At Meneghetti Wine Hotel, Guests Drink In Harmony With Istrian Nature

In a destination as unique as Istrian Croatia, Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery doesn’t waste a second when it comes to immersing guests into their philosophy: quality of life in harmony with nature. Encircled by Malvazija vineyards–one of Croatia’s oldest indigenous red grape varieties–as well as Teran, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay vines, Meneghetti literally offers guests a taste of their surrounds in this seaside microclimate.

“The property is a hundred-year-old villa, while the wine is new and each of them reflects the time when they were made,” Miroslav Plišo, owner of the Meneghetti estate, told Forbes. Meneghetti produces premium labels, Meneghetti Red and Meneghetti White, as well as their limited Valle d’Istria selection, that includes the Meneghetti Classic, Meneghetti Classic Rosé sparkling wine, and Meneghetti Brandy XO; all exclusively available at the estate.

“Despite their visual aspect, the modern and the old have here been combined on a much deeper level into one product named Meneghetti,” adds Plišo, noting that the brand originated in the municipality of Bale-Valle in 2002.

Throughout the years, Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery has taken pride in working locally, all within the distinct seaside estate. Plišo explained that Meneghetti began operations with the Slovenian winemaker, Movia, but today, relies on talent within zero kilometers: “We have our own local winemaker working in cooperation with the Italian oenologist, Walter Filiputti, who comes from the closest part of Italy, Collio.”

Guests can experience the best of Meneghetti’s wines during a VIP Meneghetti Red Vertical Tasting, which includes a tasting of their house label throughout the years, starting in 2009, or can pair them poolside, with lunch or dinner throughout their stay. For oenophiles seeking more variety during a longer stay, Plišo ensures “they are a wine hotel first and foremost,” referencing their curated selection of more than 100 of the finest wines found throughout the globe that include Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995 (France) , Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2007 (Italy) and Weingut A. Christmann Idig Riesling 2016 (Germany).

“Just like with our wine production, we are respecting the region but we are not limiting ourselves to it; we like to go beyond the limits of our frontiers looking for the best,” explains Plišo. “If the hotel wants to be one of the best, then it has to be open to more than just our wines.”

Below, Plišo explains more about Meneghetti’s wine products available to guests, how brandy came to be in their portfolio and how the estate continues to develop their wine programming for the international consumer.

Jillian Dara: What was the first wine to be made at Meneghetti?

Miroslav Pliso: The first harvest was in 2002 when our sparkling wine was made with Istrian Malvazija and Chardonnay. We still have a few bottles in our cellar of that first harvest. Malvazija is typical to the region, just like Teran, but Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have been introduced a long time ago, as well and with a lot of success.

Dara: Why did you think it was so important to offer this type of amenity for your guests?

Pliso: It was a very logical sequence in our development. The old villa situated on the estate in Istria calls for vineyards and olive groves so we planted them. The hotel followed and the three products became inseparable; they tell the same story of Istria in the most natural way. The guests appreciate it highly because here they can experience Istria with all their senses.

Dara: How did the idea of ​​creating a unique label of brandy come about? Why did you decide to extend your line to include brandy?

Pliso: By chance. That year the wine was not as good as we wanted it to be so we changed the direction and made an excellent brandy out of it instead. The same principle of patience in the cellar for over 15 years brought us to this fine product that we now have. The label came naturally, as always representing the connection to our location.

Dara: Aside from the wine and brandy, how have the spirits, bar and wine offerings at the resort changed in the last decade?

Pliso: The combination of the hotel, restaurant, winery, vineyards a la maison, and olive groves is so well rounded that the guest can’t wait to come into that circle. With each improvement of any of those segments, the circle grows bigger and the demand grows stronger. Furthermore, our guests, just like many people that look after their health, consume wine more than any other bar offering, especially spirits.

Dara: Do you see a shift in guest’s demand when it comes to your wine offerings?

Pliso: absolutely. Besides our 10 excellent labels that can be paired with any dish, from soups to desserts, we have decided to offer another hundred labels from the most important wine regions of the world. We really want to be a wine hotel first of all, and only then Meneghetti Wine Hotel. At the same time, we want to show that we can also play with the big boys among the winemakers – and we can score.

Dara: What are some wine experiences you have on property?

Pliso: We offer simple and easy wine tastings for the ones that are passing by, winery tours for the ones that want to know more, harvesting possibilities for the ones that would like to experience the process from the other side and premium experiences in our VIP tasting room or restaurant, pairing the best dishes with our premium wine labels.

Dara: What can guest’s expect in the VIP tasting room?

Pliso: The VIP tasting room offers an exclusive and private space for you to enter the world of our best wine label – Meneghetti Red, across all its editions that we produced during more than a decade.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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