Nestled in the enchanting region of Istria, Croatia, lies the impressive Coronica Winery. With a history steeped in tradition and a commitment to producing wines of excellence, this family-owned estate has become a beacon of quality in the world of Croatian viticulture. Led by the visionary winemaker Moreno Coronica, the winery showcases the region’s unique terroir and the extraordinary potential of Istrian wines.
In recent years, the world has taken notice of Croatia’s burgeoning wine scene, and Coronica has played a pivotal role in this rising popularity.
With their commitment to quality and emphasis on indigenous grape varieties, Croatian winemakers are redefining the country’s winemaking landscape. Wine enthusiasts are increasingly recognizing the noteworthy charm and outstanding quality of Croatian wines, drawing attention to the richness of this vibrant wine region.
Coronica traces its origins back to the early 20th century when Moreno’s grandfather, Giovanni Coronica, first established the estate. Situated in the heart of Istria’s fertile vineyards, the winery has evolved over the years, combining time-honored winemaking techniques with modern innovation. Today, Moreno carries forward his family’s legacy with unwavering dedication and a profound respect for the land.
One cannot discuss wine in Istria without acknowledging the significance of its particular terroir.
The region’s remarkable terra rossa soil, derived from iron-rich clay, imparts a distinctive character to the wines produced here. This mineral-rich soil, combined with the Mediterranean climate and the influence of the nearby sea, creates ideal conditions for grape cultivation. The result is wines that beautifully reflect their origins, boasting a balance of elegance, complexity, and a vivid sense of place.
At the helm of Coronica is the immensely talented, and equally passionate winemaker, Moreno Coronica. Moreno has been instrumental in raising the profile of Croatian wines on the global stage, and his meticulous approach to grape growing and winemaking allows him to craft wines that are true expressions of both the terroir and the indigenous grape varieties.
He embraces those indigenous varieties, harnessing their potential to create wines that are drawing much critical acclaim. Sommelier Maša Pačić toured us through the winery and explained that the philosophy of the winery is to avoid a strong oak influence on the wine. “You should be able to feel the characteristic of the variety, and the character of the terroir, and the hand of the winemaker; so that’s why we just want the wood to kiss the wine.”
Approximately 75% of the Coronica vineyards are planted to Malvazija Istriana, a white grape that thrives in the Mediterranean climate, and is a standout in the winery’s portfolio.
Its floral aromas, refreshing acidity, and subtle mineral notes is precisely the reason white wines from the region are getting much of the spotlight.
But it’s the earthy, robust, not to mention very challenging, Teran grape where Coronica has distinguished itself and staking much of its reputation. With its intense color, lively acidity, and characteristic red fruit flavors, Teran showcases the notable quality and diversity of Istrian red wines.
Teran is a variety that produces large clusters with big berries and high yields and was traditionally used as a blending grape. While visiting the Barolo region 30 years ago, Moreno connected the similarities between the Teran grape and Nebbiolo, closely studying the techniques used for the latter.
In particular, he learned about the benefit of reducing yields, “I saw the majority of the clusters on the ground and not on the vines, but the results were unmistakable.” He planned to introduce this technique of cutting back yields back at the winery much to the disapproval of his father. Initially, this became a bone of contention between them and the source of many arguments.
But the arguments were soon placated once the results were tasted proving that his technique helped produce a much more complex and approachable wine than previously thought possible.
Moreno was particularly satisfied as it affirmed his belief in Teran being a world-class variety. While Bordeaux varieties grow well in Istria, it’s Moreno’s view that regardless of how good the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot produced in Istria are, they will always be second behind the French. “That’s why we are very much focused on our Teran—whoever is making the best Teran in this area is making the best Teran in the world.”
Moreno is the consummate host charming us with his humility and passion. Despite English as a second language, his devotion to the terroir and to producing wines of the highest quality, combined with his dedication to advancing his family’s legacy, was never lost in translation.
While tasting through Coronica’s portfolio of wines with Moreno and Maša, we were introduced to the winery’s newest addition, the Ottavio Malvazija, dedicated to Moreno’s late father and released this past March. He spoke about his relationship with his father and then asked us for our honest opinion on the wine because, “I can’t be objective, this wine means too much to me.” It’s a beautiful expression of Malvazija Istriana, appreciated a little bit more knowing the affection behind it.
Coronica stands as a testament to the excellence that can be achieved when tradition, innovation, and a deep connection to the land converge.
Moreno Coronica is not only preserving Istria’s winemaking heritage but also elevating Croatian wines to new heights while propelling the winery to global recognition.
The winery offers a captivating wine tasting experience that showcases the beauty and allure of one of Istria’s very best. As the world’s appreciation for Croatian wines continues to grow, Coronica Winery and its offerings are sure to captivate wine lovers seeking new and exciting wines.
52470 Umag-Umago, Croatia
T: +385 52 730 357