News from Tomaz Winery: Black Malvazija in Three Acts

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In line with the current harvest, which Claudio Tomaz rates even better than the praised last two, the Motovun winery Tomaz will release two new products soon, both connected to his intention to revive the winemaking heritage of his grandfather Piero. Back when he was a boy, and the family vineyard was worked on by grandfather Piero, Klaudio Tomaz remembers there was Black Malvazija among the older vines, but it disappeared from their vineyard in 1983, Novi List wrote.

Ever since he went into the wine business and planted new vineyards, his wish was to plant Black Malvazija along with Teran, White Malvazija, Merlot and Muscat, and he did so in 2009 on an area of one hectare. When the vine began to show the first leaves and grapes, grandfather Piero, in his 96th year, confirmed it is the same variety he cultivated when he was younger. Claudio’s grandfather Piero passed away in 2015, but remained a constant inspiration to his grandson; in his honour Tomaz produced two years ago as the first in Istria “blanc de noirs” sparkling wine from Teran and named it Pier.

The first real harvest of Black Malvazija took place in 2013, a year of experiments, testing out what this forgotten variety could do in variations. In the fatal 2014, poor for almost all Istrian winemakers due to too much rain, Tomac’s Black Malvazija was additionally hit by hail, so there was no harvest. Bottles of Black Malvazija due on the market these days originate from the 2015 harvest. Tomaz applied a technique on this variety which he also uses on his other varieties: several weeks ahead of the harvest some of the grape clusters are cut and left on the vine to dry, and during the harvest all the grapes are then picked together, mixed together, followed by a month of maceration and 18 months of aging in large oak barrels. These days, when rain often interrupts the harvest, Black Malvazija is being bottled, where it will spend another six months.

At the very end of its aging this Black Malvazija can already be described as a truly magnificent wine. The first scent sensation of this wine in the glass is a pomegranate marmalade, followed by scents of marzipan, cooked quince and finally heated beech wood. Its taste is very playful and lively, next to dry berry fruit the next layers have notes of hazelnuts, carob and vanilla, and thanks to the strength of 16.3 percent alcohol, it is no coincidence it associates of a fruit liqueur, all rounded off with notes of coffee and creaminess of black chocolate.

Five hundred bottles of this Black Malvazija was laid on the seabed in August in Kvarner near Ika town, at a depth of 28 metres, as part of an experiment by several Croatian wineries undertaken for the third year. “I want to test how aging on the seabed, at a constant temperature and pressure, without air, will affect this wine and how this Black Malvazija will behave when we bring it out of the sea after a year,” explained Klaudio Tomaz. Some 2.000 bottles were left on dry land, and in the future there should be more as Tomaz, seeing the Black Malvazija was a hit, decided to plant another hectare with this variety.

How to combine this Black Malvazija with food? I recall some winemakers said of their wines, after they listed all the meals the wine blends well with, that it is an idela wine for meditation. For Klaudio Tomaz the first thought of the purpose of this Black Malvazija is for meditation, and then additionally combinations of this wine with venison, especially bear claw, made with blueberries, or deer medallions with black currant and green pepper. Finally, an excellent pair for this wine would be a chocolate mousse with white truffle, olive oil and Mediterranean aromatic herbs.

But, besides an individual single-variety still wine, Black Malvazija from Tomaz’s vineyard is also present in the new sparkling wine of this winery on the market, currently called “Sparkling Tomaz Rose Extra Dry.” It has 60 percent of Teran, 30 percent Merlot and 20 percent of Black Malvazija, and is, after the mentioned Pier (white sparkling from the black grapes of Teran), only the second sparkling in the history of Tomaz winery. Tomaz says of his Rose that it can go great as a summer aperitif, or as a trailing wine with a meat Carpaccio from Boškarin beef or venison, as well as fish Carpaccio or raw oysters with olive oil and lemon. What makes it different from most other rose sparklings is the pronounced clear-red colour, and its scent is a veritable explosion of fruit and red flowers.

With these two faces the wine audience is due to meet in the coming months, Black Malvazija from the vineyards of Klaudio Tomaz will show a third, but not yet: the raw material from this harvest (to be picked by Tomaz in the beginning of October) may provide the quality this winemaker expects to realise one of his older ideas. Using also Teran, Merlot and Black Malvazija as in the rose sparkling, Tomaz also intends to make a still coupage, with the idea to make a great red wine, worthy of bearing the name of the micro location it was raised on, and packaged in magnum bottles of a litre and a half. “All three varieties are currently in great shape in the vineyard, but the decision on whether to coupage them will be made a year and a half after their individual aging,” says Klaudio Tomaz, and again tempts his fans into the sin of impatience. However, as the patience paid off in the case of Black Malvazija, waiting on the new coupage of Tomaz winery will probably be worth even more.

Translated from Novi List.


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