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Clai Giorgio

Artisanal wine reaches Croazia with local grapes and spontaneous fermentations
Region Istria (Croazia)
Vineyard hectares 10
Annual production 35.000 bt
Address Brajki 104, Krasica, Buje

Giorgio Clai is one of Istria's most famous winemakers. For years, he has been producing excellent wines that express the best of this wonderful land. His winery is located near the small village of Krasica in the hinterland of the northern part of the Istrian peninsula, a few kilometres from the Italian border. The estate is located in a magnificent hilly area, at an altitude of approximately 200 metres above sea level, and comprises 10 hectares of vineyards and 5 hectares of olive groves, the typical crops of the Mediterranean Sea area. The climate is particularly favourable for the cultivation of vines. The beautiful sunny exposures enjoy mild temperatures all year round, also thanks to the beneficial influence of the gentle sea breezes that come up from the coast, only ten kilometres away.

The Istrian peninsula is a very interesting area in terms of geology and soil composition. The soils in the northern part are composed of flysch, limestone sedimentations poor in organic matter and not very fertile, but very draining and rich in mineral elements, which are useful for vines. Under these conditions, the vines naturally produce few bunches per plant, but excellent quality grapes with particularly intense and concentrated aromas and flavours. The high plant density further enhances these characteristics, with very low yields. The estate is managed according to the principles of organic farming, with full respect for the environment and natural biodiversity. Fertilisation takes place with organic manure and only when necessary.

Following the ancient customs of the territory, Giorgio Clai has always favoured the varieties historically present in this area. Among the rows are mainly Istrian Malvasia, Plavina, and Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, but there are also some international grape varieties imported during the 19th century, which have acclimatised particularly well, such as Pinot Grigio, Moscato Bianco, Merlot and Chardonnay. Work in the cellar follows very simple vinification processes, with spontaneous fermentation using only indigenous yeasts, without the addition of enzymes or other oenological additives. The wines are matured in wooden barrels of different sizes according to grape variety and cuvée, with long ageing on the lees in order to acquire more structure and aromatic complexity.

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