|The Balkans have a long history of making wine, as well as an extensive list of indigenous (often hard to pronounce) grape varieties. Walking around the Wines of Croatia tasting back in September, I was thrilled not only to see so many wineries focusing on the local grape varieties, but also the passion and inventiveness of the producers. There was a myriad of different styles of wine; some were made in amphorae, there were whites made with extra skin contact, as well as wines made in more usual methods.
The Roxanich Antica made in large wooden vats from the local Malvazija grape. Roxanich was created by Mladen Rožanić, who after years searching for the best areas in Istria for vineyards, planted 23 hectares of vines near Višnjan, four miles from the Istrian coast.
Roxanich have a range of interesting wines including: a Rosé, a Chardonnay, a Cabernet-Sauvignon, a Super-Istrian (their version of a Super Tuscan) made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Borgonja (Gamay), as well as the Antica. Whilst all of the wines that I have tasted are made superbly well, the one that really caught my interest was the Antica Malvazija.
This fascinating white spends eighty days in amphora on its skins, causing a dark orange colour rather than the more typical yellow hue. After this slow, oxiditave fermentation the wine is then aged in two different sizes of large wooden vats (70 hectolitre, and 35 hectolitre) for an amazing 30 months, before being bottled without filtration.
|The colour as I mentioned above is a rich golden orange colour. The nose has hints of oxidation, but is still surprisingly fresh and fruity. The palate is rich and intense with an amazing taste of zingy clementines, preserved lemons, and lovely tangy nutty notes. The mouth-feel of this wine is velvety with light soft tannins adding to the texture and weight. The Antica is brilliant on its own, but great with food, and has the body and intensity to match even quite heavy dishes that would usually be paired with reds.