Annual Croatia tasting 2012 – my highlights
I enjoyed a fabulous holiday in Croatia this summer. No busman’s holiday either, but those wines I did taste, especially a pair of Posips (see here), piqued my curiosity, so I couldn’t resist finding out more about this beautiful country’s wines at the Annual Wines of Croatia tasting earlier this month.
There were only a couple of Dalmatian Posips on show, but both were very good, one a Decanter Regional Wine Awards Trophy winner (Croatian White Over £10). On limited evidence, admittedly, I reckon it’s got more about it than Istria’s Malvasia Istriana, where freshness was an issue with a number of the wines I tasted. However, when Malvasia was good – I seemed to like those aged in Acacia wood – it showed plenty of interest. (Incidentally, I gather that Malvasia Istriana is the same variety as the Malvasia from Friuli-Venezia Giuloa in north-east Italy; it’s not the same as Madeira’s Malvasia Candida or Malvasia Fina found on Portugal’s mainland).
As for reds, I didn’t taste many, but fellow lovers of elegant, floral reds with an edge of fruit tannin & spice (think Cabernet Franc or Jaen/Mencia) might want to check out Istria’s Teran grape.
You’ll find my highlights below and it’s worth noting that those I’ve asterisked are available retail from James Waddell’s Croatian Fine Wines (see picture above).
You can find out more about Croatian Wines on Wines of Croatia’s website here.
Zlatan Otok Posip 2010
This reinforced my Pfalz Rielsing take of the summer (see here) with its attractive stone fruit – apricot, melon too, complexed with earthy wheatgerm, mineral and floral hop-like nuances. Dry. 13%
Jako Vino Stina Posip 2011
An intriguing nose shows a touch of pepper though it’s not something I pick up on the palate, which shows apricot, honey and jasmine notes. Bright acidity makes for a long, persistent finish. Lovely. Dry. 14%
Kozlovic Malvazija 2011
A well made unoaked entry level Malvasia Istriana, with bright pineapplely fruit to the fore on nose and palate and that wheatgerm note. 13%
Kozlovic Santa Lucia 2009
This single vineyard Malvasia Istriana hails from 50 year old vines at 240m (relatively elevated). It sees five days pre-fermentation skin contact and is aged in 3200l oak foudres. Again, good clean fruit, here more concentrated and structured; wheatgerm too. Good length, palate presence. 14.2%
Kozlovic Akacia 2008
Riper Malvasia Istriana from a lower parcel sees 3-3.5 days skin contact and is aged in acacia barrels. It’s much spicier, with an attractive herbal edge to its ripe yellow peach fruit; good freshness too. Balanced, long and well-stuctured. Very good. 14.5%
Matosevic Alba Antiqua 2008
Another acacia-aged Malvasia Istriana, again with skin contact, this one from a vineyard at 300m. The acacia influence (higher toasting?) is more evident in this wine’s smoky bacon veneer. Beneath lies a floral, fresh wine with a bitter (not unattractive) almond note to the finish. Very good. 12.7%
Pilato Malvazija 2011 *
A very well made entry level unoaked Malvasia Istriana in sharp, modern packaging (Pilato also make a Malvasia Istriana for M&S). More aromatic, richer and creamier than the others, with melon and peach fruit, a touch of wheatgerm. More international in style. 13.7%
Agrolaguna Vina Laguna Malvazija 2011
A screw-capped, modern fruity white, very clean, with tangy peach and apricot fruit; nice balance, well done straight-forward style. 12.6%
Agrolaguna Vina Laguna Fastigia Malvazija 2011
Though weightier, with nicely concentrated white peach fruit and perfumed melon, fresh acidity makes for a long persistent finish. Lovely balance and a stony minerality to the finish. 13.7%
Kabola Malvazija 2011 *
This certified (EKO) organic wine is ripe and creamy with a dash of sweet cinnamon spice. Lovely balance and mouthfeel. 14%
Kabola Amfora Malvazija 2007 *
Made from the pick of the harvest (organic fruit), which is fermented in amphora underground then aged in foudres with very low sulphur levels. It’s a complex wine, very different from its much more crowd pleasing predecessor – very spicy with a phenolic edge to its nutty, ripe apple pippy fruit, plum skins and fresh ginger. But it’s creamy with a fresh undertow of acidity too. Intriguing in a good way. 14%
Franc Arman Sivi Pinot 2011 *
Sivi Pinot is the same as Pinot Gris and this wine exhibits the variety’s trademark (Alsation) rich nose and creamy, ripe apricotty palate with a touch of rosy apple skin interest. Soft, rolling acidity carries a long, very balanced finish. Very complete. Very good. 13.5%
Pilato Teran 2010 *
In contrast to the creamy white, this shows sappy, slippery plum fruit, laced with five spice. A dark yet animated wine; slightly rustic tannins lend a touch of grip to the finish. There’s a touch of warmth too. 13.2%
Gerzinic Teran 2009
An interesting, food-friendly peppery, floral (violets) quaffer with an edge of plum skin fruit tannin to its red berry and plum fruit. 12.4%