Drinking in Slovenia
Consider this: the Slovenian national anthem, written by the poet France Prešeren, is called 'A Toast!' The first and last verses should tell you all you need to know about Slovenia's attitude to drink:
The vintage, friends, is over,
And here sweet wine makes, once again,
Sad eyes and hearts recover,
Puts fire in every vein,
Drowns dull care
And summons hope out of despair.
At last to our reunion -
To us the toast! Let it resound,
Since in this gay communion
By thoughts of brotherhood we're bound.
May joyful cheer
From all good hearts now gathered here.
How many national anthems do you know that exhort the populace to have a drink and make things better?
Yes, the demon drink is an important aspect of Slovenian life - wine, obviously, micro-breweries less so (given the dominance of the two largest brewers), plus the hundreds of stills around the country, producing various schnapps, brandies and eaux de vie.
But it is really the wine that takes centre stage, and there is much here to fascinate the most serious oenologist (that's the missus), or satiate the merely interested wine drinker (that's me).
The craft beer industry in Slovenia is starting to make... waves!
'Slovenia is a boutique shop of fine wines not yet discovered by the rest of the world.’ It was this phrase, uttered by fellow wine judge Marin Berovic, that led me to his native country’s capital, Ljubljana, and beyond, for a week of discovery.
- from an excellent article on Slovene wines by David Furer, published in Wine International, February 2005.
From Decanter Magazine:
“Increasingly, Slovenia is being compared , not only to its highflying neighbours , such as Collio in Italy and Styria in Austria, but even to New Zealand.” - Caroline Gilby MW
“Merchants, sommeliers and writers are beginning to sit up and take notice of Slovenia, and it can only be a matter of time before self-respecting wine enthusiasts do the same. Whatever their past, Slovenian wines clearly have an exciting future.” - Andrew Catchpole
"Slovenia’s performance in the Decanter Awards… shows clearly that this is a country to watch." - Stephen Spurrier