Istria County

By , 12 May 2016, 19:09 PM Wine Regions
Brtonigla Brtonigla Romulic and Stojcic

Croatia's largest peninsula, Istria is a place where food, olive oil and wine are just as important to the locals as the air they breathe. This is Croatia's foodie capital, and was declared the best olive oil region in the world by Flos Olei in 2016, is the land of the elusive white truffle, and home of many of Croatia's leading winemakers. Istrians holy trinity, food, wine and oil lies at the heart of everyday life.

Putting food and wine to one side for a moment, Istria is a fantastic holiday destination where you'll find charming seaside cities like Rovinj and Pula which are steeped in history, idyllic medieval hilltop towns like Groznjan and Motovun that will capture your imagination, vivid green forests, rolling hills, and ancient sites which dot the entire peninsula. Whether it be a vacation by the sea, active holiday or a weekend away, Istria has something for everyone.

When it comes to wine, Istria has some cracking wines and producers across the entire region. Istrian Malvasia is the star of the show when it comes to wine in this neck of the woods. This white grape variety is typically produced with an 11.5-13.5% alcohol content and is a superb all round wine grown in many of the Mediterranean countries.

Malvasia is described as full, well rounded with fruity and floral aromas with most of the Malvasia wines you'll find to be light, crisp, and refreshing, which goes perfectly with the Istrian climate. One of the best locations where Malvasia is produced is Brtonigla, where you can visit Cattunar, Capo, Ravalico, Veralso and Vinerino wineries and sample their best Malvasia and maybe even take a few bottles home with you.

Istria's indigenous grape variety is Teran, a red grape variety which up until 100 years ago, was the most prolific grape variety being produced in Istria. Teran is a wine with character and is bold and robust and a favourite table wine amongst the locals of Istria.

Traditionally, the wine drunk by farm workers, and households but these days the with modern wine making techniques, the winemakers of Istria have polished the diamond in the rough to become something spectacular. The wine pairs well with red meat, game and Istrian prosciutto, however, there are a couple of winemakers like Coronica, producing light quaffable versions of Teran adding a new dimension to the old world wine. 

Istria has 8 wine regions with numerous subregions offering a wide range of wines being produced using some interesting winemaking techniques e.g. the use of buried amphoras. One of the best regions is Umag-Novigrad where you'll find a cluster of brilliant wine producers, with some of the biggest names in the business, including Kozlović, Coronica, Degrassi, Kabola, Cattunar, Capo, and Clai to name just a few. As well as great wines touring through this region you'll take in some wonderful countryside, and have the chance to eat at one of the many taverns and restaurants.  Some of the other popular wineries to visit around Istria include Trapan Wine Station, Roxanich, Damjanić, and Matošević.

For those of you that like to sit back and relax, take an organised wine tour, there are countless operators who can take you to all of the wine regions of Istria. Let's face it, sometimes it's nice to just sit bac and let someone else take care of all the details.

As far as wine events go Istria has many, one of the best is the Open Wine Cellars Day, where on world wine day in May, around 70 Istrian wineries open their cellars for the day to visitors and wine lovers to explore, taste and learn about wine. The day is an excellent opportunity for anyone to take part in a global wine event and visit as many or as few wineries in a day.

Istrian's are extremely passionate about their holy trinity, food, oil and wine and are eager to be the best in the world. If you love wine, book your next trip to Istria. For more information on Istria visit the Istrian tourist board site. 

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Croatia Wine Map

For all of the various varieties, indigenous and imported, hundreds of winemakers and many different wine styles, Croatia can be divided into 4 major winemaking regions. Those are: Eastern Continental Croatia, Croatian Highlands, Istria and Kvarner Bay, and Dalmatia. We have written about those regions extensively, and we invite you to research them through our article on the regions, articles with more details written on specifics of wine-making in each of the Croatian counties and through our series of articles showing you the virtual wine maps for best-known wine regions in Croatia.

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