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Food & Drink

Damjanic Wines – World Gold for Istrian Nectar of God


Miodrag Spahić - Dec 16, 2021

5 min

Damjanić Wines win two gold medals and the Regional Trophy at the prestigious competition in London

During the wine competition season contests are being held everywhere, but the most important ones are surely the two most influential and largest world competitions, both based in London: DWWA – Decanter World Wine Awards and IWC – International Wine Challenge. Decanter and International Wine Challenge are the two supreme authorities when it comes to prestigious wine competitions with a long tradition and high demands. However, prestigious does not always mean unattainable, as was proven by Istrian winemakers who return from London time and again with valuable recognitions, awards and medals. For Damjanić Wines, this is an impressive success, particularly because the result was achieved at a competition that follows the strictest criteria.

Photo Courtesy of Damjanic Wines

The International Wine Challenge is held twice a year, once in spring and once in autumn, and it was the autumn edition that brought joy to many Istrian winemakers, particularly the family winery Damjanić which won two gold medals. The medals were awarded to Damjanić Malvasia from 2016, and Damjanić Clemente Blanc from 2015, which managed to impress three different jury combinations – which is customary for this competition – with their specific aromas and unique characteristics. In order for a wine to win a gold medal, it must meet the strict criteria and win at least 95 out of 100 points, awarded by three different jury compositions, which is why the International Wine Challenge is considered to be one of the most rigorous wine competitions worldwide, and this gives additional weight to the gold medals won by winemaker Ivan Damjanić and his family winery from Fuškulin.

Photo Courtesy of Damjanic Wines

The sky-high targets of 95 points for gold and 90 points for silver speaks volumes about the criteria that the judges apply at these competitions, whereas the number of wines that are submitted for evaluation from around the world is well above 14,000 samples, which proves how tough the competition is.

The gold medal winner and the Regional Trophy Winner, the Malvasia from the Damjanić Istrian winery from the Poreč area, is marked by rich fruit aromas and pleasant flower fragrances as well as an appealing freshness and harmony. The Clemente Blanc, aged blend of Malvasia, Chardonnay and Grey Pinot, stands out with its well-rounded and rich taste, perfect texture and pleasant finish, and also won a gold medal with 95 points.

Photo Courtesy of Damjanic Wines

The international competitions such as DWWA and IWC are organised by independent companies that follow market principles and understand that only the preservation of high criteria guarantees credibility and long-term survival. The London competitions are famous for the remarkable strictness and do not shy away from withholding gold medals if they were unimpressed by wines from a particular region. With these results, the Damjanić Winery, which owns seven hectares of vineyards where they grow a host of local and international varieties, became the absolute Croatian champion of this year’s International Wine Challenge. Some Croatian wine critics have for years been pointing out the specific character and high quality of Damjanić wines, and this was confirmed at the highest international level.

Photo Courtesy of Damjanic Wines

In addition to the gold medals won by Damjanić, several other Croatian wine producers can also boast valuable prizes won at these competitions. The ten gold medals won at DWWA and two at IWC truly represent a remarkable success of Croatian winemakers. The golden medal winners in London include: Ivan Damjanić who won gold medals at IWC for Malvasia 2016 and Clemente 2015, whereas Malvasia also won the National Trophy title (which is equal to Decanter’s platinum medal). All in all, of the 14 Croatian wines that won awards, 11 are from Istria, which is a great acknowledgement for winemakers of Istria whose results have been steadily improving over the past years.

Damjanić Malvazija 2016

This wine was the most successful at the IWC, since it won the gold medal and also the regional trophy, as it was declared best among other gold medal winners in the region. This means that the Damjanić winery has firmly taken its place among the most prestigious names of the rich Istrian wine scene.

Photo Courtesy of Damjanic Wines

Damjanić Clement Blanc 2015

Clemente Blanc belongs to that small group of unusual Istrian white wines which still mature in the barrique. It is extremely attractive for its combination of creaminess, freshness and balance that result in elegance. This is a beautiful, full, slightly herbal, slightly buttery wine that goes remarkably well with whitefish and large crustaceans. Clemente Blanc is another Istrian wine that is helping shift the somewhat dull paradigm of clean and fresh. Istria is still capable of providing much more demanding white wines than those just easy to drink in the summer heat.

Photo Courtesy of Damjanic Wines

About the Damjanić Winery

The story started in early 18th century when the Jurković family started planting vineyards in the area of Fuškulin near Poreč. After years of hard work, they grew to become one of the leading winemakers in the region, and during the 1930s they won prizes in different international wine exhibitions such as EXPOSITION DU BIEN-ETRE, PARIS 1928, where in 1928 they won the Grand Prix and gold medal for their red wine. At that time, they exported most of their wine to Trieste as its quality made it very popular on the market. Until the end of World War II, the family worked 30 ha of agricultural land, 20 of which were covered by vineyards.

Photo Courtesy of Damjanic Wines

The political turmoil in the region after the war meant that there was no tolerance for entrepreneurship and the family was decimated and destroyed under the guise of nationalisation, which interrupted the century-old winegrowing and winemaking tradition. Following a break of 50 years, at the start of the new millennium, the descendants, namely the Damjanić family, started rebuilding the vineyards on the same fertile surfaces. After 15 years of hard work, the Damjanić family now has 10.5 ha of vineyards at their disposal and a state-of-the-art vineyard, where the young enologist Ivan Damjanić applies his knowledge and love of winemaking.

The current Damjanić family’s assortment includes the Istrian Malvasia, “Akacija” Istrian Malvasia, “Classic” Istrian Malvasia, Chardonnay, “Penelope” Rose, Yellow Muscat, “Sincerus” Istrian Malvasia, Borgogna, Duro Istriano, Clemente Blanc and Clemente.

Photo Courtesy of Damjanic Wines

The family plans to develop more winegrowing surfaces focusing on the Istrian Malvasia as the leading variety in this area and the Borgogna, an old traditional Istrian variety that has until recently been almost forgotten due to the arrival of new varieties. Focusing on quality, the Damjanić family uses the latest technology in wine production and the results are obvious from the medals won at the domestic and international competitions and wine exhibitions. The purpose and strategy of their development is mostly based on the traditionally unique approach both in the vineyard and in the wine cellar.

Contact details:

A:    FUŠKULIN 50, 52440 – Poreč-Parenzo, Croatia
T :   +385(0)52 654 120
E :    [email protected]
Instagram: @damjanic_wine




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