Nenad Trifunovic

Moreno Coronica – Terroir in a bottle

Guess if You have “corona” in your name you are destined to be recognized. Dark humor aside, Moreno Coronica is one of the most famous Istrian and Croatian winemakers. His renowned winery is probably the safest place to be, because Moreno Coronica actually did fight the Covid-19 and won. It was time to pay a visit to a living legend of Istrian Teran.

Not too long ago in his Decanter column, even Andrew Jefford singled out Gran Teran 2015 on a special note, mentioning Teran as an exciting variety and Moreno Coronica as its finest interpreter.

Coronica's living room
Coronica’s living room

At Vinistra workshop ten years ago, the domestic audience recognized the greatness of Teran enjoying a bottle of 2000 Grand Teran and during this year`s Vinart Grand Tasting in Zagreb, 2004 Gran Teran was the oldest vintage of the red wine presented and one of the most stunning experiences of “Croatian Icons” workshop.

Perhaps, this Wine&More team visit will not make history, but it sure did satisfy our desire for a balsamic balance of mineral soil and deep fruit. Iron comes to mind when the red soil contrasts the green leaves under the blue sky. No doubt, Moreno`s connection to earth is what makes him The interpreter of Istrian Teran.

Teran is no picnic. His natural higher acidity and astringency require a masterful hand to transform its unique character and aromatics into a pleasurable sip of “rabbit blood”. The expression sounds crude but is still sometimes used to describe the specific color of young Teran. Traditionally, Teran is well paired with game meat, having enough body and refreshment to counterpart red meat and succulent fruity mouthfeel to enhance umami.

Moreno Coronica vineyard chair
Moreno Coronica in his favourite chair

Coronica knows, his basic Teran needs no wood. It is being made in stainless steel tanks to preserve specific fresh kick. Even for Grand Teran, Coronica got rid of barrique barrels and ages his celebrated wine in large wood. “I need to express tradition and terroir. Barrique barrels needed to get out of the equation. Thanks to a specific terroir, grapes I got deserves proper treatment. One that enables soil transfer to glass”.

Moreno Coronica is recognized not “only” as a true master of Teran, as his passion extends to another native variety of IstriaMalvasia Istriana.

Coronica`s entry Malvasia may look like “clean and green” in a style which many of young Malvasia wines cherish. Appearance may deceive as Moreno truly is a man of substance. Even his basic young Malvasia age gracefully and his Gran Malvasia not only endure but improves and develops as a complex structured white wine.

Moreno refuses to accept commonly used praise about creating a world brand out of Malvasia Istriana. “We created nothing that wasn`t already there. We are simply returning the former glory”, says Moreno. It is a hard-gained knowledge, as Moreno keeps trying but always comes back to the old way of cultivating vineyards. Also, when one inherits a 600 year of known family history, his belief in tradition is much deeper than even his label suggests, with initials of his beloved father’s name. CO on the label stands for Coronica Ottaviano, Moreno`s father and inspiration.

Moreno Coronica vineyard
Enjoying a private tour of the great vineyard

Wine buffs still contemplate whether Coronica`s most complex and well-structured wine is neither Teran or Malvasia but perhaps “Grabar”. Grabar is the name of Coronica`s Bordeaux blend. Dominantly Cabernet Sauvignon softened with ripe Merlot proves to be the right combination for Istrian soil. Harmonic, with smooth tannins and blueprint Cabernet-Merlot aromatic profile but with a recognizable Istrian twist. And uncompromising aging ability.

It was enlightening to share a beautiful day on Coronica Estate and such visits made us learn the importance of connection to the place, to the earth and the heritage as well as the winemaker signature. “90% of the wine is made in the vineyard” is commonly used to emphasize the importance of growers, “and 90% is made in the cellar” Moreno Coronica adds with a knowledgeable smile.


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