Croatian Winemakers: Meneghetti Estate in Bale, Istria

By , 14 Apr 2017, 20:12 PM Croatian Wine Producers
Photo by Stancija Meneghetti Photo by Stancija Meneghetti

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An estate in Istria owned by a lawyer from Zagreb, where some of the best wines of Croatia are made.

Stancija Meneghetti (I find it very hard to translate that to English; I’d say the closest thing would be “Meneghetti Estate”, and their web-site says “Stancija Meneghetti Estate”, so, it’s something in that sense) is an estate in Istria, owned by a renowned Zagreb lawyer, Miroslav Plišo. He says that, while his family has no winemaking tradition, the estate in Istria he bought definitely does have one, as first written record of the vineyards and olive groves in the exact location dates back to 1865, and once he and his team took over the vineyard and the cellar they found some of the equipment used in those times. Aleš Kristančič Movia, one of the most reputable Slovenian winemakers, helped him select the varieties that were to be planted, and they chose to put the emphasis on the imported international varieties, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay etc., with the exception of Malvazija, a variety which is a must for almost all Istrian winemakers. Their Malvazija is not grown in the vineyards at the Estate (there have 7 hectares of vineyards there), rather in Buje region, as they came to believe that Malvazija gives the best possible results growing on the grey Istrian soil, not red.

Their original idea was to have just 2 wines: Meneghetti White and Meneghetti Red. Meneghetti White is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, a very complex wine with ripe citrus aromas, rich and concentrated, with quite a high alcohol of 13,5 and beautiful acids to match the alcohol. Meneghetti Red is also a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, an elegant wine, full bodied, mature and with excellent aging potential. It is often said that Meneghetti Red is among the top three Istrian Red wines.

The varietal wines they’ve decided to produce are Merlot, Malvazija and Chardonnay. Merlot has a minimal fraction of Cabernet Sauvignon, and the result is a fresh and an elegant fruity wine, with ideal acids. Malvazija has some Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, and it’s a medium-bodied, soft wine of nicely balanced alcohols and acids. Chardonnay is one hundred percent varietal, with all the best varietal characteristics developed in Istrian soil, fruitiness, gentle structure and minerality.

Just like most serious winemakers, Meneghetti has decided to make their sparkling wine, blending Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc, a wonderful aperitif sparkling wine, rounded with an elegant structure and perfectly integrated small beads.

The last addition to their gamut of wines and styles under their label are the wines made by the Glavić house, grown in the Konavle region and brought to Istria, where a rosé and a red are made from Syrah, and a white is Malvasia of Dubrovnik (although similar, not the same variety as the Istrian Malvazija).

Meneghetti Estate near Bale in Istria is a hotel, one of the best restaurants in Croatia (as confirmed with a recommendation by Michelin), a wine house with a tasting room, olive oil producer – basically, all that Istria has to offer in one place.

Croatian Winemakers


There are more than 2,600 registered winemakers in Croatia, a phenomenal number for such a small country. The majority of these are not commercial, and produce for their own needs, but more than 500 winemakers are registered to sell their wines. The range of winemaker in Croatia is as diverse as the grape selection - from large coopertives to small family producers - and the personalities are egos provide many a colourful story.

No proper database of Croatian exists in the public domain sadly, and the various wine databases we have had access to have been inaccurate and incomplete. Above is our attempt to rectify that, an ongoing process, and if you see any inaccurate information or a winemaker missing, please contact us on [email protected] and we will rectify things.

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