Yesterday evening in Porec, in the beautiful ambience of the Istrian Assembly Hall, a wine tasting of the best Vina Laguna wines was held in front of a jury comprised of wine experts from Croatia and abroad.

Members of this international jury were guests from Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The head of the jury was Steven Spurrier, a wine expert from England, who has continued to feature prominently on the Decanter Top 50 Power List for a number of years and as head of the jury of the World’s biggest wine competition – The Decanter World Wine Awards. Steven Spurrier is best known as the initiator of the legendary 1976 wine competition, The Judgment of Paris, during which French and California wines were blind tasted and California wines (Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon) received higher marks than the prestigious Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, which lead to a milestone in the world of wine and to a total change of perception of California wines, which are very much appreciated on the world wine market today.

The light and fresh Vina Laguna wines combine a wide selection of quality and top wines. Vina Laguna Select reflect the freshness of an Istrian Spring with their simplicity. Due to their low alcohol content, they can be enjoyed daily with light Istrian dishes and they reveal a sense of satisfaction of the Istrian lifestyle.

Top Vina Laguna wines: Malvasia, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Castello are unified under the brand name Vina Laguna Festigia, wines of the Istrian banquet.

At the event, the premier tasting of a few new wines, which have not yet been released on the market, was held: Vina Laguna Festigia Malvasia Vizinada, 2011 harvest – a Malvasia from old vineyards in the Vizinada region, Vina Laguna Festigia Malvasia Acacia, 2011 harvest – a Malvasia stored in acacia barrels, and Vina Laguna Vizinada white, 2011 harvest – a coupage of Malvasia, Chardonnay and Muscat Blanc.

Chef Tomislav Gretic, one of Croatia’s best chefs, was responsible for a complete gastronomical experience. His passion and love for cooking was visible in every dish he prepared. The white Istrian truffle, which is now in season, played the leading role in many of the dishes. Its flavours intertwined perfectly with the flavours of the Istrian banquet which chef Gretic prepared.

During this informal mingling and wine tasting combined with delicacies of the Istrian banquet, international guests got to know the broad palate of Vina Laguna, as well as the high-end gastronomy offer of Istria and the possibilities of the ingredients of this region when placed in the hands of top chefs.

In order for the tasting to be of a competitive character, the jury blind tasted three wines with each dish and were asked to evaluate them on a scale of 1 to 5.

While presenting the results, Steven Spurrier said:

“This is my third time in Croatia tasting Vina Laguna wines as a consumer would and in the context of world trends. The market trend is towards light, fresh wines with terroir characteristics. Three years ago, I wasn’t as optimistic as I am after today’s tasting because the quality of today’s Vina Laguna has increased, the wines are light, elegant and they definitely reflect the characteristics of Istria and present that which Istria has to offer with its various positions and soils. When tasting Vina Laguna wines, the phrase “Taste the place” totally rings true. Vina Laguna Malvasias are definitely a strong point, especially because they have maintained their character in all their varieties which is the way to go in the development of a specific variety for the world market.

Red varieties have also progressed and I especially liked the Vina Laguna Festigia Merlot, 2010 harvest, which is crisp, scented and full of dark berries. However, I also liked the red coupages such as the Vina Laguna Terra Rossa, 2012 harvest and the Vina Laguna Festigia Castello, 2011 harvest which represent excellent indigenous blends and also show the path that Vina Laguna should take, especially in terms of an international market.

I always say that wine can be presented through the 3 P’s: Place, People, Product! Istria is a beautiful peninsula with great winemaking possibilities, the people are good, hardworking and knowledgeable, and all this results in a great product.”

Who were the winners of the competition? The results were very close in every sequence, however, the 2011 Malvasia Vizinada can be singled out, which had a large number of fans at its premier tasting, but also the 2011 Vina Laguna Festigia Castello, which, accompanied by steak, a boletus and escargot cream in a colonnata, won the undivided opinion of the jury as the perfect combination.