear the woman next to me translating the excellent Plavac Mali seminar (of which more soon) into English to a woman with a London accent, as I worked my way through 14 glasses of Plavac Mali. Simply trying to remember what I was drinking was a challenge, but this lady was making copious notes.
It turned out she was a Master of Wine, Jo Ahearne, and she was having a VERY jolly time with her professional opinions of the wine. The seminar over, I asked her for an interview about Plavac, Dalmatia and the Croatian wine potential. A really nice interview with some useful advice for Croatian winemakers. I will publish the interview on Google News soon.
"And for heaven's sake, put some vowels in the names of your wines," she joked.
"Have you ever tried Prc from Hvar? Great export potential for export to the People's Republic of China. Do you know much about Hvar wines?"
"I was on Hvar on holiday last year. Gorgeous island, but it was a holiday and i did not check out the wines really."
"Then if you have time, come and try some now."
And so it was that a Master of Wine, with a sensible range of adjectives and lack of snobbery came to the Hvar Wine Association stand yesterday.
We started with the Prc of Vujnovic, concluding that what it lacked in vowels, it more than made up for in quality. Another white, comprising three indigenous grapes - prc, bogdanusa and mehuja - was also a hit from the Sucuraj winemaker.
Having already been impressed by the Plovac Ploski at the Plavac Mali tasting, it was time to investige the rest of the Caric range. The imperial Cesarica (which translates as Empress) and internationally-acclaimed bogdanusa went down very well, as did the Ploski Barrique.
A quick taste of the Zlatan Grand Cru and then on to Tomic, where the refreshing Beleca was well received, as were the Plavac and Caplar, before a majestic finish - a first taste of the Tomic Hektorovich prosek.
Although there are many wines on show at the festival, which continues today at Radisson Blu, I don't think it will be long before Jo increases her interest in Hvar wines.