Wine Cellar’s ID
The life-and-wine path of Ivica Matošević is a little uncommon, because unlike many other leading Istrian winemakers, who went on with a family tradition, he started out from absolutely nothing. After a degree from the Agriculture Faculty, he opted for science, and spent three years in Udine in the famed Italian wine region of Friuli, which was at that time undergoing rapid development. And that is where it all started, there was born his love of wine. With a doctorate in hand, with his acquired experience and a lot of enthusiasm he returned to Istria and with a bunch of like-minded people started off projects that sparked the wine renaissance in Istria. In 1996 his first bottles appeared on the market. Then came many prizes, which motivated him to go on.
Vineyards and assortment
It all started on the holdings of relatives, for he had no vineyards of his own. From their vineyards, grapes arrived for processing. Looking for the best that Istria could afford, he went around various sizes, places and vineyards. He asked questions and talked with people and went on learning until finally he bought and found land in the site of Brdo – in the central part of Istria.The outstanding microclimate conditions – the pure Mediterranean climate, the propinquity of the Mirna and Butoniga rivers, a lot of sun and the steep southern slopes raised, at the elevation of some 260 – 300 m, above the possibilities of morning frost made this site special. The queen of the Matošević vineyard and cellar is Malvazia, while the remainder of the slopes are planted with White Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Teran and Merlot. Since the beginning he has worked with three partners who lovingly cultivate for him another 15 hectares of vineyard, from which each year high quality grapes arrive in the cellar. For, Ivica thought, without superlative grapes, there could be no high quality wine.
Cellar, technology, wines
In 1998 the production moved out of the family garage into a newly built and technically well equipped cellar. Expansion is on the table. The annual production comes to about 75,000 bottles with an average annual growth of about 10 per cent. His style results in a fresh, zingy Malvazia that is fermented and aged in stainless steel. In a special part of the cellar wine is also aged in barriques of oak and acacia. He thinks that the pure and original is the greatest guarantee of quality. When you have good grapes, with classic technology and precise work, very high quality wines are produced. The essence of it all is to keep up the style, character and quality of the wine, imparts Matošević, and adds that it is his mission to create something that is both lasting and identifiable.
The staff of permanent employees, seven young and educated people, work in the vineyards and the cellar, and in the season, the local people help too. The key to success is a healthy, excellent atmosphere. He thinks that anyone can plant a vineyard, but if you don’t feel at least partially that it’s your own, there is something missing. A visit to the cellar and the tasting room is the best way to check out these claims.
I think that passion is the key word. At the beginning, it was a hobby. Then I fell in love with this world. I think that every job you do with love must in time bear fruit and come out in its full glory. My philosophy is to cultivate the job by cultivating a passion for wine. And I shall do so as long as I find a challenge and a satisfaction in creating something that I like, and my friends and customers like. This area was always on the world wine map. The trend is to the original and the indigenous, and we have that, we can and we have to. There is no reason to worry about what others have. We do the best possible from what the site offers us.
I want to make good wine, and that is the basis of all the other activities. This restless spirit drives him to be doing and making something all the time. What direction this will take him is unclear. For the moment, he is concentrating on the technical details and on Malvazia, variety that is part of every Istrian winery. The thing is to find ways in which to arrive at as good qualities as possible. His commitment to Vinistra is great, and spends half of his working day doing something for this project that is very important for Istria. He hopes that Croatia will understand that a breakthrough on the world market depends on institutional linkage and on an increasingly large number of high quality associations, for as he says, together we are stronger. He also hopes that the other regions will follow his example, and understand the multiple attending benefits for themselves, for others, and for the country.