Wines of Balkans blog

Discover Superb Wines of Istria

Written on 11-03-2012 by

Istrians produce both great white and red wines

Many Istrians regard wine as an inexplicable unearthly sacred potion, a necessity and passion, the culture of living, as nourishment and liquor, prayer and a curse. Istrians have been historically devoted to the grapevine. A proverbial saying confirms it: Wine comes from grapevine and milk from a goat. Wheat is life, while wine is a myth and as our elders would say: The bread is for the flesh and wine is for the soul. Istria, this miniature continent and the largest peninsula of the Adriatic coast, slopes gently into the sea towards the eternally sunny southwest. The wine's bouquet and body is enriched by the special land structure, i.e. the red soil spreading over the littoral and the white soil covering the hinterland area.

The Istrian vineyards spread over approx.15.200 acres of land. The western viticulture area (in the vicinity of Poreč, Buje, Pula and Rovinj) is the largest, its vineyards covering approx. 14.430 acres. The central Istria wine-growing hills (around Buzet and Pazin) spread over some 516.44 acres, while in the eastern part (near Labin), there are around 255 acres of vine grapes.

Over the past century the Istrian Malmsey has born the title of the most famous and ubiquitous wine of our peninsula. [In the past, the names Malvasia, Malvazia, and Malmsey have been used interchangeably for Malvasia-based wines; however in modern oenelogy, 'Malmsey' is now used almost exclusively for a sweet variety of Madeira wine made from Malvasia grape]. Depending on the chemical processing procedure, nurture and vintage year, its color varies from straw to golden yellow. Its scent primarily reminds of the locust flower scent. The contents of its main components make her an average to-full bodied wine, its volume of alcohol ranging from 11.5 to 13.5 with delicate bouquet and fresh taste. It complements most superbly the entire variety of the Mediterranean cuisine.

The Istrian counterpart of malmsey is Teran. Teran and its subtype Refosc are both considered the pristine, indigenous wines of Istria. We tend to call the red wines black, mostly because of Teran's intense, deep, ruby color. The local farmer gently whispers, its color is similar to hare’s blood and it can be drunk like milk. Its bouquet is fruit-like and its special taste is easily recognized. It is in excellent harmony with heavier, more calory-infused dishes, such as local stew, sauces and venison. A great many connoisseurs of Istrian wines will tend to rank the highest the Istrian muscatel or, to be more specific, the muscatel produced in and around Momjan, owing to it’s gold-like color, intense bouquet of wild clove pink and it’s exquisite aroma. Dry and sweet. Worthy complement of desserts and many other delicacies. Even aphrodisiac power has been attributed to it.

Thus we are proposing to you these Istrian Wine Roads in order to make you familiar with our wine-cellars and small wine-vaults. A larger, more explicit symbol (flag) was used to indicate wine-cellars, i.e. the ones offering greater selection of wine, modern technology, a bottled wine assortment. A smaller sign (barrel) was used to mark smaller rural wine-cellars and vaults using traditional vintage methods and offering a more modest selection of not necessarily bottled wine, but nonetheless, of good quality and at a more favourable price. We are convinced that you are about to get lost trying to figure a way to move across our wine roads, but it can happen to us local people as well. Istria is a country of numberless trails and small hamlets; you set out for one hamlet and turn out in another but you needn't worry, there is good wine in there, too.

Dear visitors, you are always welcome to inform us about your visit to the wine cellar by phone.

Welcome to Istria!

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