Updated: Feb 19, 2019
It was quite busy in Prelac courtyard. The boxes of wine are rushing in and out of the family winery, ready to be delivered in several restaurants and shops in Istria. People greet us warmly and soon we were tasting great local wines, typical for Momjan. Somehow, the taste is not all new, since we get some deliveries through our friends from Prelac winery. But, this is quite a different story.
The Prelac Family owns some of the oldest vineyards in Momjan, situated near the Argilla brook and elsewhere in this microregion. We find out that Momjan has a special position due to its water sources, terrain and always present wind blowing mildly through the hills. It makes a distinctive terroir, recognised especially in beautiful Moscato. But, Prelac is not only a synonym for Moscato, as the family cultivates also Malvasia (Malvazija), Refosco (Refošk), Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Lately, the also produce sparkling wine and Refošk Rose. In our 40-minutes visit, before noon, there were three visits to the winery. We talked a bit with a young couple from Latvia, who are in Croatia for the third time. They cherish every moment here and enjoy the enogastronomy of various regions. We were proud to have an international team also. With us was Ibrahim Espinosa, a Mexican chef who works in Montreal, the gastronomy capital of Northern America.
We had a classic tasting tour in Prelac winery. With a view over the green vineyard toward the overlooking hills, we tickled our palate with fresh Malvasia 2017. This wine has a straw yellow colour with a slightly green tint. The wine is crystal-clear and a typical Malvasia black locust note is detected in the first nose. It is a dry, pleasantly fresh and fine mineral wine. It is very harmonious and smooth. If cooled to 8-10 °C, it goes well with an assortment of Istrian cured meat delicacies, cold seafood hors-d'oeuvres and all kinds of carpaccio. Absolutely great wine for summer days!
While we taste it, we look at the emblem of Prelac winery… Some crowns and swordsman... We wonder what it is about. Prelac is one of five producers of Momjan Moscato, which is celebrated every year in Momjan’s castle. In Momjan, they are known as Five Musketeers, and thus the swordsman and all the images identified with it. We didn’t find out, though, if Prelac is D’Artagnan or some other. But they make excellent Malvasia, including the macerated and aged Malvazija Šinjora. Ripe yellow apple and quince are dominant in the nose, with a vanilla and dried grass note. This is a wine with mild tannins and a full body, mineral and dry. It is a harmonious and durable wine with a balanced and intensive taste. If cooled to 10-12 °C, Prelac recommends it with oven-baked seafood with aromatic roast potatoes, as well as with white meat. Very particular wine would be excellent for an evening sip.
In North-Western Istria red variety is specifically present in Refošk. This wine has a lovely ruby red colour with violet hues. Berry fruit, raspberry and blackberry notes are detected in the nose, closely followed by a chocolate and vanilla aroma. It boasts a typical varietal freshness and mild tannins. If cooled to 14-16 °C, it pairs well with the traditional Istrian cuisine, as well as homemade pasta and game sugo (stew).
Finally, we tried so much cherished Moscato. This wine has a yellow straw colour with golden hues peering through its crystal-clear texture. It boasts a meadow flower and juicy peach aroma. It is a semi-sweet, fresh wine with a breezy body. If cooled to 8-12 °C, it pairs well with fruit crostatas and a variety of strudels. Sweeter version is found in Passito Gregorio: the meticulously picked and dried grapes are matured on a mat of straw for three months and the aroma is full, rich and varietal with the honey notes of overripe grapes. This noble wine boasts balanced levels of alcohol, acids and sugar with a strong body rounded off by prolonged maturation. It is drunk as a dessert or with stronger cheeses.
Not to forget, where there is wine, there is also olive oil. Like many other winemakers, Prelac has its own olive oil made of Istrian belica, leccino, pendolino, frantoio. We haven’t tried it in the wine cellar itself, but in Konoba Rino, owned by the family which we have visited too.
Dolinja Vas 23 , 52462 Momjan
Tel: +385 52 779170
Photos by Taste of Adriatic and Vina Prelac