A customer of mine once told me that Istrian Malvazija was a terribly boring grape variety and that it was ridiculous to place it in oak barrels because no benefits would come from it. Ok, I’ll diplomatically somewhat agree with this – yes, Malvazija is meant to be drunk young, fresh and crispy, but what’s with the exemplary whites from Istria such as Matošević Alba Barrique or Kozlović Santa Lucia? Those were some de-li-cious wines in my book. The whole point of drinking wine is exploration with a wide open mind. So, while you’re reading this, please, PLEASE, don’t let previous judgments blind you and stop you from trying a certain grape/region/wine for a second time.
Fakin La Prima Malvazija 2012 displays a pleasant medium golden colour. I decanted the wine for 45 minutes to let the oxygen do its thing, i.e. to let the wood and acidity integrate a bit with other esters and elements. The nose is clearly dominated by the barrique – notes of smoke, new wood, raisins, butter and toast. I always cringe on these wines, because of the possible overkill the barrels can cause, but the palate miraculously saves the day with its striking acidity, creamy texture and great balance of alcohol and flavour concentration. Fruit notes come into focus showing lemon juice and melon followed by hints of orange blossom. Biscuit, acacia honey and charred wood linger on the long aftertaste. With the blasting volumes of acidity, alcohol and unity of various levels the wine is showing, I’d give it up to 8 years of keeping itself together. You may think 20€ is a lot now, but let me know what your friends think about your ninja wine skills when you open this wine in 2020. A great investment.
Grape varieties: 100% Istrian Malvazija
Aging: 12 months in acacia barrique
Average price: 20€
GN score: 89/100
Region: Croatia – Istria – Motovun
It’s amusing how I started appreciating Fakin. My parents brought me 15 Malvazijas from their vacation in Istria and sat me down for a tasting. They didn’t mention anything about anyone winning any gold medals. Upon finishing my analysis, I start going through my notes to see who got the highest score and there it was – Fakin Malvazija 2015 (92 points). Then I was told that Marko Fakin is this young guy who likes off-road racing, truffles and receiving awards for the best fresh Malvazija at Vinistra.
His winery is settled in the small village of Motovun at 270m altitude and is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, Mirna River and Motovun Forest which contribute significantly to the ripening process of the grapes (cooling/warming effect, barrier to winds, development of vegetation…). The soils are consisted of loam and gravel which are great for retaining water (especially during the months of drought) and giving a nice mineral flint to Malvazija and Teran. The production isn’t huge, so Marko stays loyal to the term “boutique” and sells everything until the next vintage. So if you go looking for the gold-winning Malvazija, good luck (and bring some to the Grape Nomad crew)!
Written by Aleksandar Draganić.
I’m a WSET certified grape juice drinker, and yes, I’m that 1% of people that love their job. I drink wine, write about it, preach about it, even take pictures of it. Find me at @grapenomad