Wines from Istria in Croatia, part 3: Breaking new ground; Kozlovic & Tomaz

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A glass of red wine
A glass of red wine

Gianfranco Kozlovic is also experimenting with acacia wood. His Acacia malvazija is aged for nine months and he likes the result so far. And he thinks it is important to do something different. The wine is very good, it has personality and character. And an incredibly long aftertaste. And the acacia is there, definitely, but if it comes from the barrels or from the grape…He also makes a malvazia with 12 hours of skin contact. It is more powerful, of course, with hints of peach and ripe apples, but the freshness and the flowers are still there. I love the high acidity in these wines. malvasia could easily become my favourite white grape, a shame that it is so difficult to get outside of Croatia.

It has not been easy for the young quality-minded growers in Istria. “I didn’t start at zero”, says Klaudio Tomaz in Motovun, “I started at minus 20! The big coop here has made a lot of damage to our reputation.”

White truffles
White truffles

Klaudio and Daniella Tomaz is a young couple with 8 hectares of their own and another 10 on lease. The town of Motovun has a long wine tradition but for a long time the coop only focused on mass production. The Tomaz couple makes quality wine and they want to make their personal style of Malvazija. “We have a different climate and soil here, compared to other places in Istria”, says Klaudio. His basic Malvazija is very pleasant and floral, quite powerful and very fresh and dry. He also makes another Malvazija, with two weeks of skin contact, which is a traditional way of making Malvazija in Istria. This wine is aged in mulberry wood (!). His sweet Malvazija is a remarkable wine. The grapes are dried for 100 days after the harvest. They are pressed and the must ferments slowly in 2 year old oak barrels for 3 months. The alcohol reaches 16,8 % and the nose is smoky with a certain bitterness and aromas of dried figs. Definitely interesting!

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