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As many as 63 Istrian winemakers presented young Malvasias at the 12th En Primeur event in Zagreb

Despite the challenging viticultural year, Malvasias from the 2023 harvest are already showing character, and they will confirm their full potential at the milestone 30th Vinistra in Poreč. 

The fact that Istrian Malvasias are a favorite among wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts was confirmed at the 12th edition of En Primeur, which traditionally takes place before Valentine's Day at the Hotel Esplanade in Zagreb. On this occasion, as many as 63 winemakers from Istria arrived in Zagreb, joined by several colleagues from Kvarner, producers of Žlahtina wine, as is the case every year. Prior to the premier tasting, via the registration link provided by the Vinistra association - which brought this type of event to Croatia 13 years ago - more than 600 applications were received from citizens and wine professionals eager to taste the harvest, which is still mostly in barrels.

A splendid atmosphere marked the wine Monday in the capital city, sommeliers, restaurant owners, hoteliers, wine critics, and journalists exchanged impressions about the young wines, and it all began with the traditional masterclass "Malvasia from five Istrian terroirs." It was led by the well-coordinated team - Kristijan Damijanić, a doctor of science from the Agricultural Department in Poreč, the Polytechnic of Rijeka, and our renowned sommelier and representative of Plava Laguna, Emil Perdec. 

Malvasias in excellent condition

"Last year was meteorologically extremely demanding with above-average temperatures during spring and summer, as well as prolonged rainy periods, especially in the middle and end of summer. From the beginning of September to mid-October, there was a period of above-average temperatures and very little rainfall, which facilitated grape ripening, and the harvest was somewhat later compared to previous years," said Kristijan Damijanić.

This resulted in pleasantly fresh Malvasias, medium to full-bodied, with pronounced aromatics and emphasized varietal characteristics, typical greenish-yellow color at this stage of the wine.

"Eight Malvasias were presented at this year's masterclass from five Istrian terroirs. They were selected from among a record 48 samples. Vivoda defended the colors of southern Istria, Damijanić and Pilato of the west, Cattunar of the northwest, Bastian and Prelac of the north, Fakin of the center, and Fuhtar of the east. Global warming has also affected Istrian viticulture, so young Malvasias will ripen very quickly. Some are already ready for tasting, and that is the peculiarity of the 2023 harvest, which I can say was good; the wines are in excellent condition, and I am sure that wine enthusiasts will enjoy them," Emil Perdec concluded.

And this year, the wines were tasted from glasses for Istrian Malvasia designed and produced 11 years ago by the renowned company Riedel, at the initiative of several Istrian winemakers and Gordana Mohor, owner of the well-known company Miva, this year's glass partner of Vinistra.

Reserve the weekend from May 10th to 12th for Vinistra

"I am pleased that the Istrian Malvasia glass will be the official glass of the 30th anniversary Vinistra, which will take place from May 10th to 12th in the Žatika Hall in Poreč, and I take this opportunity to invite all lovers of Istrian wines to join us in Istria that weekend," said Luka Rossi, President of Vinistra, the association of Istrian grape growers and winemakers, at the opening of this year's En Primeur.

Ezio Pinzan, head of the Administrative Department for Agriculture, Forestry, Hunting, Fisheries, and Water Management of the Istrian County, supported Istrian winemakers again this year upon arriving in Zagreb.

"Despite an exceptionally demanding year, the wines are top-notch. This speaks to the knowledge, technology, and equipment available in Istria today, allowing us to maintain this quality year after year," emphasized Pinzan, a sentiment echoed by Sandra Zokić, Director of the Administration for Agricultural Land, Crop Production, and Market of the Ministry of Agriculture.

"Last year was full of natural disasters, and after a wet August, a hot September followed, which harmed all crops, including the grapevines. Despite this, the wines are excellent, and thank you for that," said the director, inviting winemakers to apply for the new Wine Envelope and thus further equip their wineries.