Explore the delicious secrets of Istria and Kvarner

Explore the delicious secrets of Istria and Kvarner

From cove to cove: Northern Adriatic is home to special types of wines

If you are sailing the Adriatic and looking for your “Holy Grail” of Adriatic oenology, make sure you set anchor in one of the coves of the island of Krk. The unusually diverse morphology of this island and a true Mediterranean climate have contributed to the growth of typical plant species such as olives and vines, as well as to the farming of high-quality sheep, fish and everything else that island life has to offer.

 

However, the superior quality of olive oil and cheese is somewhat overshadowed by His Majesty, the Vrbnik Žlahtina, a unique grape variety grown only on Krk. Although its gold colour does not exactly match royal insignia, the word žlahtina is derived from the Croatian word for “noble”. Its finest attributes, the delicate colour, vivid flavour and sophistication, are what keeps many visitors coming back to Vrbnik year after year. The best way to visit is by sea, but it can also easily be reached by land, from the nearby marina at Punat.

 

In the vicinity of Krk, in northern Adriatic, lies the Istrian peninsula, a true treasure trove and melting pot of different cultural influences. Its hospitality towards visitors, especially sailors, and desire to offer them the best of the best have gained legendary status. The ability to sail along the Istrian coast and stray further inland to visit charming villages and towns is ideal for sailors that have an adventurous streak in them, while those looking for some peace and quiet will enjoy the countless Istrian marinas.

 

“White”, “Grey” and “Red” Istria are regions of this peninsula that is the largest in the Adriatic, and its soil composition is to thank for the distinct bouquet of Istrian wines.

Ivo Biočina

“Red Istria” has the most vineyards, and even though foreign varieties are being planted lately, you will want to taste the white wines Malvasia and Muscat, and red wines Terrano and Borgonja.

Malvasia will win you over with its refreshing aroma and golden-yellow hues, while the Terrano is less see-through due to its ruby-red colour, but is full of fruity scents and flavours. The best part of Istria is the wealth of detail that is the result of the three different terroirs, which is reflected in the flavours of each of the subregions.

 

Western Istria, or the area around the towns of Poreč and Umag, is characterised by hundreds of years of wine-making tradition, mainly represented by Malvasia, which sometimes produces “predicate” wines. If you are looking for a more exclusive experience, try the dessert wines made from Muscat, Borgonja and Malvasia grapes. No matter whether you are anchored in one of the marinas in the towns of Umag, Vrsar, Rovinj, Pula or Pomer, all paths will lead you inland. 

Ivo Biočina

They will especially lead you around the small rural areas of Motovun, known for its film festival and truffles, and Grožnjan, whose tiny streets are often filled with artists.

Ivo Biočina

As a special aspect of sailing in this area, you’ll find that it is easier here than anywhere else on the Adriatic to enrich your stay at sea with some time spent on land, and treat yourself to at least one night in one of the luxury hotels and wineries. There, you will be served the best Istria has to offer in a flurry of colours, aromas and flavours, without having to lift a finger.