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The Roxanich heritage hotel and winery surrounded by pine trees at the foot of the historic hilltop of Motovun in Istria.

The Roxanich heritage hotel and winery surrounded by pine trees at the foot of the medieval town of Motovun.

After a 15 years’ journey across the world’s most famous wine regions, Mladen Rozanich settled on his native Istria in a bid to create “unforgettable wines”.

A perfectionist by nature, he launched a search for the most favourable Istrian terrains to plant vineyards. The final decision was taken when he met Antun Banko, the winegrower from Kosinozici near Nova Vas.

Soon followed a four-year period during which 23 hectares of vineyards were planted. All situated on the west Istrian winegrowing hills near Visnjan at the localities of Bacva and Busure.

Here, on the exclusively red soil rich in iron oxides and calcium carbonates, Roxanich – the old Venetian spelling of Rožanić – wines acquire their truly unique personalities.

Merlot is hugely successful here. British wine critic Oz Clarke said “Istria might be the world’s second-best Merlot terroir after Bordeaux”.

Viticulture follows the biodynamic calendar and picking is based on organoleptic assessment.

Roxanich's low-intervention wines are characterized by 36-48 months barrel ageing following long skin contact: 4-6 weeks for reds, and 8 days up to 174 days for whites, producing rich aromas, extraordinary colours and full-bodied flavours that give these wines their distinctive character.

Indeed, his wines polarize opinions.

Primary fruit is not the target. “Real varietal character and terroir” comes from the secondary and tertiary aromas and flavours of a wine, affirms Mladen. Patience is key. At Roxanich, no wine is bottled before the necessary time needed for tannins, alcohol, acid and flavours to meld together.

Click here to see Roxanich’s portfolio

Click here for more information about the Istrian Terroir