Cossetto winery is located in one of the best agricultural locations in Kaštelir, overlooking the western coast of Istria. It is known to selected wine lovers, especially highly educated winemakers and olive growers who were taught by Melinda Cossetto, an oenologist who produces great wines with her husband Alfredo. Two daughters, Grazia and Denis, joined the tradition of agricultural production and then winemaking and olive growing. In the shade of the wine cellar, we are treated to an exceptional wine tasting!
Melinda's family combines the agricultural heritage of Arbanas near Zadar and the island of Premuda. Old olives on Premuda led her from the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb to the island, but she got married and came to Kaštelir. The Cossetto family was then involved in agriculture; Cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and grapes were planted here. The couple's decision was to turn all those eight hectares of land into a vineyard, and they were not wrong in that!
Years pass, and with the growth of the winery, new things are tried. So this year, Momento sparkling wine of the Muscat yellow variety was produced for the first time. "We made it like a real summer wine, very low in alcohol and with refreshing bubbles," Melinda says as she pours the refreshing drink. People say that there is no sparkling wine without Chardonnay, but opportunities have led to trying new ways and methods. There is somehow less Chardonnay in Istria than before, even though it is a great world variety that produces a different wine in each terroir.
"For many years I resisted the production of sparkling wine because it is the crown of winemaking. There is no production of sparkling wines without planting spacing, cultivation form, and adaptation of the entire vineyard. These are wines with very low alcohol, high acidity, so they have to be specially produced", Melinda tells us, whose Momento fermented in a bottle with simple yeasts. Each bottle is therefore a story in itself. There is an unmistakable muscat in the smell, the taste is not alcohol but freshness, and the dry sparkling wine attracts many male wine lovers. On the other hand, there is sparkling rosé from Teran and one percent Chardonnay. This is the second year of production of this sparkling wine, which is already significantly heavier than Moment.
Olive oil is also made here. The mixture of varieties is dominated by Istrian Bjelica, which is also felt in the taste. There are also leccino, pendolino, rosinjola, buža, which means that Istrian olive varieties still predominate. The new plantings based on autochthonous varieties, even črnica, which is not common in Poreština, are commendable. Melinda knows what she is talking about because she was an olive oil technologist at the county agency AZRRI for many years.
Denis (with emphasis on the last syllable), the younger daughter, produced her first wine. She saw that young people drink a lot, but of poor quality. She created a lovely wine for her generation and called it Malvasia Gentile. It is a wine with less alcohol, refreshing, and with nice varietal characteristics. "It's not robust as Istrian Malvazijas, can be, heavier and more corpulent," says proud mother Melinda. Denis made the wine two years ago and started her own wine line. The second daughter, Grazia, is finishing her studies in Italian, and in the winery she is mostly involved in organisational work. Merlot Gentile 2020 is also the work of Denis Cossetto, intended for young people too, with a label showing sunset and night. The wine is also very light and suitable for those entering the world of wine.
It was followed by "Malvazija of, Mom and Dad", from 2019, which in terms of taste, structure, and smell is a completely different type of wine than Denis's Malvasia. This one has all the necessary seriousness, character, and saltiness. It also has its own peculiarity, and we get an explanation as to why. "We try to show the quality of annual specificity in the wine. As oenologists, we believe that the year of harvest is a very important indicator on the label. They know how to tell us that our wine has a recognizable signature, but it is important to warn about the differences between years. This means that I did not use additional oenological resources in order to get the same wine every year, but we tried to show what the year was like", explains Melinda. This year, she predicts that, due to the drought, malvasias will be similar to those in 2012.
Alfredo Cossetto is the sixth generation who moved to Labinci as tailors and shoemakers. There is also a family coat of arms where you can see an awl and a needle. One part of the family moved to Kaštelir and started farming. They bought perhaps the most beautiful and largest agricultural positions in the town. "Kaštelir has an extremely good climate, at about 200 meters above sea level, with good air circulation, and the soil is clay," Melinda tells us. Alfredo's father was a capable viticulturist and self-trained winemaker, but very broad-minded. He sent his son to college, and shortly after completing his studies, he left the management of the estate to his son and daughter-in-law.
The 2019 varietal wine of 15% Chardonnay and the rest Malvasia is named Vale la Pena, which means "Worth a try" in the local Italian language. Malvazija produced an exceptional wine in 2019, and for this wine it was matured in wood using the sur lies method. Because of this rounding, the two varieties have led to an incredible creaminess and a fascinating wine that really deserves to be tasted!
Another fascinating wine is Malvazija Rustica 2018, wine 2 15% alcohol, which can almost be drunk instead of cognac. It enchants with its amber color, and the best customers are cigar lovers. Strong drinks burned their buds and they don't enjoy tobacco as much, but they discovered Rustica as a whole new world of flavors. Wine is almost always drunk without pairing it with food, but for pure enjoyment. The Cossetto family likes to drink this wine at the end of the day, to relax and talk about how the day went. Wine is not produced every year, and before 2018, the harvest was in 2013, and that was in 50-year-old vineyards. Autumn must be dry, but not too dry. The grapes have to be dehydrated, a very concentrated must is obtained and then a great wine is developed that has a sweet smell and a quite surprising taste that does not follow that olfactory puzzle.
By the way, the first label was created in the Cossetto cellar in 1997. The famous Croatian painter Edo Murtić once received Cossetto wine as a gift and was surprised by the good wine. However, he was significantly disappointed with the label, so he called the winery and offered to create a pictorial solution for the new label. Since then, the Cossetto winery has been intimately connected to Edo Murtić, they have followed his events, and they are still in close relations with the late artist's family.
The most famous Murtić label is the Mozaik wine, which is also a mosaic of varieties. The wine carrier is Merlot, and the base is the pride of the Kaštelir micro-location Borgonja and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. Burgundy is a variety known for its loveliness, but it is difficult to grow it pure, with which winemakers would be satisfied. That's why it often combines with Teran, but there is no Teran here. Mozaik is recognizable by its drinkability, but very layered, with various flavors that emerge during the tasting. Excellent meditative wine!
Along with all these wines, the hosts treated us to traditional Istrian cured meat products, prosciutto, sausages, hard cheese and cheese with truffles. The tasting is held in the cellar with wooden barrels, an extension of the former small wine cellar where the family started its production. It is a great place for wine adventures in northwestern Istria, in a carefully selected atmosphere and environment.
Muscat White accompanied us from the Cossetto winery. With very typical muscat aromas, this Muscat is very elegant, with a nice freshness and light sugar on the finish. The refinement of this dessert wine reveals the elegance of the Cossetto wine. Not too sweet, it gives a fresh note of professional winemaking that serves Kaštelir and northwestern Istria with pride. This excellent winery will therefore be in our memories for a long time, and passing through Kaštelir must inevitably include this station:
OPG ALFREDO COSSETTO
+385 98 366 464
Roškići 10, 52464 Kaštelir, Croatia