Monday, January 17, 2022

2020 Fakin Malvazija Istarska: An Istrian Delight

In Croatia, the term "fakin" generally means a scamp or rascal, however the terms's origin is in the Italian word facchino, which referrs to a porter, someone who carries luggage. This particular wine is imported by Mirena Bagur and Win Burke of Croatian Premium Wine Imports, and Mirena's grandfather, who also owned a small vineyard, was a facchino, carrying luggage for a train station. 

Fakin Winery was established in 2010 by Marko Fakin, in Bataji, very near the medieval town of Motovun. It's said that the mythical Jason and the Argonauts traversed the Mirna River at the foothills of the Motovun,  Motovun has a rich medieval history, and in the present, it was also the birthplace of the famed race car driver Mario Andretti. Marko Fakin and his wines have become very famous in the last couple of years, winning numerous awards at Croatian wine competitions. 

The winery has about 30 hectares of vineyards, primarily growing native Istrian grapes including; Malvazija Istarska, Teran and Muškat. Their website states, "The white soil, microclimate and hilly terrain configuration gives our grapes the minerality, freshness and expressive characteristics specific to these varieties."  Croatian Premium Wine Imports currently brings in Fakin's 2020 Malvasija, 2018 La Prima Malvasija, 2019 Teran and 2017 Teran Il Primo

I received a media sample of the 2020 Fakin Malvazija Istarska ($29), made from 100% Malvazija Istarska. Malvasia Istarska comprises almost two thirds of the total wine production in the Istrian region, and is the second most planted variety in Croatia after Grasevina. It is also thought to have been grown in the area for centuries. This wine also has a 13% ABV and spent about six months aging in stainless steel. 

On the nose, it has an alluring nose of peach, herbs and spices. On the palate, it is fresh, dry and crisp, with delicious citrus and stone fruit flavors, spice notes, a mild floral element and a backbone of minerality. It's medium bodied, with a very pleasing finish, and is certainly enjoyable on its own although it would pair well with food as well. I would like to try this wine with oysters or a light chicken dish, or maybe even some Asian cuisine. 

I've been becoming a fan of the Malvazija Istarska grape and this is a fine example. You should be exploring Croatian wines, which have so much to offer any wine lover. 

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