No one knows why the village near Višnjan is called Baškoti. Namely, everyone here has the surname Matić for at least 200 years, when the family most likely arrived from Herzegovina. About sixty residents of Baškoti may not know about the origin of their name, but the whole pop world knows about Baškoti. Namely, the singer Mladen Grdović comes here regularly, Dražen Zečić and Maja Šuput also come here, and the folks sings and dances regularly for St Martin’s Day when this party is organized by winemaker Milenko Matić.
In 2020, there will be no festival on such a large scale, but we still came to Baškoti to check how the harvest went and what are the expectations from this year's wine. Everything around the winery is in great progress because a new wine cellar with a tasting room is being built and soon in Baškoti you will be able to enjoy yourself divinely. This claim of us mortals is not so disturbing: a whole series of Matić's wines are named after gods and goddesses from ancient times. It is quite suitable for the Istrian country, where the ancient Greeks and Romans built their villas and summer houses. Archaeological remains still show that they did not differ much in their choice of place of residence from us because most of these living spaces were surrounded by fertile fields, vineyards and olive groves. The green Mediterranean has not moved much away from those times, it has only become more diverse in its products.
Milenko Matić's wide smile and welcome show that the claim about the ease of existence in Istria is true. Without intending to become overly philosophical, we immediately tried the young Malvasia 2019. A very drinkable wine with seductive aromas was noticed last year at En Primeur in Zagreb's Esplanade and at this year's event Wine and Cinema, there are great hopes that this year will become great and famous wine, so it is quite consistent with the Spanish saying that wine and children are born out of love. Indeed, in every drop of this most famous Istrian wine, one can find traces of the Istrian winemaker's endless love for the viticultural tradition, and Milenko is already the fifth generation of Matić who take care that this zeal does not subside. The team is more fortunate that his son Erik is following in his father's footsteps, so he is an excellent student at the Faculty of Agriculture.
Next year, this young Malvasia will be aged in a wooden barrel and eventually Aphrodite will come out. We tried Afrodita 2018, a wine with a harmonious body and rich taste in which, somewhat surprisingly, the taste of wood did not prevail. Why Aphrodite, we wonder. In Istria, Malvasia is the goddess of beauty and love, Milenko explains, and there is no more famous goddess of love than Aphrodite. These analogies also name other wines in the Matić cellar: dried Malvasia berries from 2011 make up the Venus wine (only 450 litres of wine were obtained from nine tons of grapes, which guarantees a phenomenal experience aged in 150-year-old wooden barrels); Eros is a unique rose in Croatia, as it consists of 80 per cent of rose muscat and 20 per cent of yellow muscat; and Dionysus is a cuvee in which merlot, teran and cabernet sauvignon are coupled.
In total, the pantheon consists of eleven labels, and the twelfth is announced. It will be called - and how else - Zeus. It is a sparkling wine that will be made from Malvasia and Rose. We believe that we will enjoy Zeus in the middle of Matić's vineyards, where plans for a tasting room are being made.
We also taste Muscat Rose 2019, a wine with an unmistakable Istrian climate, great aroma, but also subtlety that does not turn into excessive sweetness. Of course, what would an Istrian wine cellar be like without Teran: we tasted Matić's red majesty from 2019, which was aged for two months in a wooden barrel. As the fermentation of young wine is nearing its end, we move from barrel to barrel, always with a new story, from the tastes, feelings and plans for each variety, to talking about international experiences. "I don't want to make wines that are in top form in December or January, my wine has to be top in the summer as well," Milenko tells us as we think about the 2020 harvest.
Matić is also known in Istria for Chardonnay, and it is rumoured among wine experts that his is among the best. Many times we waved our hand while we were offered Istrian Chardonnay, undoubtedly thinking about the most famous one - Slavonian. It is a trap of good brands. Graševina and Chardonnay are indeed classic Slavonian wines, but Istrian wine, which is a completely different terroir and is thus giving a completely new taste to this excellent wine, is also making inroads.
The wonderful experience in Baškoti continues with the enjoyment of Matić wines, nectar from the Istrian Olympus!
Address: Baškoti 4, Višnjan
T: +385 (0) 52 449 393, M: +385 (0) 91 902 1625