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Istrian wine – Wine Istria

Istrian wine is a poetry of taste and fragrance. It is an inseparable part of the Istrian man, his passion and love, his deepest intimacy and most open pride, a lavish gift from the rocky land and abundant sunshine.

The history of wine and of the local people is an inseparable story which has lasted over 2000 years, since the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius brought vines to the warm Istrian soil.

From the golden Malvasia (IQ) to the ruby Teran, from young light wines coloured by the autumn to the full and elegant flavours of ripe barriques, Istrian wines offer a multi-layered story that has just started to bediscovered.

IQ – The “Istrian Quality”

designation referring to the wine Istrian Malvasia is primarily intended for labelling high-quality wines made from Istrian Malvasia grapes, and for promoting further development of the production of this autochthonous wine, increasing the quality of the wine and production technology and promoting and selling the Istrian Malvasia nationally and worldwide. The designation “IQ” enables the consumer to recognize the Istrian Malvasia wines whose quality is superior to the quality required by the law covering wines with protected geographical origin, and higher than those usually required and expected by the customer.

Istria white wine sorts

Malvasia is part of the region’s identity, a leading Croatian white wine and its fresh and crispy pride.  Malvasia is a family of grapes that includes Malvasia Bianca and Malvasia Nera, but the most widely used is the Malvasia Bianca.  Malvasia (also known as Malvazia) is a group of wine grape varieties grown historically in the Mediterranean.  The Malvasia is a grape of Greek origin that has existed for about 2,000 years.  The Malvasia tends to prefer dry climates with vineyards planted on sloping terrains of well drained soils.  It can produce wines that go from very dry to very sweet.  The grape produces golden, fragrant, flavourful wines with hints of apricots, muscat, and almonds.

It is one of the more interesting wines to pair with sea food and fish.  It is served with white fish, shellfish or risotto or pasta and white meat.  Serve at a temperature of 8-10 °C.


Chardonnay, the most popular sort of all wines, is crisp, elegant, fruity and acidic.  Chardonnay grapes are a cross between the Pinot family and a very old and nearly extinct grape variety called Gouais Blanc.  The Gouais Blanc grape originated in Croatia and is believed to have arrived in France with the Romans.  It can taste semi-sweet or sour, heady or light.  Chardonnay has an impressive range of flavours, from the expected buttered, oaky overtones to the fresh fruity flavours of apple, pear, tropical, citrus and melon, leaving a lasting palate impression.  The barrique style has flavours of apple, caramel, buttery toast and vanilla.

It is served with chicken and other white meats, fish, seafood, aged cheese and dishes with a heavy cream or butter base.  Serve it at 10 – 12 °C.

Momjan’s Muskat
Momjan’s Muskat, a truly unique sort, grown on Momjan territory, is a beautifully aromatic and perfumed, semi-sweet, late-harvest wine with the golden yellow colour of the Istrian sun.  The delicate and pleasant aromas offer a full and rounded taste.  Momjan’s Muskat is a quality white wine with an aromatic sugar residue.  The wine is mostly strong or very strong, and usually has an alcohol content of over 12% vol.

It is served as an aperitif, a dessert wine or with first course truffle dishes.  Serve at a temperature of 10 to 12 °C.

Pinot Blanc
Pinot Blanc is a white wine grape, is a full-bodied dry white wine, with fruity aromas, often of apple, peach, citrus fruit, and some floral characteristics.  This wine has a clear, straw yellow colour, with light golden and green reflections.  Pinot Blanc is often mistaken for Chardonnay because the grapes look similar and the two wines have some of the same characteristics.  The Pinot Blanc’s fragrance is typically neutral and subdued.  It is a refreshing wine with good acidity.  Pinot Blanc is served with white meats and fish at a temperature of 12°C.

Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris is a wine whose colour is a light shade of pink.  It is also known by the name Pinot Grigio.  Today it is the most popular sort in Croatia.  It is a northern sort, but when grown in the Poreč region it has more colour and alcohol in it.  Pinot Gris is full-bodied with a good acidity balance, a slight sweetness and is low in tannins.  Pinot Gris is usually delicately fragrant with aromas of peach, spices and apricot.  It pairs well with seafood, pork and chicken.  It is served at a temperature of 12°C.

Sauvignon is a white wine, mostly dry and refreshing with notable acidity.  It is recognizable for its distinct aromas of blooming meadows and the specific flavours of green apple, grape and asparagus.  The taste is strong and full.   The grape gets its name from the French word sauvage (“wild”).  Sauvignon Blanc displays a very unique wine tasting adventure.  It pairs well with fish, sea food, cheese and pies. Sauvignon is served at 10°C.

Istria Red wine sorts

Teran is an old Istrian autochthonous cultivar which was mentioned for the first time 600 years ago.  Until 100 years ago it was the main Istrian sort which was grown on most of the hither vineyards.  It is a rich, slightly sour, full-bodied red wine with a high lactic acid content.  It is very palatable, and highly prized by connoisseurs of fine wines.  It is also very rich in iron, and in the past it was prescribed as a therapy for anaemia.  It is grown in the terra rossa soils which provide a high iron content.  The wine is mildly strong with an 11-12,5 vol% alcohol content.  Teran is a dark ruby-red wine waved with purple tones.  The aged taste is complemented by a spectrum of fruity hues and aromas.  Teran is very aromatic, rich with acids, tannin and extracts and has a strong personality.  Teran is a great appetizer, fully bodied and is appreciated for its medicinal properties.

It pairs well with meat dishes, prosciutto, sausages and horseradish.  Teran is served at 18-20°C.

Red Muskat

Red Muskat has carried Poreč’s good reputation in wine growing for more than 100 years.  It is traditionally produced as dessert wine.  It has a very gentle floral fragrance with a muscat bouquet.  Red Muskat has a fine ruby red colour.  Its unique aromas and flavours provide a special sensation.  It is served with all kinds of desserts. Red Muskat is served at 16-18 °C.

Merlot is a popular wine which has medium body with recognizable imprints of black currents and plums.  Merlot is a very soft, velvety and therefore very smooth wine.  Its name derives from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot.  For its low tannin content, it is not heavy like other red sorts making it a very popular wine.  It pairs very well with various dishes, especially with poultry, venison and all meat dishes.
It is served at 18 – 20°C.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a high quality sort, whether the produced wine is white or red.  As a red wine, it ages perfectly.  As a white wine it produces a fine sparkling wine and is distinct in its outstanding bouquet.  The wine has temperament and a range of textures and impressions, or is flashy and bold.  Pinot Noir has a rich ruby colour which echoes mature grapes and dark sweet fruit.  Aged well it carries the aromas of soil, smoke, tobacco and vanilla.

Pinot Noir pairs well with pork, beef and cheese.  This sheen wine also pairs with venison, goose, duck, strong meat dishes, mushrooms, tuna, goulash, strong stew, beefsteak and other powerful dishes.  It is served at 16-18°C.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular sort of grapes in the world.  It has a lovely and strongly expressed aroma with hints of black current.  The wine is dark, distinctive and characteristic. Cabernet Sauvignon is dry, has a full body and an exceptional harmony, which makes it often referred to as the king of red wines.  It pairs well with dark meats, stronger venison dishes, mushrooms, cannelloni, lasagnes, aromatic cheeses and dark chocolate.

Cabernet Sauvignon is served at 16°C.

Borgonja is one of the oldest known sorts of grapes.  This old Istrian autochthonic sort grows best in terra rossa in north-western Istria.  It is suitable for producing young Beaujolais wine.  Borgonja wine is a mildly strong and strong wine, with an alcohol content of 11-12.5 vol.%, a distinctive bouquet and is fairly harmonic, with refreshing acidity and a certain tartness. It has aromas which echo wild berries and violets and its colour varies from garnet to deep red.

It pairs well with pasta, lasagne, soft and strong cheeses and meat in white sauces. Borgonja is served at 15-18 °C.

Refošk (also known as Refosco) is an Istrian sort, with rich expression and character, a frit bouquet of raspberry and sour cherry but also with a slight trace of herbs.  It has a high mineral content and is rich in tannin.  The wine can stand some ageing, causing it to achieve a floral quality as well.  It has an alcohol content of 11vol.%.  Refošk matures quickly into a rich elegant wine.  Its colour is intense, deep, ruby red, with lots of iron.  It is well know for its medicinal attributes.

Refošk pairs well with prosciutto, venison dishes and grilled poultry. It is served at 16°C.

Istria wine / Recommendations

Wine Routes – The touching beauty of Istria is best discovered with a personal oenological adventure on its wine routes. The arrival at each winemaker’s wine cellar leads through beautiful landscapes that enchant with their tales and old buildings. Each of the winemakers, led by zeal and passion, will awaken the hedonistic spirit of the visitors. He will introduce him to the world of the quirky noble liquid with interesting stories, accompanied by wine tastings and food specialties that enhance the magic in the environment of green vineyards and hot stone.

The grape harvest – At the end of summer, when nature becomes rich in colours, the diligent hands of Istrian people are awarded with abundance. Lush green vineyards, situated on the hills and in the fields, are willing to offer their juicy sweet fruits in the name of the wine symphony rich in colour, flavour and fragrance. Whether you choose the hills and fields of the Umag – Buje vineyards, the fertile vineyards in Poreč, the territory of Pula – Rovinj abundant with  sunshine or the evergreen vineyards in the middle of Istria, be ready for a festival of joy, old values and a warm community that permeates every grape picker. Your hosts, in homesteads (Agritourism), in farm houses or in one of the many holiday homes surrounded by beautiful vineyards, will share with you the unique experience of picking grapes and introduce you to a world of old traditions, togetherness  and to the source of joy.

Istrian supa – One of the central experiences in Istria is definitely the “Istrian supa”. What is “supa”? It is a specialty that consists of hot wine, usually Teran, which is enriched with olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper and a slice of overdone bread. This true scent of ancient times is consumed in a traditional bukal, a typical Istrian jar, during cold evenings, when it invigorates the body and soul. If prepared and served by the fireplace, along with the warmth and joy of a friendly fire, tasted with Istrian specialties such as homemade sausages in wine, pork loin or ham, the supa evokes all the vivid and bright colours of Istria.

Istrian grappa – The well-known Istrian grappa is one of Istria’s major brands. The most famous among them is certainly the grappa with mistletoe – a brandy with mistletoe leaves and fruits of. The recipe for mistletoe grappa was given to the local people in secret by the Druids, the ancient Celtic priests, and since then has been prepared with love and attention. Medica or Medenica is a grappa with homemade honey, sweet and supple. Medenica is drunk cold and is usually a welcome drink in Istria. Also known are grappas with rues, cherries, figs and prunes.

A few tips

  • The maximum allowed blood alcohol level in the Republic of Croatia is 0.5 %, so if you intend to enjoy the pleasures of wine, find accommodation near the desired wine cellar
  • Other than our quality wines, we recommend you taste the superb Istrian balsamic vinegar and herbal blackberry wine with aphrodisiac properties
  • Martinje, the traditional wine feast, celebrates the baptism of young wines, the tasting of older w
    ines and a rich cuisine with a variety of cheerful and entertaining programs
  • Young wines must be opened several hours before consumption to enable them to “breathe”