Our first visit to Istria, Croatia, revealed a region of striking beauty along with wines of excellent quality. Kozlović Winery is a gorgeous estate situated amidst rolling hills and lush vineyards, offering a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding countryside. The location alone evokes a sense of tranquility that sets the stage for a most memorable wine experience.
The roots of Kozlović Winery can be traced back to 1904 when the Kozlovic family first settled in the village of Vale, near the town of Momjan.
For four generations, the family cultivated vineyards and produced wine for personal consumption. In 1990, Anton Kozlovic, the visionary patriarch, decided to transform their family tradition into a commercial winery. Since then, Kozlović Winery has become a renowned name, respected for its commitment to quality and passion for winemaking.
Kozlović embraces a winemaking philosophy deeply rooted in a respect for nature and the environment that allows the fruit to express its true essence.
Guided by sustainable and organic practices, the winery employs strict vineyard management techniques to ensure the preservation of the region’s biodiversity while simultaneously producing the highest quality grapes.
Situated in the northwest of the Istrian Peninsula, Kozlović benefits from a unique microclimate and diverse soil types. The proximity to the Adriatic Sea and the Ucka mountain range provides a moderate Mediterranean climate, characterized by warm summers and mild winters. The terroir is characterized by a mix of clay, marl, and flysch (a type of sedimentary rock), providing a solid foundation for the cultivation of indigenous and international grape varieties. This climatic influence, combined with the varied soil composition, imparts a remarkable complexity to their wines.
Kozlović owns and manages over 25 hectares of vineyards that showcase an impressive array of wines, each with its own distinctive character. The winery places a strong emphasis on indigenous Istrian grape varieties such as Malvasia Istriana, Teran, and Muscat. These grapes thrive in the region’s terroir, resulting in wines that encapsulate the essence of Istria. Additionally, Kozlović experiments with international varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot, skillfully blending tradition with innovation.
Stepping into Kozlović Winery, you’re immediately struck by its modern and sleek design. The architecture seamlessly blends contemporary elements with its natural surroundings creating a truly congruous ambiance. From the stainless-steel tanks used for fermentation to the meticulously maintained oak barrels lining the cellar walls, every detail exudes professionalism and a commitment to quality.
The winery’s commitment to sustainability is also evident in its use of several eco-friendly practices, such as solar energy and rainwater harvesting.
Although the winery has an equally modern and very inviting tasting room, our wine tasting was hosted on the outdoor deck that is cantilevered over the estate vineyards.
It takes full advantage of the awe-inspiring views that unfold in every direction. Tasting their wine with that particular viewpoint is an experience that truly immerses you in the natural beauty of Istria helping to elevate an already terrific sensory experience.
Kozlović Winery’s impressive portfolio of wines truly showcase what the region is capable of producing.
Their flagship white wine, Malvasia Istriana, captures the region’s character with its vibrant acidity, minerality, and notes of ripe citrus and white flowers. Another wine of note is the Teran, a red wine of great distinction, characterized by its intense color, robust structure, and aromas of dark fruits and spices. The winery also produces exceptional Muscat and rosé wines, offering a diverse range of options to satisfy every palate.
Over the years, the Kozlović family has combined their profound knowledge of the region’s viticulture with modern advancements to produce wines that effortlessly blend tradition and innovation. They have garnered much international recognition and numerous accolades for good reason.
Kozlović Winery stands as an emblem of excellence in Croatian winemaking, weaving together a rich historical legacy, a profound winemaking philosophy, and an unquestionably unique terroir. A visit there transcends the mere enjoyment of wine, connecting visitors not only to some of the best wines in the region, but also to the natural beauty that surrounds it.
2022 Kozlović Malvazija Classic
Malvazija seems to be the region’s signature grape variety (or was it just our favourite?). This showed the typicity of this variety in a classic way: racy acidity, medium body, notes of citrus and pineapple. There was a roundness to this wine. In a region that can tend towards excessive acidity due to its climate, this wine resisted going there and showed linearity without any tartness. The finish had some interesting saline notes. Very refreshing with terrific balance.
2020 Kozlović Malvazija Selekcija
A step up in quality but showing all the approachability of the Classic. A little more acid drew lines that were focused and precise. As with many “reserve” wines we taste, we see a family connection to the basic wine but with the dials all turned up. Intense and impactful, the saline and mineral qualities really came to the fore in this wine adding complexity and distinctiveness.
2021 Kozlović Teran
Bright cherry flavours are married to a tannic frame with lovely herbal accents. In some ways it reminded me of an Amarone without the concentration. In a marginal climate like Istria’s, expect the reds to be a bit more on the rustic side. Here a rustic presence could be noted but it was joined by a classy polish that took the tasting experience up a notch. Very Good+
2016 Kozlović Santa Lucia Red
This blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Teran spent 18 months aging in oak barriques. The oak adds texture without injecting flavour and in our opinion was very well judged. The herbal notes were also present in this wine but the fruit leaned more towards black cherry. With some air, those herbal tones seemed to morph from being on the medicinal side to showing something more like garrigue and something Provencal. The bottle age shows well on this wine the reds in this region in general benefit from time in the cellar.
2017 Kozlović Malvazija Santa Lucia Single Vineyard
This was a real show-stopper of a wine. 5 days of maceration with the skins brings a more golden hue to the wine as well as concentrating and intensifying the flavours. The 12 months in barrels adds depth and flavour. Notes of citrus fruit, pear, hints of pineapple, and that lovely saline quality that always makes us think of oyster shells. Medium+ body and medium+ acidity, this would pair wonderfully with any seafood or poultry dish. Wines like this really should be enjoyed at the table. A great wine.
Vale 78 52460 Momjan
Istria – Croatia
T: +385 52 77 91 77
Phone: +385 52 77 91 88
Tasting Room Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-7pm (closed Sundays & holidays)