When in Istria, travellers should carefully choose one of Istria’s wines that match traditional dishes or even better go on a wine tasting tour. Istria’s climate and soil makes it a rich wine producing region. The first grapes were introduced to Istria by the Greeks as early as the 6th century BC making it one of the oldest winegrowing regions in Europe.
Istrian grape varieties and styles
Malvasia Istriana (Malvazija Istarska), grown in Grey and White Istria, produces zesty, refreshing wines with notes of acacia flower, citrus fruit and a touch of bitter almonds on the finish. Malvasia Istriana is the dominant grape variety in the region, making up 60% of total plantings in Istria, and 11% in the whole of Croatia. It has no close connection to any other Mediterranean Malvasia variety and is considered to be indigenous to Croatian Istria.They are usually paired with local fuži, a penne-like pasta dish made with the famous Istrian truffles from Motovun forest.
Another popular local variety is Teran which can be challenging to grow. When successful, good examples yield deep darkly-coloured wines with high levels of acidity and tannin, full-bodied with dark berries and wild herbs flavours.
Muscat (Muškat) wines are generally on the low side in acidity, tannins, and alcohol. Muskat Momjanski (Moscato di Momiano) is a delicacy found around the town of Momjan in the western part of Croatian Istria. It makes refreshing, medium-sweet wines perfect as an appertizer.