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Istrian Authenticity: 15 Malvazija and Teran wines to try

Each of Croatia's wine producing regions has a strong story and distinctive identity. Achieving notable regional success at Decanter World Wine Awards, we focus in on Istria: its unique varieties to know and the award-winning wines to seek out.

If there is one country’s wine quality evolution to follow at the Decanter World Wine Awards, it might well be Croatia.

In just two years, the country has more than tripled its Gold medal count at the international competition. But what’s more, its indigenous varieties have featured in the realm of quality improvement.

Divided into four major wine regions, Istria, the largest peninsula in the Adriatic, is marked by its proud producers, determined to make a name for their region’s staple varieties: the white Malvazija (locally Malvazija Istarska) and red Teran.

For the ambitious winemaker and adventurous wine enthusiast, Malvazija is remarkably varied. It can be produced and enjoyed in a light, fresh style, but its intrigue comes from time maturing on lees, in oak, on skins or aged in bottle.

Scroll down to discover 15 Istrian wines to try from DWWA 2023

With the region’s red mainstay Teran, producers have found ways to thoughtfully cultivate, vinify and harness the full potential of this local variety, embracing and fine tuning its tannins to produce fruity, elegant reds which can, and have proven to, compete on the world stage.

The authenticity inherent in Istria is skilfully mirrored by the adeptness of its producers. Aware that quality starts in the vineyard, they intrinsically understand Istria’s distinctive red, white, grey and black soils and how each influences their indigenous varieties and the subsequent wines produced.

‘This is a country with incredible diversity,’ commented Caroline Gilby MW, DWWA Regional Chair. ‘Each region has a strong story and distinctive identity; there’s always something new to discover.’

Below explore 15 regional standouts from the 2023 competition, with more to seek out at awards.decanter.com

Istrian Authenticity: 15 Malvazija and Teran wines to try


Kabola, Unica 2019

Gold, 96 points 

Concentrated and full of flavour, this has a distinct definition and pleasant aromas of ripe pear and Mirabelle plum. Intense fruit on the palate accompanied by poached plum notes, with a long mineral finish. Alcohol 14%

Vinarija Rossi, Malvazija Istarska 2022

Value Gold, 95 points
Wonderfully crafted, boasting a delightful honeyed and floral aroma and flavour. Its refreshing acidity and distinctive, lingering finish make it truly exceptional. A superb choice for any occasion. Alc 12.5%

Vivoda, St Euphemia Malvazija 2019

Gold, 95 points
Beautiful complexity with rich and elegant oaky flavours, complemented perfectly by zippy acidity. It’s full-bodied and finishes with delightful notes of peach and nectarine that linger. Lovely. Alc 13.8%

Eliđo Pilato, Malvazija Sur Lie 2019

Silver, 94 points
£34.80 (2015) Croatian Fine Wines, Novel Wines
Salted citrus, camomile and candied pineapple aromatics – glorious. Sleek and supple on the palate with crisp acidity and a floral complexity. Long on the finish. Alc 13.5%

Roberto Terzolo, Campi del Bosco 2022

Silver, 94 points
Classic nose of green melon, apple and camomile. Medium-bodied with moderate acidity and lively notes of spice and minerals. Long, floral finish. Alc 13%

Damjanić, Akacija 2020

Silver, 93 points
£21-£25 (2016) Croatian Fine Wines, Novel Wines
Good depth of colour with creamy complexity and aromas of hay and peach. Lovely fruit intensity on the honeyed, layered, delicate palate. Long finish. Alc 13.5%

Ivan Kadum, Malvazija 2022

Silver, 93 points
Youthful apple blossom nose. Fresh, zesty, vivid and pure in the mouth with juicy acidity. A good expression with a long finish. Alc 13%

Fakin, Amfora Malvazija Istarska 2020

Silver, 92 points
Floral, pineapple and saline nose. Serious complexity on the long, intense palate. Long, warming finish. One to enjoy with food. Alc 14.5%

Poletti, Classica Malvazija Istarska 2020

Silver, 92 points
Rich and full style with soft oak, nectarine, sweet spice, dried apricot and vanilla aromas. The palate is rounded with an oily texture. Persistent finish. Alc 13.5%

Agrolaguna, Vina Laguna Malvazija Istarska 2022

Silver, 90 points
Floral, citrus and herbal aromas. The palate has notes of lime and apple, with crisp acidity and a light mineral note. Persistent finish. Alc 12.8%


Benvenuti, Livio Teran 2019

Gold, 96 points
An elegant wine with ripe red fruit aromatics. The palate is juicy and well structured with plenty of tannins and integrated sweet oak. Engaging, with lots going on and a long, smooth finish. Alc 13%

Benvenuti, Anno Domini Teran 2012

Gold, 95 points
£17 (2018) Howard Ripley
A fantastic wine still amazingly in fine fettle with a complex floral, raspberry and tobacco leaf bouquet, a structured palate, lively acidity, supple tannins, a lovely taste of forest berries and excellent length. Alc 14%

Kozlović, Selekcija Teran 2021

Gold, 95 points
Beautiful floral, candied red fruit, spice and wild cherry aromatics. The palate has fine tannins, a spicy, dark fruit character and a very long, oaky finish. Fantastic drinking. Alc 13.5%

Fakin, Il Primo Teran 2020

Silver, 92 points
Inky, complex nose of coffee, dried cherry and tobacco leaf. The palate is soft and elegant with supple tannins and a long finish. Alc 14.5%

Vinarija Medea, Teran 2021

Silver, 91 points
Aromas of blackcurrant and blackberry. Juicy, vibrant and youthful with plenty of tannins and great varietal character. Alc 12.5%

Search all DWWA 2023 results

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