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Between vines and olive trees with a sea view

 

A wine cellar in the heart of Istria

The estate got its name Santomas from something A. Julien, a travel writer from the times of Napoleon, wrote about how the best wines around Koper are called Santomas in the book Topographie de tous les vignobles from 1832.

The Glavina family has been present at the farm in Šmarje, a small village on the edge of Istria , since the 19th century. The fifth generation is currently engaged in wine-growing. They have 24 hectares of vineyards and five hectares of olive trees which foster olive oil production in Istria. The Glavina family’s motto is: Semper memoriam refacit tempum – The memory renews the time. They are well aware of their roots, the place of origin, and family heritage. All this, together with dedicated work and considerable knowledge, is reflected in their wine bottles.

The Santomas winery produces between 80,000 and 100,000 wine bottles annually. Most of their vineyards are covered with local varieties, Refosco and Istrian Malvasia. Sixty per cent of production are youthful premium wines characterised by clearly expressed variety, fruitiness, and the fact that they do not age in wooden containers. Malvasia, Refosco, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rosé are available. Syrah is a new variety, which produces excellent results in sunny Istria.

Forty per cent of production are red wines from selected positions with low yield and aged in new barrique barrels made from French wood. Mezzo forte is a blend of Refosco, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. More discerning wine connoisseurs will undoubtedly be impressed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Refošk from the prestigious Antonius collection named after the owner Ludvik Glavina’s grandfather Antonius. These are full, concentrated, and complex wines with a perfect ageing potential, which age in new French barriques for two years. Grand Cuvée Certeze is Santomas’ best wine. It only contains Refosco, a local variety, and up to five per cent of Cabernet Sauvignon, depending on the vintage. Grand Cuvée is a wine that may be placed next to the most prestigious red wines from Bordeaux and the Napa Valley in California.

Ludvik Glavina
Ludvik Glavina
Photo: Jaka Ivančič, Santomas Archive

Refosco – from the average to Michelin-starred restaurants

A variety from the Istrian peninsula, the northernmost part of the Mediterranean Sea.

In Istria, Refosco has been traditionally deemed a simple wine high in acidity and tannins. Wine for everyday use. But Santomas wanted to demonstrate what the local variety can actually do. The results speak for themselves. Refosco from Santomas appeared on the wine lists of world-famous restaurants, including restaurants run by culinary gurus, Alain Ducasse and Peter Kelly. The quality of wines was not overlooked in the assessment of Robert Parker, a famous wine critic, who gave all the red wines at least 90 points, and even 94+ to Grand Cuvée Certeze. Santomas does not hide the ambition to produce wine that will get the highest score, i.e. 100 Parker Points.

Time stops at the Santomas estate. A gentle breeze from the sea, olive trees, vines, and the sun. Would you profess eternal love among olive trees? Would you get married in the heart of Istria? You can experience your fairy-tale wedding at the Santomas estate. They offer three types of wine tastings for wine lovers, which include a visit to the cellar and a tasting of wines, paired with Istrian prosciutto, local cheeses, and home-made bread. Another of the specialities is house cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil produced from hand-picked olives of the indigenous Istrian variety of Istrian White (90 per cent) and Tuscan Leccino (10 per cent).

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