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Kozlovic Malvazija 2018
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.
Matosevic Alba Malvazija 2018
This bright and lively white wine is crafted from the local Malvazija Istarska or Malvasia Istriana grape which is one of Croatia’s oldest and most respected indigenous varietals. It has been grown in Istria since the ancient Greek era and produces many of Croatia’s finest white wines.
Ivica Matošević’s Alba Malvazija is widely regarded as a benchmark example of the variety and reveals Ivica’s immense talent and passion for winemaking. Ivica choose to leave his PhD in agriculture to pursue winemaking and has quickly become a leading voice in the promotion of Croatian wines. His winery in Istria has been a key player in the quality revolution in the Croatian wine industry and he has even been described by Steven Spurrier as the country’s top winemaker.
Ivica sources the grapes for this wine from vineyards at 200 to 300 metres of altitude which enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate. To produce the best quality grapes possible Ivica minimises the use of chemicals in the vineyard and gently presses the grapes in the vineyard to avoid over-extraction. He then ferments the must in stainless steel tanks and ages the wine on the lees over the winter to create an aromatic wine with notes of acacia flowers, citrus, and green apples balanced by a creamy texture and bright acidity.
Schiopetto Collio Malvasia 2017
Malvasia Istriana, as the variety is known locally, is one of the Friuli region’s traditional local grapes which has been used to make wine here for generations. Schiopetto has a reputation for being one of the region’s trailblazers for crisp and elegant modern white wines, and today they apply decades of expertise to producing exceptionally delicate and aromatic whites.
The estate’s Malvasia vines are planted on hillside plots where the hot and sunny days ensure optimal ripeness which is balanced by freshness thanks to the cooler nighttime temperatures. To ensure the Malvasia grapes develop aromatic complexity and depth, they are left on the vine for an extended period of maturation before being carefully harvested by hand. In the winery the grape must is vinified in stainless steel tanks and then left to age on the fine lees for 8 months before bottling.
Classic Malvasia aromas of almond blossom, honeysuckle, sweet nectar, and ripe tropical fruit leap out of the glass while the first sip offers a lively, mouthwatering freshness, light body and creamy texture thanks to the extended maturation. This is a truly stunning aperitif and also combines harmoniously with fresh seafood, crisp summer salads, and fish served with fruit salsas.
Cattunar Malvasia 2017
The Cattunar family have been making wine in this part of western Istria for generations and even continued to grow grapes during the difficult years of communist rule when private enterprise was not permitted. Franco Cattunar and his wife Vesna currently work one of the region’s largest wineries with a total of 56 hectares and they have recently been joined by their daughter Nicole and son Edi who represent the next generation and the future of the estate.
This classic Croatian Malvasia is made with grapes grown on the Cattunar estate’s prized Zmergo vineyard which offers a snapshot of Istra’s four key soil types: white marl, terra rossa or red clay, and black and grey sandstone. This region enjoys abundant sunshine during the growing season which helps the grapes to achieve optimal ripeness, while proximity to the glittering Adriatic sea provides cooling breezes which preserve acidity and ensure the finished wines are well-balanced and elegant.
Pour yourself a glass of this crisp white wine and you’ll immediately notice the intense stone fruit aromas and hints of acacia blossom, vanilla and hay. On the palate there’s plenty of freshness, a well-rounded mouthfeel and a rich white peach and tropical fruit flavours. Try serving it alongside pan-fried sea bream or a generous platter of fruit de mer to emphasise the light and breezy character of this easy-going wine.
Roxanich Malvazijica 2016
In his native Croatia Mladen Rožanić is lauded for producing some of the country’s most exciting natural wines. His philosophy puts Mother Nature right at the heart of his winemaking and creates wines which do much more than just satisfy the taste buds. Before starting work in Croatia, Mladen spent time travelling the world’s wine regions and working alongside top winemakers to acquire the knowledge and experience he needed to set up his own winery in Istria.
Mladen’s charming Malvazijica is crafted from the Istrian strain of Malvasia and fermented in neutral stainless steel tanks to preserve the pure aromatic character of the variety. In the glass the wine has a gorgeous golden yellow hue and ample aromas of hay, wet clay and dried rosemary. On the palate those notes evolve into bay leaf, dried fig, and earthy flavours which are complemented by a fresh acidity and silky smooth mouthfeel.
The unusual flavour profile of this Malvasia makes it an excellent match for sashimi, oysters and pan-fried scallops. The bold earthy and herbal character also makes a great partner for certain foods that can be difficult to pair successfully like asparagus and artichokes.
Coronica Malvasia 2017
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.