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Iuris Saltwater Sauvignon Blanc 2018
As refreshing as a summer dip in the sea, this featherlight Sauvignon Blanc exudes lemony freshness, salty minerality and hints of elderberries on the nose. Take a sip and you’ll immediately feel energized by the vibrant acidity and lively citrus flavours which make this an excellent match for scallops, pan-fried white fish or creamy risottos. Thanks to the vivacious personality of this white, you can even serve it alongside tricky ingredients like asparagus or artichokes which can be very difficult to pair with wine.
This versatile and gastronomic Sauvignon Blanc is the work of Iuris Winery based in the Danube region of Croatia. Although the winery itself only dates back to 1977, many of the vineyards on the site were planted in 1910. Around 85% of the vineyards are dedicated to red grape varieties with the rest planted with Sauvignon Blanc and the indigenous Graševina grape.
The winery harvests the Sauvignon Blanc grapes for this wine just before full maturity to preserve freshness and create a vibrant, clean style. To provide balance to the crisp acidity and a rounded mouthfeel, Iuris Winery ferment 15% of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes in large 500 litre barrels which are made out of American and Slavonian oak.
Krauthaker Grasevina Mitrovac 2018
Grasevina, the Croatian name for the grape Welschriesling, is a specialty of the Krauthaker winery, located on the southern slopes of Krndija in the Kutjevo wine growing region. Almost 65% of their vineyards are planted to the varietal, and their mastery of this grape shows in the Grasevina Mitrovac. Straw yellow in color, the aromas leap out of the glass, with ripe apple, apricot, honey, and chamomile leading the way. The palate is fresh and fruity, with more stone fruit, a creamy and round texture, and a tart finish with just a hint of refreshing bitter melon and salinity. A hint of noble rot throughout the sip lends sweet, dessert-wine like flavors to this wine, although it is dry.
This wine is a fantastic pairing for richer seafood dishes like crab or lobster risotto, cured meats, or light summer appetizers like prosciutto and melon. It would also work well as a digestif during a cheese course.
Krauthaker Winery, in the renowned winegrowing region of Kutjevo, is a Grasevina specialist, making multiple types of the grape with both dry wines and sweeter, late harvested versions. The Grasevina Mitrovac is picked two weeks after the regular Grasevina, which lends some Botrytis Cinerea, or “Noble Rot” notes to the wine, however it is still fermented dry. The Mitrovac vineyard is fertilized only with manure, and is worked in part by horses so as to not compact the soil, and in keeping with Krauthaker’s environmentally friendly mantra.
Matosevic Grimalda White 2016
Unlike many of Croatia’s top winemakers, Ivica Matošević did not come from a local winemaking family. While studying for his PhD at the Faculty of Agriculture he was bitten by the enology bug and set out on the long journey to crafting his own wines. Initially he worked in Friuli in Italy before setting out on his own with purchased grapes from relatives. Eventually he was able to acquire his own estate in Brdo in central Istria and in 1996 he proudly bottled his first wines which soon drew the attention of international wine critics.
Ivica’s Grimalda white is a stunning blend of Chardonnay, Istrian Malvasia and Sauvignon Blanc which demonstrates the remarkable quality of Ivica’s grapes and his inspired approach to winemaking. Ivica sources the grapes for this wine from his sunny south-facing terraces which provide very low yields and ferments and ages the wine in French oak barrels for 12 months.
The result is a rich, creamy white wine which exudes tropical and citrus notes overlaid with hints of buttercream, toasted nuts and honey. The first sip reveals a vibrant freshness, full body, and well-rounded texture with zingy citrus flavours that linger long on the tongue. This unique blend is a stellar gastronomic wine, combining well even with foods which are more difficult to pair with wine like asparagus, olives, and artichokes.
Korta Katarina Posip 2018
This unusual white wine is made using an indigenous Croatian grape called Posip which is thought to be indigenous to the island of Korcula. Widely regarded as one of the country’s finest expressions of Posip, the Korta Katarina version is made with grapes carefully selected from island vineyards close to the village of Cara. Following the harvest in August or September the grape must is vinified in stainless steel tanks and then aged in oak barrels for 6 months to give extra complexity and a fuller body.
The result is a lively wine that exudes intense citrusy and peach notes on the nose along with delicate hints of jasmine and honeysuckle. On the palate it is well-rounded and very soft, combining rich stone fruit flavours with a creamy texture and fresh acidity to provide balance.
Although Korta Katarina only released its first vintage in 2006, the winery has quickly established a strong reputation for producing stunning wines on the Southern Dalmatian coast which is Croatia’s most southerly wine region. American founders Lee and Penny Anderson first fell in love with the country while assisting with humanitarian aid efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2001. They started out slow by purchasing small parcels of land on the Peljesac Peninsula and then constructed a gorgeous modern winery and hotel where guests can immerse themselves in Croatia’s winemaking culture.
Kozlovic Malvazija 2019
Reminiscent of the fresh sea breeze which blows along the Istrian coast, this pretty white is made with local favorite Malvasia which has been grown here for centuries. The small Kozlovic winery has been in the hands of the same family since 1904 and is currently run by Gianfranco and Antonella Kozlovic. The couple are passionate about combining Croatia’s stunning indigenous varieties with modern winemaking techniques to show to the world the incredible potential of Istrian wines.
In the glass the first aromas to emerge are citrusy lemon, pear and crisp green apple followed by hints of dried sage and oregano. On the palate richer fruits like peaches, apricots and pineapples come to the fore along with a harmonising salty minerality from the limestone vineyard soils.
The vibrant personality of this white make it ideal to sip in the warmer months alongside a platter of fresh seafood or simply savour by the pool. This Malvasia is also ideal to serve well chilled paired with creamier dishes like an elegant prawn risotto or pasta carbonara thanks to the bright acidity which helps to revive and cleanse your palate after each bite.
Coronica Malvasia 2018
The Coronica family has such an ancient connection with this northwestern part of the Istrian Peninsula that the nearby village of Koreniki bears an outdated spelling of their name. Moreno Coronica founded his winery here in 1992 and since then his unwavering focus on showcasing Istria’s indigenous grape varieties and traditional wine styles has made him one of the region’s finest winemakers.
This Istrian Malvasia is Moreno’s flagship wine and represents around 75% of his total production. His vines grow in Istria’s famous Terra Rossa soils which are nutrient-rich and underlaid with limestone. During the ripening period plentiful sunshine is balanced by late afternoon mistral breezes which help to preserve freshness in the grapes.
These are ideal conditions for producing top quality Malvasia and Moreno’s version is a very pure expression of the varietal thanks to his use of stainless steel barrels during vinification. The nose is delightfully aromatic with lemon zest, white peach and a distinctive “freškina” or “scent of the sea”. The first sip reveals a bright acidity along with ample rich stone fruit flavours and a medium body. Try serving it alongside fruits de mer, pan-fried fish or even feta marinated in olive oil and Mediterranean herbs.