Cipidrag a.k.a. Zinfandel—Living the American Dream
Are you up for an inspiring, epic adventure story that spans centuries, connects continents, the world’s seas and oceans, and includes the world’s best detectives who use cutting-edge forensic technology to solve ancient mysteries? Meet the main character of our story, his name is… Zinfandel! No, Crljenak! Sorry, Tribidrag! Or maybe after all… Cipidrag?!
It’s the middle of the 19th century, and as Queen Victoria looks to establish her many offspring on as many European thrones as possible, America has long since broken with the atavisms of the past and, with its pioneering spirit, technological vision, creative nerve, and capitalist mindset, is laying the foundations for future planetary domination. True wine lovers on both sides of the Atlantic (fore)felt this trend long before many—we simply have the palate and nose for such things—captivated by the lavishly robust zinfandel, a red wine that spread from the vineyards of Long Island and Boston all the way west and found its promised land in alluvial Californian soil, from which it would soon conquer the world. But so many oenologists, sommeliers, enthusiasts and charlatans ponder, sniffing and shaking the intoxicating red nectar of the New World: what is this Zinfandel, where does it come from, where are its roots? While some speculators proclaim it to be an indigenous American grapevine and wine—probably the same ones who are convinced that the Earth is flat and disease is God’s punishment—those less imaginative claim it has French roots because France is, after all, synonymous with premium wines. How original! Nerds, however, with their persistent detective work, discover that this enigmatic grapevine started its journey across the pond from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy—and nonetheless fall into a collective delusion, convinced that Zinfandel (LOL) is a purebred Hungarian.
Cluster of Discord
And just when about a hundred years later everyone agreed that they would never agree, from the south of Italy, from the region of Apulia on the very heel of the Apennine boot, comes a new apple, that is, a cluster of discord. In this region, namely, people drink wine called primitivo, which is incredibly similar—let’s call it for the time being—to American Zinfandel. Is it possible that this is the true ancestor of the grapevine that is now living its American dream? Ampelographers have unequivocally established that it is an identical grapevine and you will think that the mystery is seemingly solved, but, in fact, we have not received an answer, but after a century of searching, we have only come to the right question: where does the Primitivo grapevine really come from? Dr. Lamberti from the Italian city of Bari came up with the idea that this might just be a variant of the Croatian Plavac Mali, and he brought to the discussion the hitherto neutral and proverbially sleepy Croats, who joined the race last, but were determined to win it. And lo and behold! In an incredibly extensive search, Croatian and American experts visit vineyards along and across our coast and islands, submit the grapevines to endless DNA analyses, and in a remote corner of a vineyard near Kaštel Novi in 2001, they find nine grapevines of the long-neglected and practically forgotten Kaštela’s Crljenak variety. The CSI technology undoubtedly establishes that this particular vine is the common ancestor of Zinfandel and Primitivo. Also, it was soon found that it still exists, although in extremely small quantities, in other Dalmatian localities: in the vicinity of Omiš in 2002, it was concluded that the Pribidrag vine is identical to Crljenak from Kaštela, and in the courtyard of an elderly lady from Split in 2012, another identical twin was found. This was a single vine of the variety known as Tribidrag, which lived its glory days back in the Renaissance as a popular Dalmatian wine with which people toasted in both Dalmatian homes and European courts back in the 15th century.
Happy End from Vis
…And here we are, again, on the island of Vis because this is the best possible place for us! American Zinfandel, Apulian Primitivo, Pribidrag of Omiš and Tribidrag of Split is known here as Cipidrag, and the Lipanović Winery enthusiastically snatched it from oblivion. Now, together with our queen, Vugava, it grows under the year-round sun in the Vis žatica, a wine-growing alluvial soil in which there is “more rocks than soil”, but such soils are extremely rich in nutrients and ideal for grapevines. Cipidrag needs time, it needs to age at least a year in a barrel, and an additional year in a bottle. We don’t want to rush perfection, so we give it time to delight you in all its rounded fullness. Today, 360 priceless Cipidrag grapevines grow in the Vis žatika‘s maternal embrace, producing approximately 300 bottles of wine per year. The trial vintage from 2016 delighted us and wine experts around the world with top quality, so we treasure the remaining few bottles, but we recently gave the green light to the 2007 Cipidrag, which, after six years of maturation, you can now enjoy during a visit to our cellar. Similar to its cousin Plavac Mali, but different and completely original, Cipidrag has a lower tannin level, so it is lighter and easier to drink, yet sovereignly powerful and gentlemanly refined like its mega-popular American and almost obscure Italian great-grandson. Taste it and all the mysteries of this world will be solved!