Prior to the International Wine Tourism Conference in Zagreb, Croatia, we traveled to Istria, a region in north eastern Croatia bordered by the Adriatic Sea. This is one of the country’s major wine growing areas. While there, you will have the opportunity to taste international grapes varieties as well as indigenous grapes. The most widely produced native grape is the Malvazia Istriana. This white grape is produced in many different styles. At Kabola Winery in Momjan we discovered a Malvazia and wondered if it foreshadowed our future.
We visited Kabola Winery early in the day. It was overcast while we viewed the area where several kvevri were buried underground. The kvevri were acquired by artisans in Georgia where the ancient tradition is continued today. The wine is produced by placing the grapes in the kvevri, juice and skins. Fermentation begins and after fermentation the grapes and skins remain in the kvevri for several more months. The resulting wine is an amber color and offers dried fruit aromas and tastes. By the time we tasted the wine it was raining outside. We sat in front of a fireplace and enjoyed the warmth of the blaze and the wine. The wine reminded me of a Canadian Icewine that was not sweet. The Malvazija Amfora is a unique wine that is made in an ancient style. It can be savored in front of a roaring file on a cool and cold winter’s day. Someday, Kathy and I want to visit the wine regions in Georgia, a country that is referred to as the cradle of winemaking and wineyards.