Ipša Wine Bar, Oprtalj, Istria

Ipša Wine Bar, Oprtalj, Istria

Ipša, in their own words, is

…a family estate which has been producing extra virgin olive oil and wine for many years…situated in Ipši, a small hamlet surrounded by olive groves in the vicinity of Oprtalj, a picturesque medieval village in north western Istria…

We’re very lucky to live somewhere so close to somewhere that produces consistently award winning olive oils and wines – and even luckier now, because they have recently opened a wine bar in Oprtalj.

Oprtalj is beautiful – a fortified, walled town, high up in the hills, full of cobbled streets, ancient dwellings, some inhabited, some being renovated and some crumbling and returning to nature. Until recently, it only had two restaurants and a couple of shops, facilities wise, so the addition of a very unpretentious, but exquisitely styled wine bar, is fantastic.

We had friends visiting from Didsbury last week and so decided that this was the perfect opportunity to do our first recce of the newly opened wine bar. Housed in what used to be an antique shop, it has the perfect vantage. The little outdoor terrace looks out onto the rolling Istrian hills and vineyards, across to the shimmering Adriatic. To the side of the terrace, are Istrian stone wall seats, adding a little more space, and looking across to the stunning coral pinky/terracotta medieval loggia. Inside is very contemporary – cool minty green walls, light blond wooden shelving, braced with industrial metal. Artworks featuring Istrian farm tools – original tools, mounted into frames. Bottles of wines and olive oils line the shelving. Handpicked flowers from the fields around decorate small handmade tables. And superb music. It’s actually quite unusual to hear music in Istrian bars, but La Musica della Mafia was just so right in the surroundings. Attention to detail is the key here – everything is on point and has been clearly well thought out. The logo (above) is beautiful, and the information brochure, really well designed. Ticked all of our design boxes 🙂

But, what of the wine, because this is after all why we came here? With a very limited selection – the only wines are from Ipša themselves – it doesn’t take too long to choose. We opted for a bottle of the white Malvasia, which was delicious. Honey coloured and crisp and dry, it was the perfect accompaniment to the late afternoon sunshine. We also opted for a plate of cheeses and cured meats and olives – perfect. In fact, the cheese was so good, we headed off a few days later to the supplier – Latus Dairy – to bag some for ourselves 😉

Wines are a little more expensive here than other places nearby, BUT – and this is a very important but – much, much less expensive than you would pay for a very decent bottle of wine back in the UK. Ours was around the £15 mark, but the quality was very evident. Local house wines are excellent, but sometimes, it’s nice to pay that little bit more and get a little bit more.

All in all, we think the wine bar is a fab addition to Oprtalj – our first visiting friends were hugely impressed! As great as Burton Rd, in West Didsbury is, you can’t beat a great bottle of wine, in hot sunshine, looking out to The Adriatic. And this, just across the road…

This is not a paid or sponsored post – and we paid for everything when we visited. We just wanted to do a tiny bit to help spread the word about a fantastic new venture, run by lovely people in a beautiful town 🙂