ZARO – Izola, Slovenia

“We are a family that produces wine and olive oil. Our ancestors settled Izola in 1348, which is why we are fully committed to our home land and the sea. It is like a golden thread woven into our life and work. The tradition and the rich heritage is carefully cultivated and it is constantly updated and upgraded with modern approaches, which are driven by advanced global trends in viticulture and enology. Our vineyards and olive groves cover 20 hectares of land on beautiful fertile slopes above Izola, offering breathtaking views of almost the entire coast of Slovenian Istria, the Gulf of Trieste and part of the Italian coast all the way to Grado, whose background is adorned by the majestic peaks of the Slovenian Alps with Triglav and the Italian Dolomites during sunny days. The tradition unites us closely with fishing as well, which is why the wine, olive oil and fish are the most complete portrait of our family that we want to present to our guests. To this end, we have arranged a boat, which sails on the sea and while looking at our vineyards and olive groves from the seaside we offer you freshly caught fish and vintage wines. Our work is for the most part left entirely at the mercy of the weather, so in case nature decides to show her less friendly face, a large part of our work can be presented in our very own Wine bar Manzioli in Manzioli Palace, in Izola.”

Matej Zaro – on life in Izola
View from Pivol vineyard Izola

The Zaro family has got Izola dialed in. Their beautiful vineyards overlooking Izola and the Adriatic. 10 minutes from the winery and 15 minutes from Manzioli their wine bar in Izola. Their vineyards are located across a spectacular south westerly oriented terraced amphitheater. Izola, “the island”, which the appellation takes its name from could one day be imagined as a cru and their vineyards are at the heart of it.

Matej Zaro


2015  Zaro Refošk – Pivol, Izola – Refosk is quite reactive to the conditions under which it is grown and this translates into the wines. Gastronomic quaffing wines that are light, tart and gupable can be fashioned from it, as well as powerful deep late harvest wines with astonishing structure and bracing acidity. The exceptional location of Zaro’s vineyards on Pivol has been prized, at least as long as Venice has stood. Zaro Refosk smells of fresh mountain berries, camphor, pepper, violets, charcuterie and pulverized rocks. It is simultaneously structured and refreshing. The fermentation was spontaneous without temperature control in 2000l Slovenian oak. Maceration was 20 days after which wine was racked back into the 2000l tonne and aged for 1 year. Bottled unfined, unfiltered. Serving Refosk with salt cured ham is almost automatic in Slovenia, but we will open it for almost for lamb, dry aged beef, venison or even tuna due to the salty twang imparted by the vines proximity to the sea. The vineyards were planted in the early 2000’s. The rocky terraces are approximately 200 meters above sea level. This is the optimal position within the special Cru of Pivol. The micro appellation is centered in an amphitheater that over looks Izola and the Adriatic. The stony flysch soils combined with the windy, dry well exposed position are so conducive to organic cultivation that certifying the vineyards was more a matter of paperwork than adjusting farming practices.

Izola from the North

The Zaro family’s 20 hectares of organic vineyards and olive groves are poised above the medieval seaside village of Izola which the appellation takes its name from. Their vineyards are planted at a variety of altitudes. Those younger lower lying vineyards give them simpler more everyday wines. While the steeper more exposed sites producers their more complex wines. The land has been prized since at least the time of the Venetian republic for the production of Refošk based wines.

Refošk

So valuable were the Refošk grapes then that growers planted the lesser Maločrn for harvest workers to eat so as to prevent them from stealing or even tasting the valuable red Refošk . Zaro still cultivate this old inauspicious sort to remember this past. Matej makes a savory rosato from it consumed almost entirely at Manzioli, the Zaro family’s wine bar in the heart of Izola.

Maločrn
Vineyards of Flysch

2016 Zaro Malvazija (macerated) – Pivol, Izola – Whether Italian, Slovenian or Croatian this is the style of Istrian Malvazija that most defines the variety. It is a heady ambrosial dry wine. Sunny and saline. Suited most of all for simple preparations of shellfish doused in olive oil or salt cured ham. Grapes are typically harvested the first half of September. After a strict selection in the vineyard the grapes are destemmed and combined in 2 2000l Slovenian oak tonne. Fermentation is spontaneous without temperature control on the skins. After 30 days wine is racked through the press back into a combination of tonne and used barriques. All wine was with lees for 12 months and finished malolactic fermentation. Unfined, unfiltered. The vineyards were planted in the early 2000’s. The rocky terraces are approximately 200 meters above sea level. This is the optimal position within the special Cru of Pivol. The micro appellation is centered in an amphitheater that over looks Izola and the Adriatic. The stony flysch soils combined with the windy, dry well exposed position are so conducive to organic cultivation that certifying the vineyards was more a matter of paperwork than adjusting farming practices.