Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Wines in Slovenia

1. Important milestones

Slovenia is an ancient land of wine. Countless archaelogical findings bear witness to this:
Viticulture and winemaking date back to before the appearance of the Romans, when the land was populated by Celts and Illyrians. Decorations on the famous village amphora (found at Vače, the geographical centre of Slovenia) from the 6th century BCE show festivities involving wine. The Celts are also associated with the invention of barrels, still an essential part of winemaking equipment even today.

2. Slovenia wine profile

Basic profile

- total area under wine – 24.568 ha
- annual wine production – average vield 100 milion liters
- annual consumption per capita – 40 liters
- 3 wine-growing region and 14 wine-growing district
- 45 acceped and recommended varieties
- 66 % of vineyards on slopes
- 70% of wines achieve quality wine status

Wine region and districts

- Podravje 9.813 hectares
- Maribor 1.830 hectares
- Radgona-Kapela 843 hectares
- Ljutomer-Ormož 1.085 hectares
- Haloze 1.502 hectares
- Srednje Slovenske Gorice 735 hectares
- Prekmurje 1.410 hectares
- Šmarje-Virštanj 1.508 hectares

- Posavje 7.700 hectares
- Bizeljsko-Sremič 1.700 hectares
- Dolenjska 4.870 hectares
- Bela Krajina 1.130 hectares

- Primorska 7.055 hectares
- Goriška Brda 1.980 hectares
- Vipava Valley 2.100 hectares
- Karst 575 hectares
- Koper 2.400 hectares

Slovenija total 24.568 hectares

4. Wine regions

Podravje Wine Region
Podravje has the largest area under wine, but is ranked second behind Primorska in terms of total production.This region comprises the north-eastern part of Slovenia. It typically produces white, high-quality wines, varietals in particular.

Posavje Wine Region
From the immediate vicinity of Novo mesto all the way to Croatia`s northern border, there is a region that has its own style of vinegrowing, winemaking and aging. Feature of this region is the large number of zidanice and traditional cellars, whitch decorate the local landscape in a most wonderful manner.

Primorska Wine Region
The primorska region borders Italy, encompassing Goriška Brda and the Koper coast, the Karst and Slovenian Istria, and the Vipava Valley in the north. Here the vines find a generous, warm, sunny climate, and the region is home to more than one-third of slovenia`s vineyards.

5. Varieties

White varieties
- Pinot Blanc
- Chardonnay
- Tocai Friulano
- Kerling
- Kraljevina
- Riesling Italico
- Malvasia
- Muscat Ottonel
- Pikolit
- Pinela
- Ranfol
- Bouvier
- Ribolla
- Rheinriesling
- Muscat Blanc
- Rumeni Plavec
- Pinot Gris
- Mosler
- Traminer
- Zelen
- Sylvaner Gruner
- Chasselas

Red varieties
- Barbera
- Cabarnet franc
- Cabarnet Sauvignon
- Blaufraenkisch
- Gamay
- Merlot
- Pinot Noir
- Porugiesser Black
- Refosco
- Saint Laurent
- Žametna Črnina

6. Indigenous Slovenian wines
White varieties

Synonyms: Konigstraube (Germany), Imbrina (Croatia)
Origin: Croatia, Slovenia
Tradition: one of the rare domestic varieties still planted after the arival of phylloxera; tradtionally found in all three wine districts of the Posavje region.
Quality: table wine, although at sites with marly soils good icewine is made in Bela Krajina
Distribution: Most planted in Bela Krajina and Dolenjska, but also long found in Bizeljsko and Šmarje-Virštanj

Synonyms: Pinella (Italy)
Origin: Indigenous to Vipava
Tradition: One of the oldest Primorska varieties, classified among the very highest-quality varieties by Vertovc in 1845; recently its circle of admirers has grown
Quality: quality and high-quality
Distribution: mostly in Vipava, barely planted anywhere else

Synonyms: Štajerska belina (Slovenia), Weisser Heuisch (Germany)
Origin: Slovenia, Croatia
Tradition: ranfol and its clones have been the back bone of white blends in Štajerska for centuries
Quality: typical table wine
Distribution: found in Haloze where it is allowed variety, and Dolenjska, where it has once again been listed among the used varieties

Synonyms: Bouvierjeva Ranina (Slovenia), Radgonska Ranina (Slovenia), Bouviertraube (Germany), Special (local)
Origin: Slovenia
Tradition: discovered in 1900 in his vineyard at Hercegovščak by Swiss-French winemaker and vine expert, Clotar Bouvier, who collected and grafted the best examples; some believe it to be a cross between Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner
Quality: quality to high-quality
Distribution: found in all districts with a continental climatic influence, but few varietal examples exist

Rumeni Plavec
Synonyms: Debeli Klešec (Slovenia), Plavec Žuti (Croatia), Plavez Gelber (Germany)
Origin: Bizeljsko in Slovenia, Zagorje in Croatia
Tradition: Traditionally found in Posavje, Bizeljsko in particular
Quality: table but in recent times winemakers who restrict the yield per vine and delay the harvest until late autumn have had enviable results; a variety with potential
Distribution: most common in Bizeljsko

Synonyms: Dišava (Slovenia)
Origin: indigenous to Vipava
Tradition: zelen is traditional in the upper Vipava Valley
Quality: with low yields the very highest quality is attained, which is what the variety deserves
Distribution: there is very little zelen, and most is found in its homeland of Vipava

Red varieties

Synonyms: Teran (Slovenia), Teran Noir (France), Kraški Teran (Slovenia), Mondeuse (France)
Origin: Karst, Slovenian and Croatian Istria
Tradition: a variety indigenus to Istria and the Karst, where for thousands of years it has producet a wine as dark as rabbit’s blood, and written about by Roman historian Pliny
Quality: both refošk and teran are quality wines
Distribution: refošk is found in Istria, kraški teran in the Karst

Žametna Črnina
Synonyms: Žametovka (Slovenia), Modra Kavčina (Croatia), Koelner Blauer (Germany)
Origin: Slovenia
Tradition: a red variety that has made its home in the continental areas of Slovenia for centuries, it is now being supplanted in Podravje by noble white varieties; the oldest noble vine in the world, classified as an official site of outstanding natural beauty and listed in the Guinness Book of Records, is a Žametna Črnina in Maribor
Quality: table
Distribution: most heavily planted in Dolenjska, Bizeljsko, Bela Krajina and Šmarje-Virštanj

7. Traditional slovenian blends

Cviček is the traditional and dominant wine of Dolenjska. It is a blend of red and white varieties with a low alcohol content. It is a light, almost tannin-free, dry, easy-drinking, pink-coloured wine with hints of ruby and purple. The high level of lactic acid and other nutritional properties make it appreciated by diabetics and other people with illnesses.

Kraški Teran
The first special thing about teran is that it is made from refošk grapes, which in Koper and elsewhere in Slovenian and Croatian Istria produce a totally diffrent wine. The wine is deep, dark red colour with lower alchohol and higher acidity than refošk. It is dry and reather refreshing. Kraški Teran is also a healthy wine thanks to its rich acid content.

Sources and literature
- Ivo Kuljaj – Trte in vina na Slovenskem (vines and wines in Slovenia)
- http://www.matkurja.com/projects/wine/wines/

Klemen Modic, Andraž Knavs, Alen Gigović, Miha Vesel, Klemen Simonič, G2.A


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