Nikola and Albert Benvenuti from Kaldir near Motovun have in recent years become some of the most ambitious and serious Croatian winemakers. Their aspirations and scope is best described by international results: 95 points at Decanter for the 2013 Teran and a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge for the Malvazija Anno Domini 2015.
Along with that, in nearly all domestic selections of last year, Benvenuti was deservedly chosen as winery of the year. Albert and Nikola arrived to Zagreb on Wednesday to promote their new wines in Vinodol Restaurant. The 2017 Rose is as dry as a classical brose, which is more than commendable. It is seriously damaging for the Croatian wine industry that small, artisan winemakers, as well as large companies, still insist on semi-dry, dull roses with a fruit juice taste which have long gone out of fashion in serious wine countries (we hope they never return).
Modern roses are dry, fizzy, hard and refreshing, just like the second rose with the Benvenuti label on the market. This firm structure is well confronted by strong scents of strawberries and raspberries. The Benvenuti Rose 2017, made from Teran, is an ideal modern summer wine, which should be consumed in large quantities and quickly.
The basic Malvazija of the Benvenuti brothers always levitated between Coronica’s mineral and the silky and fuller Kozlović style, usually with more body than Kozlović. The new Benvenuti basic wine has a much stronger, meatier body than one would expect from a problematic last harvest, with solid freshness and pure varietal elements on the nose and in the taste. It is certainly another hit, which will probably be sold out by the end of the summer.
And while Rose and Malvazija are competently made commercial wines, the macerated Malvazija Anno Domini 2016 is a wine of great character and recognizable personality, with a strong wow factor. Although sounding a bit sacrilegious, it seems to us the Anno Domini 2016 is superior to the international champion Anno Domini 2015. Here’s why.
The Anno Domini 2016 is especially distinct and unusually expressive for Malvazijas: it contains typical varietal, flowery-acacia-almond elements, but also deep tertiary nuances of serious orange wines ranging from dried citruses and apricots, to spices such as sumac. The new Anno Domini is very full in the mouth, delightfully plentiful, with unusual earthy effect which we have not previously identified in Malvazijas, and with a strong mineral ending. The texture is nearly perfectly oily, like the best Matošević Antiquas. The Anno Domini is a great wine worth certainly between 93 and 95 points, justifying the Benvenuti brothers thesis that 2016 was one of the best Istrian harvests of the century.
For the end in Vinodol, they offered the 2016 Caldierosso, an unusual coupage of Teran, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo and Merlot, as well as the San Salvatore 2013. The latter is a late harvest Muscat vinified after a four-month drying of the grapes. Previous wines of the label mostly turned out phenomenally, something we were convinced of at Easter, after trying a bottle of ultra-aromatic, intoxicating, dense but still fresh San Salvatore 2011 with crisp pastry with strawberries and mascarpone cream. The Benvenuti bothers again confirmed they belong in the very top of the Croatian wine scene.
Translated from Plava Kamenica, for the original click here.