Updated: Feb 19, 2019
Punta Greca is the southernmost tip of the Istrian peninsula where wine is grown. It is one of such places on Earth where you want to go to forget everything, take several cases of books, buy some cheese along the way, and care for the vines for the rest of your life. No, we weren’t at the Punta Greca (we wouldn’t write this ‘cos we’d be willingly stranded on this cape), but we were at the owner of the vineyard there. It is the Medea winery, one of the Istria’s finest. It is not the Punta Greca, but the jolly company of the winery, headed by the managers Sandra Marček Cvitić and Samanta Benčić, as well as the prime oenologist Marko Krstačić, greeted us in the brand-new tasting room.
Everything smells on new woodcraft, with representable minimalist expression, beautiful lightwork, and especially appealing view of the barriques in a wine cellar separated by the glass wall. At 9 a.m. we were ready to taste some of the best Istrian wines and olive oils, in an enterprise carrying a very Greekish name. But, Medea has nothing to do with the tragic personality that killed her own children to avenge the betrayal of her husband. At least we hope it doesn't. Medea's passion was strong enough to become a legendary anti-hero of the Greek tragedies, while Medea winery tries to brand itself as the moment of passion. Scared? Don't be, it also includes the moments of inspiration, relaxation, and enjoyment. We encountered in all while visiting this place.
Not to give an impression that we drink quite early in the morning, Medea team provided us with an Istrian snack – Istrian sausages from the Histris production, and strong flavoured cheese from the Latus dairy. Of course, aside is the olive oil, the house production. In fact, the olive oil is the original business of Medea. As a local olive oil refinery, it served since 1911 as the prime place for all the olive growers in the area. Since 1954 it was an agricultural cooperation, based at this point north from Vodnjan, just across the railway station. In the last ten years, the place is transformed into a young and perspective winery under the ownership of Mr. Kristijan Floričić.
Our first drop of wine was fresh Malvasia 2016, an introduction to the line of fresh wines in Medea. It is a simple wine with top refreshing taste and fruity-floral notes. The wine has aromas of peach, citrus, and some tropic fruit. Ideal for summer, we'd drink this wine any time of the day. And it was great to try it first from the line of fresh wines, or those fermented and bottled in 2016. After beautiful Malvasia, we ventured to the Chardonnay 2016, young, dry and fruity wine with a nice bouquet of acacia, lemon, and other citrus fruit. Very rich wine, but also very drinkable and elegant, we'd like to have it as a white wine choice for dinner.
The fresh line is somewhat a result of the young team which makes traditional wines of the Istrian climate, with a modern twist. In many ways, we would choose younger people to be the representatives of this wine and the messages given from Medea are indeed very attractive for anyone feeling young and fresh. Still, definitely, the most powerful white wine we have tried is Montiron Malvasia, macerated Malvasia coming from the 35 years old vineyard. Yellow-straw colour is typical for the southern Istrian Malvasia, and the honey aroma gives place to citrus fruits. Rich and sometimes complex taste reveals a wine for thought.
We started to enjoy the ruby red Merlot 2016, dry, soft, and rich wine with aromas of berries but didn't finish the line of the fresh red wines in the tasting room itself. Instead, Mrs. Sandra decided to take us to Barbariga, a seaside place near Vodnjan, where Medea has a large olive grove, with some 12 000 olive trees. When we arrived there, we realised why this was a great idea. Driving through the groves took us to the sea shore. Olives dwell here with a view of the sea, and of the Brijuni islands opposite. They are filled with the smell of the sea and the breeze from the west. Thus, no wonder that Medea makes a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Its brand Salvela is a premium olive oil, made of hand-picked olives, with yellow-straw colour and fresh intensity. Indeed, as well as on Punta Greca, we could easily live our lives here, on the shores of Western Istria, dipping the bread in Salvela olive oil and drinking Merlot.
Or Cabernet Sauvignon, when speaking of red wines. Dark ruby colour enchanted us on the seashore, and the taste of this fresh, full and balanced wine gave us the characteristic aroma of currants and other berries. The harmonic wine was a very good surprise, with a hard background. Mrs. Sandra says it is bottled just some two weeks ago, so we will surely try to find this Cabernet in some wine shop soon. Even bigger surprise was Teran. Signature red wine of Istria is usually hard and strong, but not Medea's Teran! Dark red colour hides intensely fruity, joyful and fresh wine, soft and mild, with lots of currant and raspberry aromas, absolutely a non-typical Teran. To drink it here, in the lovely olive grove, next to the sea, was a pure enjoyment. A passion, as they say it in Medea.
So, you might ask, why the heck haven't we been to the Punta Greca, place that we mentioned at the beginning? Some things are better to leave for our next visit, but by the pictures we saw, that area near Ližnjan in southern Istria is magical. It has to be, Medea's exclusive wine comes from that area. The grapes are some hundred metres away from the sea, which is rare to see in Istria. The sea salt, sea breeze, the sun, and the wind give tremendous red wine, mineral and intensive salty-sweet velvety masterpiece already recognised as such in the wine world. The word for passion is indeed – Medea.
Željeznička cesta 15, Vodnjan
00385 (0) 99 215 8477