Despite its small geographical size, Slovenia’s diverse wine regions and countless micro-climates make the terrain suitable for growing an incredibly wide variety of grapes, which are used to produce and equally wide variety of wines.
Kraški Teran is a dark red wine made from the Refošk grape. Visit the wine district of Kras and you’ll learn the secret is the reddish, iron-rich topsoil, or terra rossa, that sits on a rather soluble limestone bedrock. This soil is the blown off by strong local winds and seems to be further absorbed by the grapes, giving them their distinctive colour and taste. Best drunk within a few years of production, it has long been hailed for its health properties, working to stimulate the appetite and aid the digestion of fatty foods.
Cviček is a fresh, young red wine synonymous with Dolenjska, which is divided from the region of Bizeljsko by the Sava river. Other than Chianti, it is the only officially recognised variety of wine in Europe that is made from a blend of both red and white grapes (roughly a 70-30 split respectively). Since 2001, it’s been legally protected within the EU as a product of traditional denomination, meaning that only wine produced in the Dolenjska region in accordance with official specifications can be labelled as Cviček PTP.
Taking its name from its slight green hue (‘zelen’ is Slovene for green), Zelen is an autochthonous grape variety of the windswept Vipava district in Primorska. Produced since antiquity, Zelen fell out of favour for centuries and was said to be nearly forgotten, however, in recent years it has made a triumphant come back, which was helped in part by the establishment of a consortium to strictly enforce quality controls and market the wine from selected producers in elegantly shaped rounded bottles.