02-06-2013

In The Glass: Matošević Alba Barrique 2004

albaWhile paying a visit to Ivica Matošević’s winery last month, we tasted our way through all his labels and, at one point he pulled out a bottle of 2004 Malvazija. The reason for opening this nine year-old bottle was to show off how well Malvazija can age if one so desired. Ironically, in swimming in Croatian wine circles back in California, I seem to recall having tasted this vintage (or perhaps the 2005) shortly after its release and I can say that I enjoy it a great deal more now.

For everyone who loves tossing about “The New Tuscany” or “Undiscovered Italy” or other such hyperbolic nonsense to describe Istria, while the winemakers can make great reds, their real specialty are their whites and specifically the Malvazija. I have no idea how the geographic and meteorological elements all come together to make it happen, but, if someone knows what they’re doing, then great whites can be had and, as Ivica’s Malvazija showed, aged as well.

Alba Barrique 2004 boasts a floral nose and a wonderfully, lively freshness despite so many years of aging. Wonderfully harmonic in the body and even handed. Clean and perfect in to the finish. Hints of lemon peel develop around other minor citric elements.