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Name of wine: Festigia Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva 2009

Winery: Agrolaguna d.d.

Region: Porec, Istra

Type of wine: dry red wine

Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcohol (Vol.%): 15.1%

Retail price: 120 HRK / 15.80€

Grade: 91/100


For the past six years Porec’s Agrolaguna has been impressing with its persistence and the reliability of its quality, and they’ve rounded off their selection in the best way possible with this ambitious label. They’ve made their first collector-quality wine, which is as high as you can reach in this job. An excellent wine which is stylistically at the crossroads of the old and the new world, concentration and elegance, massiveness and freshness, fruit and spices, heat and juiciness. The skillful hands of the oenological  trio of Gavranic, Latal and Budinski have found the formula for their own expression and have created a very complex wine they can truly be proud of.


The beginning wasn’t promising. A high capacity winery, anonymous outside Istria and known locally only for the cheap label of the Porec Malvasia of questionable quality and the all-inclusive service at the hotel where they don’t ask about quality, just the price, because wine is included in the price the guests pay. But things have changed drastically in the few years since Agrokor purchased the winery things.


My favorite change since then is the new quality of the base, that is, cheapest label, under the name Laguna. I am convinced the credibility of every winery should be judged on their cheapest, base wine, not small series of exclusive bottles which they put their most ambitious efforts into. Laguna’s Malvazija and Teran are just that – nice, good supermarket wines of reliable quality. Festigia, envisioned for the demanding restaurant scene, functions very well at the other end of the spectrum. The price to quality ratio is very good and, again, reliable. The class they offer is high. Particularly with reds, and with the 2009 harvest, which was without a doubt their best to date, they won hearts across Croatia.


The final step, entering the arena of exclusive world wines, should be with the unfortunately named Riserva. Unfortunate because in Italy that stands for wines that are aged, in barrel and bottle, a total of 3 years. Which is the case with this Cabernet Sauvignon, but this is certainly not the case for the year old Malvasia. So guests, particularly Italians, whose national expression is used here, are misled when it comes to the Malvasia.


The poor choice of names for the line of wines aside, Festigioa Cabernet Sauvignon Riserva 2009 is the first wine from this winery which is in the category of collector’s wines. And at a good price, too, because international ones, and even most domestics of such a quality, are sold for upwards of 30€. In addition to its high quality, the wine has earned the title of a “collector’s wine” for its ability to age in a bottle long term. Aging can in this case last up to fifteen years. If you decide to consume the wine immediately be sure to decant it and allow it to open in a decanter for an hour or two so the still-dominant notes of spicy oak give way to the beauty and abundance of the other flavors.


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