Istria is one of the regions in Croatia where good wine and the pleasure it gives us is held to a highest regard, and has been so for generations. So, in Umag, at Bašanija, one of the touristiest towns in Istra, at Marije and Line Square, a wine bar was open in early 2016, somewhat different than most other wine-bars in Croatia.
ItIstria is a wine-bar that came to be as cooperation between some of the best Istrian winemakers, fine dining experts and olive oil makers. Those are: Kozlović, Degrassi, Cuj and Coronica wineries, restaurants Nono and Bušćina and oil-makers Mate and Cuj. Both of the restaurants responsible for the food being served in ItIstria are traditional “konoba”, and the food offered to the guests in the wine bar is adjusted to the experience – it’s mostly finger-food, burgers etc. All of the food served is going to be made with a twist that makes them traditionally Istrian in a way. And having excellent olive oil as the premium spice and dressing is the Istrian way, so Mate and Cuj olive oils are a perfect match. They make oils from various olive varieties, so you can taste their leccino, pendolino, frantoio and istarska bjelica (local indigenous olive variety) and pair them with various food, and wine.
And the wines? The winemakers that are behind this wine bar are from the north-western Istria, Umag region. Kozlović, Degrassi, Cuj and Coronica wines in the bar are those are the ones from their cellars, and the prices are very similar to those in the cellars. All of the wines being sold at the bar are offered by the glass as well, so you can try some of their best malvazija (or teran, if red wines are your thing) in parallel and find out which is your favourite! All of the wines (and the oils, of course) can be purchased to be consumed back home, or you can enjoy them in a wonderful environment of a square in the heart of an Istrian town. Sometimes special events, tastings and parties are also held here, such as recent introduction of special offer on a Wednesday evenings (for instance, home-made pumpkin gnocchi with Kozlović teran) or young wine tastings with excellent live-music by local musicians.
Hopefully the somewhat original idea of the winemakers that can be perceived as competitors joining forces to offer their wines in one place, close to where the consumers are is going to prove to be very successful, so more wine bars based on it will appear in Croatia!
Trg Marije i Line 4, Umag
phone: 099 294 7010