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Wines included in a case
Clai Ottocento Bijeli 2014
With just 8 hectares under vine, this boutique winery has been in the hands of the same family for generations and is currently run by talented winemaker Giorgio Clai. The Clai family’s winemaking philosophy centres around a celebration of indigenous grapes which they skillfully blend with popular international varieties that suit the Istrian terroir.
Their Bijeli is a dry white blend of local Istrian malvasia, Pinot gris, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc which are all harvested from the family’s organically-farmed vineyards on the Istrian Peninsula close to the border with Italy. After the harvest the grape must is vinified along with the skins using wild yeasts which are naturally present on the skins of the grapes. The wine is then aged in large wooden casks for around 15 months to soften and integrate the four different components until Giorgio decides it is ready to bottle and release.
Giorgio’s wines have developed a cult following in top restaurants and wine bars all over the world and it’s easy to see why once you take a sip of his stunning Bijeli. On the nose there are seductive notes of lemon curd, acacia flowers, ripe peaches and caramel, while the palate is well-rounded with spicy hints from the barrel ageing and plenty of ripe stone fruit and orange flavours.
Roxanich Milva Chardonnay 2010
Although Mladen Rožanić only released his first vintage in 2008, he has quickly developed a cult following amongst natural wine aficionados. His unique bottlings take inspiration from both traditional Istrian winemaking methods and his extensive travels which enabled him to work alongside some of the world’s top winemakers.
Mladen’s Milva is often described as a Mersault-style Chardonnay thanks to its rich, luscious style which quickly seduces fans of orange wines. The hard work begins in the vineyard where Mladen insists on organic farming practices to produce the best quality grapes possible. When the grapes arrive at the winery they undergo a week-long maceration to extract plenty of colour, aromas and flavours from the skins. After a wild yeast fermentation the wine is aged in large wooden casks for a total of six years until Mladen decides it is ready for release.
Pour yourself a glass of this special Chardonnay and you’ll immediately notice the gorgeous amber hue and complex, multi-layered aromas of nutmeg, almonds, jasmine and tropical fruits. These aromas carry on to the palate where they are complemented by hints of minerality, a generous full body and a very long finish. Try pairing Milva with pan-fried salmon or veal dishes to complement the intense flavour profile and firm structure of this unique wine.
Dubokovic Moja M 2010
Superstar Croatian winemaker Ivo Duboković initially studied economics and only discovered a love of viticulture later in life. Together with his father, Jako, Ivo began bottling the wine produced from the family’s prime vineyards on the sunny island of Hvar which had previously been sold to the local cooperative. Since then his boutique winery has gained something of a cult following for its sensational expressions of indigenous grape varieties that are largely unknown outside of Croatia.
Ivo’s Moja M means “My M” in Croatian, with the M standing for the local Maraština grape variety. Following the harvest Ivo macerates the grape must with the skins for an extended period to produce a full bodied, aromatic white wine which exudes aromas of pear, quince, caramel and acacia blossom.
Take a sip and you’ll immediately notice the seductive cherry, cedar and lemon zest flavours and hints of dried Mediterranean herbs. The rich creamy mouthfeel and gentle tannins are well-balanced by a crisp acidity and subtle minerality on the finish. This appealing orange wine would make an excellent introduction to macerated white wines thanks to its easy-going and food-friendly personality.
Vodopivec Vitovska 2015
Paolo Vodopivec produces extraordinary wines in the Carso region of north-eastern Italy close to the border with Slovenia. The Vodopivec winery was founded in 1994 when Paolo and Valter took over the family business from their parents. Today winemaker Paolo only works with the indigenous Vitovska grape variety and employs ancient winemaking techniques like the use of large earthenware vessels known as qvevri.
The Vodopivec is a stunning orange wine which is vinified with the grape skins and matured inside a qvevri for between 6 and 12 months before undergoing further ageing in large neutral botti or wooden barrels. Paolo introduced the use of qvevri from Georgia in 2005 with the aim of showcasing the true and pure character of the Vitovska variety.
This winemaking process gives the wine a unique character and a deep orange hue thanks to the additional colour that is extracted from the skins during the long maceration period. On the nose there are delicate hints of tarragon, jasmine and sweet spices, while the palate offers a firm structure, generous full body and soft tannins. This distinctive wine is ideal to enjoy alongside creamy chicken dishes, risottos, or baked cod accompanied by Mediterranean vegetables.