Bordering Croatia and Hungary in the east, Podravje is Slovenia’s largest wine region covering some 9,650ha and is famous for its sparkling wines and world class dessert wines. The wines from this region are amongst Slovenia’s most prestigious, with wine being known in this area since prehistoric times. Almost 97% of wine produced here is white wine. Officially two major areas, these are broken down into 7 smaller districts.
Prekmurje wine district has a fair share of Hungarian influence. It is the second smallest Slovenian wine district.
Prekmurje can offer mostly easy-going white blends. Those usually are consumed locally and mix with mineral water. Welschriesling, Riesling, Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Blaufränkisch are the most common grapes in this region.
Štajerska Slovenia is part of the Podravje wine region, with its wines reflecting the Germanic influence this land has often fallen under. As such you’ll find riesling here, under the names Laški rizling and Renski rizling, as well as Traminec (Gewürztraminer), Sauvignon and Šipon (Furmint), a personal favourite of ours. Also keep an eye out for the Ranina, which is only produced in this area.
With approximately 4,400 hectares of cultivated wine growing land and annual production of around 10million litres, this is the smallest of the wine producing regions in Slovenia. The Dolenjska area being home to Cviček; the fresh, light and slightly sour red wine. Cviček has a rich history of more than 200 years and is the wine of choice for most households in the Dolenjska area.
The term “Dolenjska”, applied in geography terms, applies to most of the Posavje growing area. Home to Dolenjsko Belo, believed to have medicinal properties and suggested to alleviate chronic rheumatism and arrest the formation of kidney stones. It is also home to Cviček, the fresh, bitter, refreshing wine that wends its way through the veins of almost all of the locals living in the region. Since 2001 Cviček has been legally protected as a product of “traditional denomination” within Slovenia and the EU.
The last few decades have seen white wines take over what was predominantly a red grape growing area. Climatically mixed, the area experiences both Mediterranean and Pannonian influences. Winds bring the warm, humid air from the Adriatic. Spring arrives early, the summer is very hot and winter delivers generous amounts of snow and cold.
Slightly smaller in area at 8,081ha but producing up to 30% more wine than the Podravje region, Primorje is the most developed of the three Slovenian wine regions with an annual output of over 25million litres. There is a very strong Italian influence in this area; in language, food, culture, architecture and viticulture.
The Goriška Brda region, Slovenia’s “Tuscany”, has the highest yield per hectare of medals and awards of all Slovenian wine growing areas. Bordering Italy, “brda” simply means hills; which, prone to erosion means that most vineyards are terraced. Although not in direct contact with the coast the climate is Mediterranean, with higher rainfall and moderately hot summers.
Stretching some 24kms, the Vipava Valley stretches from Mt Nanos in the east to Nova Gorica in the west. The most notable feature of the region is the “Bora” wind, gusting down from Mt Nanos at speeds exceeding 200km/h. Its unique location gives rise to five micro-regions and as many characteristic wines. Grapes from the Zelen and Pinela variety are used to make crisp white wine which this area specialises in.
Red wines dominate this area with Refošk and Malvazija the most widely cultivated grapes. The humid coastal climate for some, encourages the need to plant grass between the rows, to lower the yield, slow the maturation rate to increase aromas and flavours. Cabernet Sauvignon produced in the Koper area in good years is arguably the best in Slovenia.
“Teran” is the most characteristic wine of this region. With cold windy winters, frequent long droughts and scorching summers, the Kras climate is best described as harsh.