Jure Gašperšič  -  December 14, 2016

A Brief History of Slovenian Wine

400 BC
The history of winemaking in the current territory of Slovenia begins with the Celts. Wine is kept in oak barrels, wrapped with iron strips.

100 AD
The Romans arrive, and Celtic winemaking methods disappear. The Romans expand wine production using their own methods of archiving and maturing wine in pottery, which you can find today preserved in Slovenian museum.

The Pagan tribes of Slavs who conquer Slovenia in the 6th century do not appreciate the importance of wine. During this period, wine production decreases.

800 AD through the Middle Ages
From the 9th century on, wine begins to gain importance in Slovenia with Christianization. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church owned the majority of vineyards. Therefore, it was primarily priests and monks who had the knowledge of winemaking. Some monasteries still produce small amounts of wine today!

Authorities order the first rights and duties of wine-makers.

The first manuals for work in vineyards and wine cellars are issued in Slovenia.

The first agricultural schools are established in Maribor, Vipava and Novo Mesto, where a significant part of education is dedicated to winemaking.

The appearance of the vine louse destroys vineyards all over Europe, delaying development of Slovenian wine. In the area of Slovenia, half of the vineyards are ruined.

Winemaking, along with the increased popularity of wines, gradually increases.

Legislation is passed regarding the protection of Slovenian wines, leading wine-makers to begin producing higher quality wines.

1990s to Today
Extremely good climate conditions, along with the dedication and efforts of wine-makers, leads to Slovenian wines reaching and remaining at the top worldwide.

Internationally Recognized Wines

The fact that family businesses do the winemaking in Slovenian means they have relatively small production. However, their excellent wines only continue to gain recognition and prestige.

Without a doubt, Slovenian wines can compete with their counterparts further west in Europe in terms of quality and fullness of aroma and flavor. Some may argue that Slovenian wines are even better. Wine connoisseurs rank numerous Slovenian wine-makers at the top of the world, while their products are offered in the most prestigious restaurants worldwide.

Slovenian Wine Varieties

There are many Slovenian wine varieties that are internationally recognized, made from both white and red varieties of grapes.

White wines you will typically taste in Slovenia include Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Sivi and Beli pinot. These wines are dry wines, while Traminec, Renski Rizling, and Rumeni Muškat are semi-dry and semi-sweet wines.

Red wines are also very popular among the Slovenian wine lovers, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Modra Frankinja, and Modri Pinot.

Due to limited production, these and other Slovenian wines cannot conquer the largest global markets; however, they can conquer the most demanding ones. You will be easily convinced of this during a wine tasting in Slovenia.

My Recommendations

I have so many favorites when it comes to Slovenian wine, but here are just few at the top of my list.

White: 2003 Rojac Malvazija
Grapes: Malvazija
Taste: Rich, complex taste that goes well with the flavor and a long, subsistent aftertaste.

Red: 2006 Angel Batič
Grapes: 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Taste: Angel Batič is a wonderful harmony of three grape varieties. Merlot provides the wine with its structure, Cabernet Sauvignon with the aroma, while the Cabernet Franc closes the perfect circle with its elegance.

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