2009 Coronica Gran Malvasia Istria Croatia
Wine & Spirits
Of Moreno Coronica’s 75 acres of vines, three-quarters are given over to Malvazija Istarska, the local Malvasia clone—all planted in the region’s brick-hued terra rossa. His mastery of the variety is clear in the vibrancy of this 2009, juicy with stone fruit flavors and lifted with vibrant acidity. The age shows up in the spice and hazelnut richness, bass notes that give it gravitas and persistence. Stay with it and you might pick up what the Croatians call freškina, the scent of the seashore.
Umag vineyards. Lots of acacia. Broad and lively. Chewy! Long.
This is voluptous and floral on the nose and palate, with loads of sweet, ripe peach and melon flavors. Bright lemon-lime acidity and a shimmer of salinity help to keep this full-bodied wine from becoming overbearing.
Coronica was established in 1992 by Moreno Coronica after the fall of communist Yugoslavia. Istria is sparsely populated, colorfully green, hilly unspoiled countryside. Away from the popular coastline on the Mediterranean, where houses spill down slopes towards the vast smooth bay that lies between the peninsula and the mainland, stone farmhouses and villages sit in a rural landscape dotted with oak, olive and blue splashes of lavender, with pretty, hilltop towns and houses clustered around the obligatory towering Roman Catholic church spire. Much of it reminds you of central and coastal Italy. Malvazsia flourishes here as a crisp dry white, a Croatian answer to Spain’s Albarino or Austria’s Grüner Veltliner, not quite like one or the other, but occasionally resembling them, or Loire Chenin Blanc, especially in their refreshing dry flavors and their affinity with the local seafood and shellfish. It’s a vigorous variety so for the best results come from low-yielding vineyards such as these.