After several years of relative stagnation, during which Malvazija lived off good marketing and perfecting a somewhat old style model ‘clean and fresh,’ this year brought several excellent wines which change the perception of Malvazija and equally demonstrate the versatility of Istrian Malvazija and its capability to yield truly great wines. By this we refer to Marko Fakin in the category of young wines, and even more of Kozlović’s Santa Lucia from 2015, as well as Ipša’s debutant macerated Malvazija, Laguna’s Vižinada 2013 which is just nearing its peak, and Clai’s Sveti Jakov 2015.
We have been consuming Sveti Jakov for a dozen years. The first harvests we tasted impressed us with their expressiveness, but they obviously had technical flaws. The 2013 harvest announced a significant leap in the pureness of taste and aroma, without losing strength and naturalness, while the 2015 harvest yielded probably the best Sveti Jakov yet.
Sveti Jakov 2015 is grand, muscled and dense as almost all other wines by Giorgio Clai. But, Sveti Jakov from 2015 doesn’t have sharp edges as his early white wines, nor excessive bitterness which was also a characteristic of previous harvests of Clai Malvazijas. The new Sveti Jakov is at the same time rudimentary and elegant, with rich and complex fruit aromas starting with orange peel, with some secondary aromas and a full, long, luxurious taste which lingers on and on and on. It is one of only several Croatian ‘natural’ wines, which can take their place alongside superior wines of the same genre from Goriška Brda and Collio areas. Clai’s Sveti Jakov 2015 is a strong candidate for the Wine of the Year title by Plava Kamenica Cult.
Sveti Jakov belongs among white wines which go well with red meat, including bloody steaks. If you wish to be more conventional, try tuna, amberjack, a good salmon or larger wild sea bass. Very old hard cheeses are also a good choice, as well as superior dark chocolate, as much as that sounds unusual.
Translated from Plava Kamenica.