Let’s journey to the rugged Croatian countryside, where Moreno Coronica crafts remarkable wines that defy stereotypes and embody the essence of their place of origin. Coronica Malvasia Istria Croatia 2017 is an exceptional wine that features a sense of tradition and demonstrates Croatia’s untapped potential. Allow this wine to transport you to a world of elegance and refinement with its illuminating pale yellow hue, captivating aromas, and vibrant flavors. Embark on a tasting adventure that transcends borders and delights the senses and discovers the hidden gem of Croatian wines.
There is more to this wine than an homage to COVID-19; it is a tribute to Moreno Coronica, a master of crafting crisp and dry Malvasia Istriana wines. He stands firmly against the stereotypes surrounding wines produced from varietals that fail to convey the true essence of their origins. With a family history rooted in the village of Koroneiki for over six centuries, Moreno has witnessed the region endure the tumultuous challenges of the World Wars and the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the fall of communist Yugoslavia in 1992, his winery experienced a profound renaissance. Alongside other winemakers in the area, Moreno embarked on revitalizing the region’s winemaking, focusing on quality rather than quantity.
Moreno’s expertise shines through in his renowned “Gran Teran” and “Gran Malvasia” bottlings, where he skillfully captures the unique character of each vintage and seamlessly integrates oak aging. These wines exemplify exceptional aging potential, and the bottle at hand is no exception.
Among the numerous Malvasia clones, this particular wine is crafted from Malvazija Istarska (Malvasia Istriana), one of Croatia’s oldest and most esteemed indigenous grape varieties. Predominantly grown in the Istria region and along the northern Croatian coastline, Malvasia is often vinified into off-dry or sweet wines due to its ability to attain high sugar levels and exude captivating aromatics. Some discerning palates liken its bouquet to a delightful blend of Albariño and Grüner Veltliner.
Situated in the rugged countryside away from the coastal areas of the Mediterranean, Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic. It represents Croatia’s westernmost region, sharing borders with Italy and Slovenia. The vineyards, located just outside the port town of Umag, can be reached with a scenic one-hour drive south of Trieste, Italy. The region benefits from a maritime/Mediterranean climate influenced by the Mistral winds, which act as a natural coolant, ensuring a clean and arid atmosphere. Moreno’s vines are planted across 75 acres of remarkably diverse terrain, fostering a myriad of microclimates. Terra Rossa’s calcareous limestone soils, which are characteristic of the Mediterranean region, contribute to the complexity, acidity, and aging potential of his wines.
Meticulously hand-harvested grapes undergo minimal intervention in the vineyard. Cultured yeast strains are employed to preserve the distinctive aromas, and a controlled temperature fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, allowing the wine to develop its unique character. With no set recipe, Moreno crafts a wine that truly reflects the integrity of each vintage while capturing the essence of the Malvasia grape.
As we pour this wine into the glass, it reveals an illuminating pale yellow hue, accompanied by a gentle effervescence at its core. The aromas envelop the senses, with intense notes of ripe orchard fruit—apples, oranges, peaches—alongside zesty hints of orange rind, acacia, honeysuckle, crushed seashells, and rocks. Nuances of almond butter, fresh spiced ginger, white peppercorns, and vanilla bean add to the captivating olfactory symphony.
On the palate, this wine delights with its dry character, medium-plus acidity, medium alcohol, full body, and creamy texture. The intensity continues to impress, showcasing juicy ripe tree fruits like apples, peaches, and apricots, complemented by the vibrant essence of orange oil and zest, delicate yellow flowers, peppered biscuits, roasted salted almonds, seaweed, and exotic spices. The finish lingers, leaving a lasting impression that beckons the palate for more.
This outstanding wine exemplifies the art of producing vibrant flavors and alluring aromas while maintaining refreshing acidity. It perfectly balances ripe fruit and a dry profile, captivating the senses from the first sip, enveloping the mid-palate, and unfolding a symphony of fragrances. The finish is sharp and lavish, leaving a desire for another indulgence. With time, this wine will gracefully evolve, developing richer, softer notes reminiscent of candied fruit, fruitcake, Christmas spices, saffron, and dried mushroom. It is a slow journey of transformation that invites anticipation.
Croatian wines often find themselves underestimated and relatively unknown, despite their ability to produce captivating and refined wines. If you find yourself yearning for something beyond the well-known Italian bottles, I implore you to embark on a wine-tasting adventure with the creations of Moreno Coronica. Let your glass be blessed as you savor these remarkable wines.
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