Have you ever taken a wine tour in Slovenia? If you have, this article might rekindle a few lovely memories. If not, you absolutely must.
What is a wine tour?
In Slovenia, a wine tour could mean several things. A common one of which is strolling from winery to winery until you can no longer stroll and end up spending the rest of the day talking, singing and drinking whine in one of them. But a more cultured version of a wine tour is one that takes you – a local or tourist – into the heart of Slovenia’s winegrowing regions to taste the best wines the country has to offer.
Wine tours usually take a day (or several) and are perfect for people who don’t have time to wander around and go winery-hopping with the locals. It’s basically an exclusive, affordable way of tasting superb wines and local dishes while discovering the Slovenian outdoors.
Why join a wine tour in Slovenia?
A wine tour gives you a first-hand experience of authentic local cuisine and the wine that goes so well with it. You join a bunch of people and travel with them to meet local winemakers, whose winemaking skills have been passed down through generations. They explain the ins and outs of their craft, while an expert sommelier (sometimes the same person) guides you through the wonderful aromas, tones, and undertones of Slovenia’s top vinos.
Today, Slovenia is home to the highest quality wines. Although small in size, it is quite impossible to travel all over the country and taste them all. Hence, a wine tour! Talking to the local boutique producers, you learn an incredible amount of interesting facts (and legends) about Slovenian wine.
Which Slovenian wines should I try?
Short answer: most of them. Longish answer: Riesling, Šipon, Chardonnay, Modra Frankinja, Refošk (refosco), Rebula (Ribolla), Teran, Merlot, Malvasia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vitovska, and Zelen.
To give you a teaser, you simply cannot enter Slovenia without trying its Sauvignons. There’s even an annual festival each May in this wine’s honour. Slovenian Sauvignons have very distinct characters, so trying just one won’t do.
Similar can be said for Chardonnay. Its taste varies depending on the region. The coastal parts of Slovenia, for instance, have their very own uniquely tasting Chardonnays with a pinch of the Mediterranean floating about in there.
Then there’s Riesling. Full of powerful Germanic influence. Known for its fruity aromas and awesome compatibility with a wide range of dishes, this local Vino should be placed right at the top of your tasting list. When aged, Rieslings are prone to develop additional smokey-sweet undertones, which you won’t get anywhere else.
And here comes Zelen. Literally translating to ‘green’ (although it’s white) this amazing variety comes form one of the most picturesque places in Slovenia, the Vipava Valley. Coincidently (not really), it’s also a prime wine tours destination. Zelen has a gentle fruity and floral aroma resembling Mediterranean herbs such as lavender and rosemary, the result of brief maceration and fermentation in wooden barrels. Edgy yet quite typical Slovenian.
The two fantastic reds you’ll certainly end up trying are Rebula and Teran. The first has deep Italian roots, but can be recognized as Slovene by its mineral taste resembling almonds and a tad of acidity. Rebula is a native of Goriška Brda – a gorgeous area dubbed Slovenian Tuscany. The second is a celebrated Karst wine. Thanks to the red soil it grows from, this wine has a magnificent structure, corpulent body and an unmistakable fiery red colour. Apparently, it also comes with superb health benefits. Try it!
There you have it. A tiny teaser as promised. If you’d like to find out more about how deep Slovenia’s love for wine is, you’ll simply have to go there. Trust us, you won’t be the first to fall in love with the country, its people and the wine.
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