The well-known passion for turning juicy grapes into fine wines is what makes the Istrian region a perfect place for you to immerse in their signature flavors and aromas. Other than gorgeous landscapes, mild Mediterranean climate and plenty of sunny days, NW Istrian soil abounds in vineyards and is at the top of wine production in Croatia. Moreover, the famous Michelin has, for the second time in a row, published a special red guide completely dedicated to Istrian wines. If you're not yet familiar with the super-rich tradition of winemaking here, it's time to set things right!
Whether you're new to wines or a true aficionado, on the endless pursuit of top-notch wines or want to experience that authentic cellar experience and discover the interesting stories behind winemaking, NW Istria will suit both types of palates. Here's everything you need to know about the best wineries of the region!
For generations now, the family Cattunar has been nurturing the tradition of making typical Istrian sorts of wines: Malvazija, Teran, Muškat Momjanski, Muškat Ruža, and the worldly famous Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. You can find their winery in the picturesque Brtongla, on a top of the hill surrounded by greenery spreading across the property. For guests looking to unwind for longer than just one day, Cattunar family offers eleven luxurious rooms above the winery, coming with stunning views of the vineyard and the olive groves. Here you can pamper yourself in a fully equipped spa center opened 24/7, gym and a large outdoor pool just calling for swimming, enjoying the sun and fragrant nature surrounding it.
Often referred to as the most passionate winemaker in Istria, Giorgio Clai, the owner of Clai winery, boasts with high-quality wines that will stimulate all your senses. You can say that Giorgio's love for traditional winemaking truly comes through, as he firmly believes in biodynamic viticulture and all-natural fermentation processes. With each sip of his wines, you'll taste the true spirit of Northwestern Istria, so make sure to try one of his signature creations - Sv. Jakov Malvazija, white and red Ottocentos, Bastovica and Tasel!
On your way to this charming winery beautifully settled in the red-soiled Koreniki area, you will be welcomed by the sweet scents of the sea and the vegetation as well as the sound of wind whistling through the vineyard thriving as far as the eye can reach. Here you can pamper yourself with Malvazija Istarska, Gran Malvazija, Gran Teran and Teran, the authentic wines, or even try international ones - Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from which they also make Grabar, produced by combining both wines in early stages of production and aging in oak barrels before being bottled.
Dating back all the way to the 15th century, Kraljević - Cuj family has been producing indigenous wines such as Malvazija, Muškat and Teran, with vineyards flourishing on red, grey and black soil. The winery, known for having state-of-the-art winemaking equipment, includes a wine cellar, olive oil mill and a tasting room. A visit to this place is a true delight as the family will make sure you feel just like at home while sharing their history and interesting stories how they started their wine journey from the very beginnings.
True love for winemaking and uttermost respect of the land is what makes Degrassi family winery a place where you can truly enjoy yourself. The thing that puts this winery on top of the wine maps is the authentic Istrian cellar, where you can taste local bites, dip the homemade bread in the traditional olive oil and treat your taste buds to aromatic and bold flavors of their wines produced from grapes growing on two different types of soils rich in minerals, reflecting on all the Classic, Riserva & Selection and Cuvée bottles of you'll get your hands on.
Situated at 275m above sea level, the sun-kissed hills of Stancija are a home to Kabola vineyards, just a stone throw away from the winery in Kanedolo near Momjan. The amazing journey of this winery started nearly 100 years ago, slowly developing into one of the most popular places to enjoy world-class wines and delicious produce such as Istrian dry-cured ham better known as pršut, cold pressed olive oil boasting in rich golden color and enticing taste, too. While visiting this melting pot of heavenly sips and savory treats, don't miss out on tasting Malvazija and Teran produced in ceramic amphoraes, as the prolonged fermentation adds an entirely new dimension to the flavors of these popular Istrian wines.
Elegant yet contemporary, this winery is considered one of the most beautiful ones in Croatia. Combining authentic Istrian vibes with modern architecture as well as traditional winemaking with the newest technology, it offers a unique wine tasting experience. The guests are offered the most scenic view of the Vale valley while digging into mild, almost fruity tasting wines such as Momjanski Muškat or complex, zesty flavors of the Santa Lucia and Malvazija Akacija that'll get you that pleasant taste buds tingling sensation.
There's a reason people are flocking to this family winery, and it’s not solely for the distinctive, legendary wines everyone got to know and love! Here you'll encounter a restaurant with a scenic dining area serving the very best of the modern Mediterranean cuisine thoughtfully paired with wines, as well as a wine and olive oil tasting room above the wine cellar. Also, you can find their charming little wine shop in the very heart of Umag, down the popular Garibaldi Street. It is a lovely place to unveil the secrets behind Malvazija Istriana, Ambra, Rose, San Giovanni and others and indulge in sweet tastes of these brands.
Don't just visit Northwestern Istria – experience it through its one of the most famous and cherished products! Visit Istrian wineries and like many other guests, you'll surely find a favorite wine or two of which you’ll want to ship a few boxes back home to relive the special moments you've had while tasting them. Regardless of being a passionate wine enthusiast seeking new experiences off the beaten paths or just love countryside peacefulness while sipping a perfectly chilled glass of fine wine, Northwestern Istria is your lucky charm.