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Slovenian Wine

Slovenia is a small European country with a long history of wine production. This is not surprising given its (borderline) Mediterranean location between the northern latitudes of 45 and 47 degrees, latitudes shared by Bordeaux, Burgundy and northern Rhone. The country is also bordered by four of Europe's most long-established wine producing nations; Croatia to the south, Hungary to the east, Austria to the north and Italy to the west.

Despite the cultural and political turmoil that has besieged the Balkan states over the past century, Slovenia has maintained its wine industry, one which has been particularly successful since the country gained independence from former Yugoslavia, in 1991.

The flag of Slovenia

Slovenia is largely landlocked, with only a few miles of coastline atop the Istrian Peninsula, just south of Trieste and the Carso DOC of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The Slovenian climate has a certain maritime tendency in the west, drawn from the northern Adriatic, while there are strong continental influences in the north and east, created by the Alps and Pannonian Basin. The topographical variation means it is hard to categorize Slovenia climatically, and its climate is often given the catch-all descriptor of 'sub-Mediterranean'.

This variation also gives wine producers plenty of choice when it comes to the location of their vineyards. While general climatic patterns are played out across the country there are, within these macro-climates, a range of more subtle variations that contribute to local terroirs.

Slovenia has three key wine regions: Podravje in the east, Primorska in the west and Posavje just south of the center.

Podravje is the engine room of Slovenian wine industry, producing roughly half of the country's national output. Its most densely-planted vineyard areas are located around the eastern town of Maribor, in the valleys of the Pesnica, Drava and Mura rivers.

Primorski is a coastal region, just across the Adriatic from Venice and Fruili. Since 1991, it has shown the greatest increase in quality wine production of all the regions, and continues to demonstrate its vinous potential in national and international wine competitions. Posavje is a less densely planted region, and has not yet developed the reputation that Primorski or Podravje have as quality wine producing regions.

The wine grape varieties grown in Slovenia show an Italian influence in the west, a Germanic influence in the east, and an increasing French 'international' influence in general.

Riesling (both Rhine Riesling and Welschriesling) are found in quantity in Podravje, as are Traminec (Gewurztraminer) and Rizvanec (Muller-Thurgau). Sivi Pinot (Pinot Gris) is also planted quite widely here, as is Beli Pinot (Pinot Blanc) and its local mutated form, Radgonska Ranina. In Primorski, the region's contact with Italy is manifest in the choice of grapes, notably Refosco, Tokaj (Tai) and Rebula (Ribolla). The latter is as successful here as it is in its homeland across the Italian border, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

The red Bordeaux grapes that have been globally successful over the past 50 years are also popular in Slovenia, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and even their ancient stablemate, Carmenere, being used to make quality Primorski reds. Burgundy's key duo Pinot Noir (Modri Pinot) and Chardonnay are also favoured, as are dry whites made from Pinot Gris (Sivi Pinot) and Sauvignon Blanc.

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Here are some wines produced in this region.
Wine Name
Movia Lunar, Primorska, Slovenia Ribolla $38 8754
Pullus Pinot Sivi - Pinot Grigio Dry, Stajerska, Slovenia Pinot Grigio $15 9929
Movia Veliko Belo - Bianco, Primorska, Slovenia N/A $33 11413
Movia Rebula - Ribolla, Primorska, Slovenia Ribolla $25 13102
Aleks Simcic Giocato Pinot Grigio, Slovenia Pinot Grigio $11 13489
Movia Puro Spumante, Primorska, Slovenia N/A $30 13694
Movia Veliko Rdece - Rosso, Primorska, Slovenia Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot $45 20567
Movia Sauvignon, Primorska, Slovenia Sauvignon Blanc $25 22159
Movia Sivi Pinot - Pinot Grigio, Primorska, Slovenia Pinot Grigio $25 22622
Movia Pinot Nero - Modri Pinot, Primorska, Slovenia Pinot Noir $36 22894
Avia Pinot Grigio, Slovenia Pinot Grigio $5 25783
Vinska Klet Goriska Brda Bagueri Merlot, Goriska Brda, Slovenia Merlot $13 26189
Boris Lisjak Cabernet Sauvignon, Kras, Slovenia Cabernet Sauvignon $16 30330
Lutomer Laski Rizling, Ljutomer, Slovenia Welschriesling $6 32470
Verus Vineyards Furmint, Stajerska, Slovenia Furmint $18 32470
Edi Simcic Duet, Goriska Brda, Slovenia N/A $33 32795
Cotar Teran, Kras, Slovenia Refosco $26 34317
Avia Merlot, Slovenia Merlot $5 36035
Movia Puro Rose Spumante, Primorska, Slovenia Pinot Noir $35 36323
Movia Rebula, Primorska, Slovenia Ribolla $23 36941
Kabaj Rebula, Goriska Brda, Slovenia Ribolla $23 39061
Avia Cabernet Sauvignon, Slovenia Cabernet Sauvignon $5 40597
Burja Estate 'Petite Burja' Zelen, Vipava, Slovenia N/A $16 42158
Marjan Simcic Ribolla - Rebula, Goriska Brda, Slovenia Ribolla $16 42158
Marjan Simcic Leonardo Sweet White, Goriska Brda, Slovenia Ribolla $134 42536
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