Piquentum

Originally built in 1928, then converted into a war shelter in the early 90s, and now a winery. Piquentum is the classic tale of a son to a Frenchwoman and an Istrian father who grows native Croatian grapes in an old Mussolini era concrete water tank.

Born in Jurançon in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Dimitri Brečević studied oenology in France and then worked at Domaine de Chevalier. He also worked at harvests in Australia, New Zealand, Bordeaux and Burgundy. In 2004, he decided to invest himself in his father’s homeland of Istria near the town of Buzet.

The name “Piquentum” is the ancient Roman word for the beautiful hilltop town of Buzet. Dimitri’s arrival falls right in line with the region's long history of Romans, Goths, Franks and Bavarians. The Republic of Venice even had a solid 500+ year run. And although briefly a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War One, it was once again a Province of Italy until 1947 when Yugoslavia was created and Italy ceded the territory.

Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic. Croatia’s westernmost region, it borders both Italy and Slovenia. With only about 1750 square miles, over 280 miles are coastline with 35% covered with oak and pine forests. Indigenous grapes like Malvazija Istarska and Teran coupled with the mineral rich white and red Karst soils all seem to echo the salinity of this pristine coastline and the pungency of its truffle-ridden interior.

On the northern edge of Adriatic, the climate in the interior of Istria can actually be very cold when strong winds known as the “Bura” descend from the north. Even closer to harvest in September, the nights remain cold and help maintain acidity and aroma despite experiencing dry and hot days typical of the Mediterranean. With currently 4.5 ha of vineyards: Malvasia 60%, Teran 20%, Refosco 20%, Dimitri’s goal is to keep competition high, work the land by hand, and get roots digging deeper and deeper into the ferrous rich red and flysch rich white soils that define Istrian Terroir.