Slovenia has been recognized as one of the top wine-growing countries in the world as there are plenty of opportunities to taste and toast with an amazing glass of wine. In this article, we introduce you to the top Slovenian wines.
It’s time for us to once again say ‘Na zdravje!’ to wine lovers the world over with the release of our latest English-language Slovenian wine guide, covering all three of the country’s distinct wine regions (and their nine constituent districts). From the earthy reds of Mediterranean Primorska, to the sweet whites of Podravje in the northeast to the limitless supply of refreshing cviček of Posavje in the southeast, this map is intended to give only a brief overview of Slovenia’s wine industry, one of the oldest in the world and yet still, for many, an unexplored scene.
Explore the top Slovenian wine regions here.
Despite its small geographical size, Slovenia’s diverse wine regions and countlessmicro-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 blown off by strong 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.
Teran is one of the most famous Slovenian wines. It originates in the Slovenian Karst region, where there is plenty of red soil.
Cvicek is a fresh, young red wine synonymous with Dolenjska, which is divided from the district 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 Cvicek PTP.
Cviček has made the wine-growing of Dolenjska famous across Europe and has claimed a spot as a Slovenian wine ambassador next to Karst Teran.
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.
The variety of Blue Franconian is widely grown in two wine-growing regions (Podravje and Posavje). The wine is usually bluish-red in colour, which depends on the production technology. Especially young wine has a distinct fruit flavour, while with age it acquires a velvety and complex structure. The wine usually has mean tannin values and proper acidity. It is characterised by a high content of antioxidants and increases the beneficial high lipoprotein density that protects the heart. It also originates from Slovenia.
A single vine of Žametovka growing in the city of Maribor is certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest living vine still producing fruit in the world, at over 400 years of age. Žametna Črnina makes a simple, light red wine of pure colour, which is suitable for mixing (combining) with other varieties, and it’s rarely found on its own.
Žametovka enhances the character of other types of wines by its colour and acidity and a very nice primary aroma (raspberry like). In the Official Assortment of Slovenia, it is recommended to be grown in the Posavje and Podravje wine regions.
The Vitovska Grganja is an old white wine variety widely found on the Karst, as weell as in the Vipava Valley. Vitovska Grganja, which grows at the typical houses of the Karst region and in the vineyards too, gives evidence of the wine-growing tradition and the significance of this variety. It is a refreshing wine that can be drunk alone, not just with meals, and has a mild taste of almonds. Vitovska wine should be cooled to 12°C and served with light dishes such as pasta, fish, seafood, white meat and vegetables.
Wine from this variety is of a yellowish colour. On the nose, it has a distinctive, gentle and varietal fruity and flowery aroma. The flavour is full, very pleasant and harmonious. The wine’s best traits are its freshness and drinkability as the variety normally contains higher amounts of acids. Pinela is best drunk young and fresh, while appropriate maturing brings out its noble, riper aromas. The alcohol content is of medium level.
The colour of Pikolit wine is golden yellow, which has an intense aromatic bouquet consisting of peach, over-ripe apricots, dried fruit and honey. Its flavour ranks it among high extract, rich and harmonious wines. If the wine is made from dried grapes, the colour tones will lean towards brownish.
Is a typical representative of Haloze district, a remote area in east Štajerska, where wine has been made since the Roman times. This is a versatile white grape variety, normally used to make wines with slightly higher acidity level, medium to light bodied, a floral aroma and a straw yellow colour. They can either be drunk pure, as summer wines or used for different blends. Though challenging, some local winemakers have even been using Ranfol to make sparkling wine, which is unique to this particular area.
A white local, or autochthonous wine grape, grown almost exclusively in Slovenia’s Vipava Valley, and probably the sparsest of the local varieties. More generally, Klarnica wine is dry, greenish-yellow in colour with strong floral notes, especially acacia, on the bouquet. It can be nutty and honeyed on the palate, light to medium-bodied with higher levels of acidity. It’s matured in both stainless steel and oak; some of the latter I’ve seen are even made with aging of up to a decade in mind.
A variety of strong grapes that gives a beautifully full and fresh flavour. It’s a key ingredient of Sparkling wines, produced by the award-winning Istenič winery. These grapes are native to the Bizeljsko-Sremič region. They give a green-yellow coloured wine, with high acidity and low alcohol content. Winegrowers rarely bottle it pure and usually use it for different blends, including the one to make Cviček.
Over the couple decades many of Slovenia’s winemakers – from the largest cooperatives to the smallest family-run operations – have expanded, renovated and modernized their facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and gorgeous tasting facilities, and have been duly rewarded for their efforts with a plethora of prestigious awards and increasing recognition from the international media. TOP winemakers in Slovenia have added accommodation and other services, which makes visiting them easier than ever before. Add a special touch to your stay and join the TOP Wine Tours in Slovenia, which will make your visit truly memorable.
The best Rebula wine in Slovenia comes from Goriška Brda, which gives this top Slovenian wine its true Mediterranean touch or flavor if you will. Rebula, unlike Cviček and Teran, does not officially come from Slovenia.
Besides Teran, Refošk or Refosco is the most known variety of red wines, that come from the Slovenian wine region Primorska or Karst.
Modra Frankinja is also known as Blaufränkisch is one of the top Slovenian Wines from the Štajerska region, which is a part of the Podravje wine region.
Žametna Črnina is a well-known red Slovenian wine grape variety. Žametna Črnina is one of the oldest domesticated grape varieties in Slovenia, not to mention it is also one of the top Slovenian wines, that come from the oldest vineyards in Slovenia.
Slovenian Sparkling wines from the best Slovenian vineyards are just what you need for your next celebration.
It’s time for us to once again say ‘Na zdravje!’ to wine lovers from all over the world.
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