Why Havent I Heard About Slovenian Wine Before
Well, its pretty simple really. Slovenia is a very small country with only two million people. Compared to most wine-exporting nations, they just dont produce much. And what they do produce, they drink Slovenia has the fifth highest wine consumption per capita in the world. In fact, we had to convince many of the smaller producers to export at all they have been able to sell all of their wines domestically, with some vintages in extremely high demand.
Many Slovenians have been quite enthusiastic about our efforts to introduce Slovenian premium-quality wines to America, but after expressing this thought have quickly followed with a question: Youre not going to take too much, are you? So the short answer is simply that theyve been keeping these fine wines for themselves until now.
Whatis Orange Wine And How It Is Produced
Orange wine is nothing new. All the white wines in the past were orange. The term orange wine describes a process, a winemaking technique. Orange wines are produced mainly on boutique wine-growing estates. These are the wines with a personal touch because processing of grapes and wine requires plenty of love, manual work and proper aging. Skin-contact wine, skin-fermented wine, macerated white wines, amber wine, or orange wine is a type of wine made from white grape varieties where the grape skins are not removed, and stay in contact with the juice for days, weeks or even months during fermentation process giving the wine an amber or orange color. Fermentation is taking place in an open-topped vessel when a winemaker need to make frequent punchdowns with a long stick in order the carbon dioxide escapes. Winemakers decide on different maceration times depending on the type of grape as well as the wine production philosophy. After fermentation vessels are topped up and sealed to prevent oxidation. The wine stays with its skins for a certain time before it is pressed and racked off the skins and transformed into another vessel where it is aged for many months and years before it is bottled. The wine is bottled without filtering. Skin contact wines may be goden-yellow, pinkish-grey, orange, amber, even ochre.
Where Orange Wines Come From
The process of making orange wine is very old, but the reinvigoration of this ancient wine making process has only resurfaced in the last 25 years. Many modern-day orange winemakers look as far back as 8000 years in Georgia where wines were fermented in large vessels called Qvevri. The orange wine process was popularized in Italy by 2 visionary winemakers from Italian Collio who put macerated white wines back on the table in late 90s. The guru of orange wine Joko Gravner drove a lorry from his estate in Italys Oslavia to Georgia to pick up the giant clay amphorae that are now buried below his cellar. He forged a »new-old« style of wine and link it with winemaking culture in Georgia, a cradle of skin-fermented wine making process.
Nowadays orange wine is produced in almost all traditional wine growing regions of Europe, New Zealand, Australia, USA. But orange wines hot spot can be found in the Collio vineyards in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and wineries across the border in Slovenia .
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Where To Sleep In Brda Region Vipava Valley Karst Region
Dont know where to sleep? Search no more! There are various accommodation options in Brda region, Vipava valley and Karst region. For Brda region have a look here. For Vipava valley check Ajdovina or Vipava. For Karst region find information here.
But if you want to avoid the crowds, you are more than welcome to experience Herbal Rooms Homestay in Soca valley .
A Way To Try Slovenian Wines
This delightful wine bar in the old city part of Llubljana is a great place to try Slovenian wines . The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. Like pretty much the rest of Llubljana, the staff is multilingual You can also get some plates of food–prosciutto and cheeses and olives–which complement the wines nicely.
I had met the owner of Movia in Atlanta and he told me about his wine bar in Ljubljana. It is a block off of the river and convenient to get to. They offer tastings of their wines and of other wineries. Their wines are quite upscale so the tasting is not inexpensive, but it is a good way to learn about Slovenian wines with a knowledgable person who speaks good English. Overall this was a good experience and worth the time and money for people who appreciate wines and want to try new things.
Only a few table available in terrasse but the location is really nice and wine selection is very good. I can’t recommend enough the Fornazaric ‘Rubino’ from the Vipava region ! Only minus: when they brought my glass, the wine was so cold it was difficult to fully enjoyed it. Especially not appropriate for a red wine. They said they just opened and the wine didn’t have time to adjust to temperature. Next time, I’ll ask to be served sth else if this happens again. Other than this, highly recommended!
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Slovenias Wines Are World Renowned And Their Quality Is Second To None
3 Main Wine Regions in Slovenia
Podravska Wine Region
Bordering Croatia and Hungary in the east, Podravje is Slovenias 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 Slovenias most prestigious, with wine being known of in this area since pre-historic times. Almost 97% of wine produced here is white wine. Officially two major areas, these are broken down into 7 smaller districts.
Posavska Wine Region
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 Cviek the fresh, light and slightly sour red wine. Cviek has a rich history of more than 200 years and is the wine of choice for most households in the Dolenjska area.
Primorska Wine Region
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.
More Wine Information:
A Quick Guide To Slovenia Vineyards
Claiming 4 Gold in the Decanter 2012 wine awards, amongst others Slovenia remains ‘the leading force in the region’. Home to the world’s oldest grape vine, wine making in Slovenia existed long before the Romans introduced winemaking to France, Germany and Spain since the time of the Celts and Illyrian tribes. It’s no wonder then that Slovenia has such a rich wine making history and in excess of 28,000 wineries, producing upward of 80 million litres of wine annually from its 22,300 hectares of vineyards. Roughly 75% of that production is taken up with White wine. Almost all of the wine produced in Slovenia is consumed domestically the remainder of which is exported. Quality continues to replace quantity as wine makers enhance their skills as evident by the growing number of award winning wines making their way onto tables the world over. With twenty wine routes to follow, you are bound to find a drop or two to whet your appetite. One drop of particular note is ‘Cviek’. Light red in colour this slightly sour, yet fresh and light wine, has had a long connection to the Dolenjska area. A blend of Modra Frankinja, ametna rnina, Krajevina, Laki Rizling, Rumeni Plavec and Zeleni Silvanec. The steep growing terrain in Slovenia promotes manual harvesting practices over mechanical for most of Slovenia’s vineyards.
There are around 6,000 grape varieties recorded in the world, however at least as many remain unrecorded.
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Wine From Vines Caressed By A Mediterranean Breeze
The wine-growing region of Primorska is renowned for strong, dry wines. The Brda, Vipava, Karst, and Istrian wine roads run across the region. In the Brda Hills, directly on the border with Italy, renowned Slovenian wine-makers produce white wines, such as Rebula, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, and red wines, such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Karst Region is the area where special Slovenian wine is produced Teran. This wine has a very full flavour due to the red Karst soil . In the Slovenian Istria Region, known for the white Malvazija wine, quite a bit of the red Refok wine is also grown. In the Vipava Valley, in addition to the established white and red wines, you can also taste indigenous wines, such as Zelen, Pinela, and Pikolit.
Look An Orange Wine Book
Remember how we mentioned Simon J. Woolf at the beginning of this article? In 2018 he launched a fantastic book about all things orange called Amber Revolution.
The book follows his journey into learning the mysteries of this bizarre-but-wonderful beverage. It also has a great producers guide to know and try. So, if youre into skin contact white wines , this is a must!
Some of the more experimental producers are starting to make natural wines and are experimenting with the orange wine technique, particularly in New York, where the Rkatsiteli grape variety is grown.
Example United States Orange Wine Producers:
- Channing DaughtersMeditazione,Ribolla Gialla and Ramato
- Pax Mahle
- Scholium Project by Abe Schoener
- Shinn Estate VineyardsVeil by Anthony Nappa
- Wind Gap WinesPinot Gris
The more progressive Aussie winemakers have started to make orange wines primarily with Sauvignon Blanc, which works wonders in this style.
Example Australian Orange Wine Producers:
- BK WinesSkin and Bones White
- Born & Raised Wines Sauvignon Blanc
- Lucy Margaux Vineyards
- Patrick Sullivan
In France, there is a region east of Burgundy that produces rich orange-hued wines. The Jura region makes nutty-tart wines called Vin Jaune and Côtes du Jura, which both use the oxidative style of winemaking with a rare grape called Savagnin . While these wines use a slightly different winemaking method , the wines have a similar taste to orange wines.
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Everything You Want To Know About Orange Wine
Orange wine is a bit of a misnomer. It is not a wine made with oranges, nor is it a Mimosa cocktail Orange wine is something entirely different.
What is an Orange Wine?
To make an orange wine, you first take white grapes, mash them up, and then put them in a large vessel . Then, you typically leave the fermenting grapes alone for four days to sometimes over a year with the skins and seeds still attached.
This is a natural process that uses little to no additives, sometimes not even yeast. Because of all this, they taste very different from regular white wines and have a sour taste and nuttiness from oxidation.
Make sure youre sitting downwhen you taste your first orange wine.
Lets thank Simon Woolf over at Decanter, who found out that British wine importer David Harvey coined the term Orange Wine Raeburn Fine Wine . He used it to describe this non-interventionist style of white winemaking.
You may also hear the term Ramato, which means auburn, in Italian, and typically refers to Italian Pinot Grigio made in an orange wine style.
Origin Of Orange Wine
Orange wines are mostly produced in the wine regions of Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia. Wine producers in the mentioned countries all use the old process, which results in orange wine. However, the origin of Orange wine is in Georgia. There the production of orange wines represents a long tradition. The orange wine production goes on in so-called kvevris clay amphoras buried in soil, where the orange wine is kept in contact with grape skins for a long time after fermentation.
Orange wine in Slovenia originated in the valley of the Vipava and Karst wine region. Many Slovenian wine producers located in Slovenian Istria have also started to produce the orange wines. Today, many winemakers produce orange wines in all three of our wine-growing regions . Among the orange pioneers are certainly the Slovenians in Italy Joko Gravner and Stanislav Radikon, Aleks Klinec, and Valter Mlenik from the Vipava valley. There are around 60 orange wine producers in Slovenia at the moment.
Originally Slovenian winemakers started to professionally produce orange wines in the 90s when they gained more traction around the world.
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Slovenian Sparkling Wines Radgonske Gorice
10th April 2019
Radgonsko Kapelski wine-growing region belongs to the Northern wider area of Slovenske Gorice, located on the Slovenian / Austrian border where the vine is an ancient culture and already dates back to Roman times. The history of sparkling wines in Gornja Radgona dates back to the European spring of 1848 when Radgonian Kleinoek had spent two years in Champagne, where he had learned the technology of the sparkling wine manufacturing. After his return to Gornja Radgona, his own production of sparkling wine started. His first sparkling wines were sent to the market in 1852. As a passionate gambler he had lost his property and his company and vineyards were bought by the Swiss-French Family Bouvier. In 1882, the Bouvier Family established a sparkling wine hardwood and continued to produce sparkling wine. Bouviers expanded the existing production and built many cellars in Radgona and its surroundings that are still in use today.
The Bouvier family owned the company until the end of the Second World War when the Agricultural Combinate and later a Joint-Stock Company was formed. It is also interesting to note that Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy the wife of US President John F. Kennedy, derives from this remote family.
In the Radgona Heavens
Glass of Bubbly
Executive editor of news content for the website Please enjoy the articles that we share – We hope you find our love for Champagne & Sparkling Wines both interesting and educational.
What Does It Taste Like
These wines have been described as robust and bold, with honeyed aromas of jackfruit , hazelnut, brazil nut, bruised apple, wood varnish, linseed oil, juniper, sourdough, and dried orange rind.
On the palate, theyre big, dry, and even have tannin like a red wine with a sourness similar to fruit beer. Often Orange wines are so intense that you might want to make sure youre sitting down when you first taste them.
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Where Does It Come From
The process of making Orange wine is ancient, but the reinvigoration of this process has only resurfaced in the last 20 odd years. Many modern-day winemakers look as far back as 5000 years in Caucasus where wines fermented in large subterranean vessels called Qvevri that were originally closed with stones and sealed with beeswax.
Orange wine served traditionally with food at Klinec in Gorika Brda, Slovenia
Orange wines are still rare, but many countries have a growing interest in this natural winemaking style.
Most orange winemaking can be found in northeastern Italy, along the border of Slovenia in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Here you can find orange wines produced with the indigenous grapes of the region, including Sauvignon Vert , Ribolla Gialla, and Pinot Grigio. The orange wine process was popularized in Italy by winemaker Josko Gravner who first attempted an orange wine in 1997.
Example Italian Orange Wine Producers:
- Donati CamilloMalvasia dellEmilia
- Frank CornelissenMunjebel
- Angiolino MauleSassaia
- I Vigneri by Salvo Foti
Example Slovenian Orange Wine Producers:
A Kvevri is an ancient Georgian fermentation vessel that is buried in the ground to control the temperature.
Example Georgian Orange Wine Producers:
- Pheasants Tears
- LagvinariGoruli Mtsvane,Tsolikouri and Tsitska
Does Slovenia Have A Tradition Of Winemaking
Absolutely. Slovenia is home to the oldest continuously producing vine in Europe it is over four hundred years old. Under the various governments that controlled Slovenia over the years, winemaking continued. Certainly, with the influence of winemaking cultures like the Austrians and the French, it is no surprise that Slovenian vineyards have been producing high quality wines for many, many years.
This tradition has been carried on by a new generation of private winemakers that have grown with the new freedom afforded for individual enterprise under the democratic government. These wineries have drawn on the history of Slovenian winemaking and agriculture, and the methods and technology that have been developed in the great wine producing regions of the world to create their own unique styles that rival the best wines found anywhere some wineries have won well over one hundred medals in international competition.
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Something For Every Taste
Each region has its own distinctive flavours. Numerous dishes, wines and produce have their own festivals. Visit some of them and sample a broad variety of local dishes, many of which are famed even beyond Slovenias borders. To give you a taste, well provide a few tips about particularly interesting events, but remember that you can always find something that is particularly suited to your preferences.
Bon Apptit On The Street
If youre too busy to sit in a restaurant or prefer to enjoy a bite on the street, you will find various street food bars in Slovenia where you can indulge in a burek, various hamburgers or something typically Slovenian, such as a Kranjska klobasa sausage. Dont overlook the diverse gastronomic festivals where you can discover all the delicacies of traditional Slovenian cuisine and wonderful flavours from around the world.
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