Drinking in Slovenia

Slovenian Wines

For such a small country, Slovenia is blessed with an astonishing range of wines, of equally astonishing quality. In some ways, this is largely due to a hangover (!) of its socialist past, when wine growers were limited to no more than 9 hectares of land.

Furthermore, many of them had no choice but to sell their grapes to local cooperatives, some of which were 'responsible' for the original plonk, much loved in British corner shops during the seventies.

Wine tours

Probably one of the most exciting wine nations in the world, Slovenia has transformed itself from the socialist plonk producer of yore (the seventies, that is) to the font of cutting edge wine making that it is today.

Within its main wine regions you'll find deeply traditional techniques, machismo maceration and everything in between.

Each of our suggested wine tours covers most types of wine - it's the accommodation and cuisine that changes...

Sampling Slovenia's wines on a budget

Bjana cellar

You'll spend ten nights in family-owned hotels and tourist farms, taking in two completely different wine regions and the capital, Ljubljana.

Included will be five traditional dinners, but more importantly, six wine tastings, where you'll have the opportunity to sample some of the most exciting wines in Europe. Read more...

A fine cuvée of wines, cuisine and comfort

Dveri Pax

You'll be staying ten nights in some of our most popular accommodation in Goriška Brda, Ljubljana and Štajerska. Taking in some of Slovenia's finest scenery on the way, you'll dine on three traditional meals, plus two tasting menus at Hiša Franko and Tramšek (including local transfers - don't want you drink-driving on a wine road!)

Oh, and six tastings at some fine wineries, of course. Read more...

If Bacchus went on holiday, he'd probably do this

Alma Vista and Edi Simčič

This is a twelve night trip for four of you, as the first stay will be at Alma Vista, which accommodates two couples in the finest style. While taking in the wines, cuisine and sights of Goriška Brda, you'll make a foray into Italy to sample the delights of the Michelin-starred restaurant at La Subida.

Then it's across to Croatian Istria and the quite wonderful San Rocco, where you'll dine on truffles, sample fine wines and luxuriate in the hotel's excellent spa facilities.

Zemono

A complete change of scene again takes you north into Slovenia's Idrijan hills and the relaxed elegance that is Kendov Dvorec, where they have a fine kitchen and a wine cellar to match. From here you'll delve into the Vipava valley to taste more wines, and dine at probably Slovenia's most famous restaurant, Zemono.

Finally, you'll head off east to Prekmurje and the Jeruzalem hills, staying at the quirky-but-luxury Sun House, dining at more fine restaurants and tasting the best of Slovenia's whites and sparkles.

Phew. Read more...

Slovenian wine: a brief overview

Individual growers, making wines for themselves and the local populace, needed to ensure that all their grapes were not in one basket, as it were - so they developed many varieties on comparatively small plots of land. This in turn lead to much experimentation and ever-finer control over specific varieties.

In recent decades, there has been an almost magical change, whereby the producers have used their more focused approach to develop a truly artisan wine making culture. Because of it's high quality production in small quantities (vineyards cover around 20,000 hectares), Slovenia is often compared to New Zealand... and who would have thought of quaffing kiwi juice just twenty years ago?

Consequently, the Slovene export market in fine wines has been slow to develop, due to a combination of low expectations in foreign markets and low volumes in production of the best wines.

Not so slovenly...

But now the vines they are a'changing. The quality and sophistication of Slovenian wines are being recognised around the world. Although not freely available in off licences and supermarkets yet, many restaurateurs are getting 'Slovenly', including Heston Blumenthal and Alain Ducasse. Even better, since the 2007 Decanter World Wine Awards, Slovenia has been trashing (our description) the competition from Central and Eastern Europe... and were still doing the same in 2012.

Also see what Jancis Robinson had to say in 2008.

The best wines are produced by the small winegrowers like Marjan Simčič, Movia’s Aleš Kristančič, Edi Simčič, Stojan Ščurek, Aljoša Jakončič, Stanko Čurin, and Primož Lavrenčič, to name a very few.

They produce a number of different grape varieties, some well known and some very interesting native ones, like Šipon and Rebula, while more recognisable varieties are lent a sophisticated twist: for instance, Pinot Grigio never tasted so good.

Among international red varieties Pinot Noir and Merlot are worth trying, Podravje and Posavje (southeast, bordering Croatia) regions focus mostly on Blaufraenkisch, but the most distinctive red wine is Teran from the Kras sub-region of Primorska, made from a local version of Refosco (Refošk), grown in terra rosa. Best drunk as an accompaniment to homemade pršut (prosciutto).

The limited production (often only a few hundred to a couple thousand bottles) means most quality wine is priced around (and a bit over) 10 - 15 euros.

Hotels for Wine


Boutique
Food
Luxury
Romantic
Rustic
Self Catering
Spa
Wine

A beautiful house built into the Brda vinyards by the Simčič family. Facilities include swimming pool, terrace, modern kitchen, sauna and whirlpool and plenty of accommodation for one or two couples to spread out.

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Budget
Boutique
Family
Food
Romantic
Rustic
Wine

Our first vineyard hotel - and we'll never forget our first meeting with the owner, Zlatko Mavrič, who's wit, warmth and utter bloody-mindedness has ensured that Belica would always be at the forefront of the tourist industry in Goriška Brda... and many have followed his lead since.

A lovely place, a lovely man - and lovely wines.

Read more...

Budget
Boutique
Family
Food
Romantic
Rustic
Wine

One of the later winemakers of Goriška Brda to follow Belica's lead, Bjana is a producer of some fine wines and although their accommodation is modest in extent, it is sumptuous indeed.

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Activities
Boutique
Family
Food
Luxury
Mountains
Romantic
Weddings
Wine

You may be wondering why we are recommending a hotel that is nowhere near any vineyards - it's even in the middle of an alpine valley!

Ah - but you don't have to be surrounded by vines to be surrounded by wines.

You can read elsewhere about Ana's cuisine, but the star in this instance is the wine cellar of her partner, Valter Kramer.

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Budget
Boutique
Family
Food
Romantic
Wine

Situated in the picturesque village of Šmartno, Hiša Marica is the offspring of Belica in Medana.

There is also a shop where you can buy local produce.

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Budget
Family
Rustic
Wine

Probably the warmest welcome you could ever imagine awaits you in the village of Kog.

The family will make you want to stay for weeks, plying you with their own wines, before sending you off on tastings to the local wineries.

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Boutique
Culture
Family
Food
Luxury
Romantic
Weddings
Wine

 

Like Hiša Franko, Kendov Dvorec is not in 'wine country' - but it does have a very fine wine cellar, and the maitre d' is very knowledgeable about local wines. Especially those from the Vipava Valley, where he can arrange a trip for you and some tastings of some exquisite vintages.

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Boutique
Family
Food
Luxury
Romantic
Wine

The only reason that this is our only Michelin starred hotel restaurant is that the tyre people haven't bothered to roll into Slovenia yet - and La Subida is across the border in Italy.

Not just fabulous wines here to go with the fabulous food, but this is also one of the most respected vinegar makers in Europe.

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Boutique
Family
Food
Luxury
Romantic
Wine

The newest hotel in Goriška Brda (as of 2014, that is), San Martin has the best views over most of the vineyards of the entire region.

Great dining can be had here, to be washed down with the contents of an excellent cellar.

They will also arrange tastings for you at many of the local wineries.

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Budget
Family
Food
Rustic
Wine

One of our favourite families in all of Slovenia - Tamara runs the house and Janko makes the wines - make this modest little pension such a lovely place to stay.

You can use their natural pool in the summer months too!

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