We present to you the autochthonous wine varieties of Northwest Istria: of superb quality and irresistible taste, appropriate for all occasions and dishes. For real wine connoiseurs and those about to join their ranks, the following can serve as an excellent guide to all that this part of Istria takes so much pride in. In addition, as true gourmets, we won’t miss the chance to tell you which dishes and wines go best together.
Color, aroma and taste:
Casting a glance at the Malvasia in your glass, you will immediately recognize its straw yellow color with a green, almost crystal shine. If you take a sniff, you will first sense a strong, mature and fruity aroma, dominated by green apples and a somewhat tenderer aroma of white flowers. It will not be as intense, though, as some more aromatic varieties. If you continue studying it, you will discover that Malvasia has a dry and harmonious taste, characterized above all by a fresh and fruity flavor. With clear and distinctive mostly fruit flavors and floral traces, it is also enriched with herbal tones such as that of peach (the black locust, nectarine and pear flowers), or dry herbal tones instead. Feeling it against your palate, you will realize its taste is just as expressive as its aroma is. Elegant and fresh in the beginning, and then pleasantly bitter and almondy, it will reveal its other side – the fullness of taste and the force of the alcohol. Finally, only after swallowing will you feel the strong mineral and slightly tart taste of the citrus.
Malvasia pairs flawlessly with fish menus of any kind, and especially with those including blue fish. This wine will complement perfectly white or blue fish, sea food, clams, risotto or pasta with shrimp and prawns. We would even dare to suggest that it pairs excellently with Japanese food – especially sushi! If you prefer meat menus, we recommend the Malvasia with dishes made with white meat, such as chicken and rice, pasta or grilled vegetables. Of course, you must also try it together with the traditional Istrian pasta called fuži, and lighter sauces.
Distinguished producers in the area of Northwest Istria: Cuj, Degrassi, Coronika, Kozlović
Color, aroma and taste:
The alluring dark, ruby red of the Teran will steal your heart at first look! Should you stay hypnotized by its appeal longer, you will notice an opaque red color on the edges, and a purple reflection. The Teran is a true joy to look at, not to mention tasting it! But first let’s talk about the aroma, like real wine lovers do. Here we can discover the uniqueness of its sophisticated, and superb character. The herbal notes reveal traces of green tea and mint, while the sweetness reveals the presence of the ripe marasca cherry, plums and berries. True connoiseurs will not miss the traces of vanilla, cinnamon and even pepper. Would it surprise you to find out that if you are careful, you will sense dark chocolate in the teran as well? All together, it makes for a veritable rhapsody of aromas. Only now do we get to the taste. Already by the aroma you can tell that it is a fresh wine, delicious and with a fruit flavor, extremely supple, with a note of black pepper. The true charm of the Teran is revealed in its herbal note, but also in the fruit flavor of sour cherry, blackberry, raspberry, currant and wild berries, which will only be revealed in the aftertaste, in the gradual and powerful shifts of flavors on your palate and in your throat. One of the most remarkable features of the Teran is its freshness, a quality usually reserved for distinctly tart white wines, and you will surely not miss the taste of mocca in the aftertaste.
Teran is an autochthonous wine variety of Northwest Istria, and failing to have it with the local sheep’s milk cheese and Istrian prosciutto is considered a capital sin in the region. It goes excellently with dried meat products such as the local prosciutto and wild game cured meats and sausages. It is also a delight with the wild game stew with truffles, prunes and home-made gnocchi, and an ideal accompaniment to Mediterranean meat delicacies, lamb prepared under the iron lid called peka, etc. Having tried it once, you will never again have doubts about what wine to serve the mentioned delicacies with.
Distinguished producers in the area of Northwest Istria: Cuj, Degrassi, Coronika
Color, aroma and taste:
Cultivating Refosco from ancient times, Northwest Istria is proud of this autochthonous variety. The dark, opaque and seductive ruby red, almost purple color of the Refosco captivates all those in contact with it and reveals the strength and character of this variety even before taking a sniff, let alone the first sip. Although the Teran and Refosco have very similar features, we will focus on what makes them unique and different. The identity of the aroma of Refosco is shaped by an expressive note of fruit, dominated by sour cherry, marasca and plum, but also by wild berries, such as the blueberry and blackberry. Taking the first sip, you will also realize that it is a very fresh wine variety. You will taste the fruit and herbal tones with traces of Mediterranean herbs, but you will also sense a slightly higher intensity of alcohol than you would in the case of the teran. Refosco has a robust, dry taste, and a careful analysis of the aftertaste will reveal an impression of fresh almonds, or ever mint. The pleasant bitterness and tartness, together with a note of dark chocolate, will certainly not leave you indifferent as you down the last drops, inducing you instead to fill your glass again and go through the whole process once more: observing the color, analyzing the aroma, taste and aftertaste, going through the whole symphony of aromas and tastes, in your nose, on your palate and in your throat.
If you wish to truly savor the wild game dishes and the Istrian boškarin – an autochthonous Istrian breed of cattle, Refosco should be your first choice of wine to go with them. It is interesting to note that until the appearance of Refosco, our ancestors had never used the boškarin for its meat. The Refosco would also go terrifically with some Istrian prosciutto or pancetta. The autochthonous Istrian cuisine dominated by meat, wild game sausages, and game with gnocchi or polenta in sauce are always perfectly matched by a glass or two of Refosco.
Distinguished producers in the area of Northwest Istria: Degrassi
Color, aroma and taste:
The straw yellow color of white Muscat with a green shine will turn to bright gold if you turn your glass towards the sun. Slowly bringing the glass to your nose, you will sense the fruit notes of pineapple and fresh apple with traces of citrus. Muscat grapes are characterized by lasting and layered aromas, which change gradually from fruity to herbal and finally playfully floral ones. You will, for example, sense the aroma of pale rose petals. As the aroma will already have told you, the taste of the white Muscat is very refreshing. Summer apples and other fruit flavors will gradually grow stronger, to finally express their elegant softness, gentle warmth, and a carefully dosed bitterness mixed with a fruit flavor. All this works together to make this variety the ideal dessert wine or aperitif. Soft and seductive, with a harmonious and lasting taste you will not forget easily, the white Muscat really is the “sugar on top” for our story about the autochthonous wine varieties of Northwest Istria. It actually functions perfectly as an aperitif and a desert wine. That is what’s at the very core of its character.
We did not leave the white Muscat for the end of our story about the autochthonous wine varieties for no reason. Why did we do it? Because it is the perfect dessert wine and the ideal accompaniment to autochthonous Istrian pastries famous for being easy to make and delightful to eat. These include the kroštule, cukerančići, fritule and a variety of other dry biscuits, especially those with almonds or walnuts. You will also not go wrong combining this wine with a fruit salad or cake, and light pastries made of white dough or white chocolate mouse and truffle oil! In addition, it is a terrific aperitif that goes excellently with raw oysters, Noah’s arks and Venus clams prepared in a savory stew. Cooked white fish in olive oil, grilled chicken in a lighter sauce with pasta, and turkey breast with salad and vegetables are other great combinations with the white Muscat.
Distinguished producers in the area of Northwest Istria: Cuj, Degrassi