Today, wine has become a must in Istria. And there is an even more interesting tale to be told. Naturally, times have changed ever since and recently, wine is not so important for the economic prosperity of this region; however, it strongly accounts for the development of a unique Istrian identity. Let us try to grasp the secret of Istrian wine for a moment…. The most significant typical sort is certainly the Istrian Malvasia. It is a white sort grown on almost two thirds of the entire grapevine plantations extending over this area. Though not common in other places, it has been for long a predominant sort in Istria, thus recognized as a synonim for the Istrian white wine.
Most frequently this is a dry wine, free of unboiled sugar residues, attaining its best quality within the first year after the vintage, straw yellow, of a moderate structure and density. It is usually classed among semi-flavored sorts, embodying a hardly noticeable almond bitterness, fresh fruit and flower bouquet, most often of locust blossom. Sometimes, grapes grown on sloping hills, particularly exposed to the sun, tend to make the wine structure more accentuated, of ripe fruit flavor, so then it needs to be left to age in oak wood (barrique), which will give it complexity, distinctive quality and constancy.
Of course, Istrian Malvasia can vary owing to the «terroir», or a combination of indigenous factors common to particular settings. Among these, we often mention two different types of soil – the red soil (terrarossa) most common in the coastal area, enriching the wine structure and marly soil in the hinterland where, as a rule, we tend to come upon the wines with a more delicate bouquet. Apart from Malvasia, the primary white sort in istria, the most typical red sort grown in this region is Teran.