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Love thy neighbour?

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

We love Villa Oliva for so many reasons: the traditional construction of istrian stone & reclaimed local wood, the panoramic views of rolling hills & the Adriatic on the horizon, the budding olive grove, the fabulous wine cellar, the fresh sea breeze, the pure tranquility of the place ... I could go on & on ... However, it also has one extraordinary benefit that is not immediately obvious to the visitor, but can not be ignored, & that is the location ...

Giorgio Clai (founder) & Dimitri Brecevic (manager) - Clai Winery
Giorgio, Dimitri and young Brombonero, Clai

No, I am not talking about the natural beauty of the secluded hilltop location, which speaks for itself in the heart of Green Istria, but the strategic location next to the award-winning Clai Winery, arguably one of the top wineries in Istria, if not Croatia as a whole.

Ivana's warm welcome awaits us just a short 5 minute stroll from the villa, as does an impressive selection of wines & high quality grappa. The passion is evident when you meet Giorgio Clai & his manager Dimitri & take a tour of the facility. Their tastes are different - which was evident as we sampled a young Brombonero two-ways (pre and post maceration) in the production area - but clearly highly complimentary.

Orange Ottocento Bijeli

Certified organic, Clai's focus is on high quality, low yield production of mainly indigenous varietals, with all wines sharing the common theme of being skin-contact wines, whites, or should I say oranges, included! The wines are complex and best enjoyed with food, which provides an excellent excuse to relish the generous Istrian tasting platter of cheeses, cured meats & of course olives, from which they produce their own Terre Bianche oil.

Before long a waft hits us from across the tasting room, and Ivana appears with an offering of freshly baked cookies to accompany the next phase. They proved to be the perfect sweet treat to complement the exceptional Tasel, which has to be my favourite, and the oh so smooth Komovica Reserva grappa. Like an angel peeing on your tongue ...

Love thy neighbour ... oh, if we must ...

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