Nataša Černic, the owner of Italian Carso winery Castello di Rubbia, and I started some months ago dreaming about organizing a wine tasting of Mediterranean wines produced with the Malvasia grape. It started as a small event, maybe eight wines from three countries and maybe thirty people attendance. As it usually happens when you dream enough, things get easily out of hand and what was to be a small tasting became a huge event. Wineries started to get on board, some were present, some sent their wines and by the time we sat to breath and count, we had 25 wineries and 110 people had booked their participation. When the gates were open, 40 more people came for a grand total of 150 participants.

The plan was to offer wines coming from Canary Islands all the way to Greece, stopping in continental Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia and including different subvarieties of this important grape. Malvasia is a name that covers many subvarieties, including Malmsey in Madeira, Malvasía Volcánica and Malvasía de Sitges in Spain, Malvasia Istriana, Malvasia di Candia Aromatica and Malvasia Delle Lipari in Italy and Malvasia Istarska in Slovenia and Croatia to name a few.

Nataša also invited guest speakers form the wine industry and from the academic field, experts who talked about the history of the Malvasia, about wine and natural winemaking such as Andrea Amistani (wine historical) Dr. Marco Pecchiari (biologist), Professor Sabina Passamonti and Professor Klemen Lisjak. Robert Draper, one of the guests, is a journalist for the New York Times and National Geographic who in 2013 wrote an article about Malvasia wines in Croatia.

Yours truly also spoke a few words in front of such a magnificent audience and it was about the wines representing Spain. Three wines were the chosen ones: El Grifo Malvasía Seca Colección 2016 and 2017, a Malvasía Volcánica from Lanzarote, Sasserra 2006 Malvasía de Sitges from Vega de Ribes and the sparkling Clos Lentiscus Blanc de Blancs 2015 from Barcelona. We want to send a special warm gratitude to Enric Bartra from Vega de Ribes for his generosity and extreme kindness.

From Portugal we presented Casa de Mouraz Branco 2012, from Dao, a blend of Malvasia, Cercal Branca, Encruzado and Bical.

While doing the preparation for the event, we had the chance to visit and present the wines from some great producers from Croatia: Giorgio Clai could not attend the event for minor health issues but he offered his Sv. Jakov 2015 (again our gratitude to him and Dimitri Brezevic). Roxanich Vina was also present with its Antica 2010 (thank you so much, Mato Matic) and Antonella Kozlovic kindly offered her Santa Lucia 2015. A big heartfelt thanks to all of them.

From Italy, we had present I Clivi Malvasia 2016, a wonderful dry example of this variety in Collio produced by Ferdinando e Mario Zanusso. Mario was really kind with us too. Alexis Paraschos was also there to present his elegant Amphoreus Malvasia 2011. Another expert in macerated wines from Friuli was Damijan Podversic with his Malvasia 2013.

Also from Friuli came Venica & Venica, Vignai da Duline and Edi Kante. From Puglia the winery Duca Carlo Guarini was present. From Malfa we had the splendid Malvasia delle Lipari produced by Francesco Fenech and also was present Emidio Oggianu from Sardegna.

From Slovenia, Kristina Mervič and her father Boleslav (a big hug for both of you) were present with their JNK Malvasija 2015, a wonderful wine from Vipavksa Dolina, where we also found producer Lisjak Wineart. Vinokoper from Koper and Vina Stoka from Kras. And a heartfelt hug to Viljem Zizmond of Vinar Guštin fir his kindness and his wonderful Malvasía.

Three beautiful examples of Malvasia from Greece were also invited: From the Peloponeso came both Estate Theodoralakos and Koroniotis while Karavitakis came from Crete.

Finally, Nataša presented the second bottling of her incredibly wonderful experiment Cadenza D’Inganno 2011. Really amazing wine. We spoke about this wine in previous articles and we had enjoyed some bottles of the first bottling. The second one was just like walking in the clouds.

It was a huge success this first edition of the Mediterranean Malvasia wine tasting.

Nataša Černic would like to thank Franco Lacop, President of Regionale Council Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Alenka Florenin, Mayor of Savogna d’Isonzo – Sovodnje ob SoČi and politician Riccardo Illy and his wife for their participation in this event.

Coming up next, Nataša is organizing The Faces Of Natural Wines. Please check for info at www.castellodirubbia.it

Our eyes are now set in February 2019 for the second edition of this event, but firstly, please be aware in June we will organize another international wine event at Castello di Rubbia.

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