Last year we had the pleasure of creating and launching a very unique line of wines callled “Adriatico”. This line was envisioned by Joe Bastianich who wanted to express the terroir of the northern Adriatic Sea through 3 native grape varieties in their native lands: Friulano, from Friuli Venezia Giulia, Ribolla Gialla from Slovenia and Malvasia Istriana from Croatia.
Obviously, the Friulano is Home-Grown here on the Bastianich vineyards in Friuli. We enlisted the help of local winemakers for the other wines… Marjan Simcic is our man in Brda for the Ribolla and the Malvasia Istriana is made by a group of 3 producers in Istria: Moreno Degrassi, Gianfranco Koslovic and Ivica Matosevic.
2009 Bastianich Adriatico (r. to l.) Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana, Friulano.
The line has been a big hit, with healthy sales (retail in the mid-teens is the sweet-spot) and great reviews. Online, Wine is a Condiut really hit the nail on the head in a great post and Frederic Koeppel also wrote a great review of the Friulano and also named it one of his 25 Great Wine Bargains of 2010.
Most recently, Antonio Galloni bestowed 89 points on the Malvasia and 88 points on the Friulano, calling both outstanding values. Good stuff.
Last week we started the process of selecting the ines for the 2010 version of Adriatico, tasting some wines from Simcic. Yesterday we drove down to Istria to meet with the producers and coordinator Glauco Bevilaqua (who also imports our wines to Croatia and Serbia)…
Istrian Dream-Team (l. to r.) Glauco Bevilaqua, Moreno Degrassi, Ivica Matosevic, Gianfranco Koslovic.
It was a lesson in the beauty of blending wines… Matosevic’s Malvasia was all aromatics and brightness with flowers and minerals jumping out of the glass… Koslovic’s example was less aromatic, but spicy on the palate with white pepper and a hint of cardemom, very mineral, almost salty… the Degrassi Malvasia was all about ripeness and rotundity caressing the palate, finishing dry and almost chalky… Blending the three brought out all the goodness and filled the mouth with flavor and texture while remaining incredibly lithe and fresh.
We were very pleased. We were even more pleased when Moreno Degrassi brought out the most delicate and delicious Calamari Fritti I’ve had in YEARS…
Paired with his 2007 Malvasia Istria, it was like lunch in fish heaven…