Wine Border Regions – Italy & Slovenia (Goriška Brda)
26th November 2020
A border that I have travelled on a few occasions and close by regions that I very much admire both for wine / wine tourism and lifestyle, is the one that separates Italy and Slovenia – A divide of some 232 km in length. Though Italy has a much wider choice and fan base for wines that it produces up and down the country, Slovenia also packs a mighty punch when it comes to wineries to be explored and enjoyed.
You rarely see Slovenian wines represented in the UK. It was sometime before I saw a Slovenian sparkling wine during my early tasting days at events in London. It was only a fortuitous meeting during a wine judging competition in Romania that I met a man who’s passion to share the delights of Slovenia wines with me opened my eyes to the incredible quality being produced. I have since visited Slovenia with Marin Berovic more than once to visit wineries across the country.
“Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine, with an area of 702,000 hectares (1,730,000 acres) under vineyard cultivation, and contributing a 2013–2017 annual average of 48.3 million hl of wine. In 2018 Italy accounted for 19 percent of global production, ahead of France (17 percent) and Spain (15 percent).” source Wikipedia
When we think of Italy then names like Prosecco, Barolo, Chianti, Franciacorta, Le Marche, Etna and much more comes to mind. When I ask you about Slovenia, then I am sure you will be admitting to knowing of no regions neither styles of wines – What about grapes from Slovenia, is it the same blank expression you sharing with me?
Slovenia use many grape varieties that we will all be familiar with even if you are not a wine expert such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. You can also find lesser known yet highly produced grapes of Rebula, Refosco, Zelen, Ranfol and many more (52 in total).
Like Italy and many other famous wine countries, the country of Slovenia is split into several grape growing regions. There are three main regions and these divide to a total of nine regions:
Podravska Wine Region
Posavska Wine Region
- Bizeljsko Sremič
- Bela Krajina
Primorska Wine Region
- Vipavska Dolina
- Slovenska Istra
- Goriška Brda
Primorska Wine Region – Goriška Brda
For this article, I wanted to take a look at some of the wineries of the smaller wine region of Goriška Brda. This region is close to the border of Italy and the city of Udine. One of the nine regions that grow grapes in Slovenia and one which is packed full of amazing wineries producing award winning sparkling wines.
The region for me is very rustic, my visits to this area take me back to the rural area of France I once lived in, Burgundy (Brionnais). The rich countryside and picturesque hilly landscape of Goriška Brda make it a wonderful place to be both growing grapes and also welcoming wine tourism visits. A cluster of many wineries enables visitors to sample many delights of the region with a wealth of restaurants, hotels, farms, markets and more to delight wine and gastronomy lovers.
There are many websites dedicated to welcoming and enlightening you to the region of Goriška Brda along with listing fine places to stay, eat at and visit -The website of brda.si as an example.
I decided to pick out a few award winning wineries located in this region and share with you some photos of those I have visited along with tasting notes from one each of their labels that I feel really captures their personality. Most of the wineries that I have enjoyed a tasting at in Goriška Brda I see a pattern of strong and bold wines with expressive flavours and aromas that raises not only an eyebrow or two, but also our respect for the wines of Slovenia. Red, rosé and white sparklers can be enjoyed.
Medot – Location (Google Maps):
A winery that has a great tradition in standards and yet still holding youthfulness and innovation. At the time of my visit, much building works were being carried out for both expansion of production and also so to welcome visitors. Despite needing wellies to visit much of what was to be (building site) there was still a delightful tasting room offering wonderful views across the valley, vineyards and hilltop villages. The wines are for me a bold character and expressive in ways that will delight may traditional method sparkling wine lovers. It edges towards Champagne character and especially Meunier characters. They are certainly open to visits from the public and booking can be made for the likes of tastings and culinary trips.
The family also own several hotel and restaurants and we were treated to a wonderful evening with Simon Simčič at his boutique hotel Gredič in the village of Ceglo – Here is discovered how well their sparkling wine paired with fine foods!
Visit their website today to find out more: www.medot-wines.com/dozivite-medot
Bjana – Location (Google Maps):
Another winery that I had never heard of until the day our car crunched the gravel outside the winery is Bjana and it is another that I am delighted to the know secret of.
Marin Berovic, who accompanied me, pre-warned me that I would be pleasantly surprised by the quality of their wines. Once again traditional method delights with some fine vintages – Their 2014 Cuvée Prestige Extra Brut won, what is probably the toughest to take home, the ‘Classic & Elegant‘ Trophy at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2020 where they were up against many fine Champagne examples.
Visit their website today to find out more: www.bjana.si/en/en-01a.html
Silveri – Location (Google Maps):
If you are after the finest of gastronomy delights with palate refreshing sparkling wines then the mantle for this important role is taken by Silveri (The house was founded in 2001 by Gašparin family) – For me the most amazing food and wine experience to be enjoyed whilst in Slovenia.
The family produce a fine selection of sparkling wines which importantly can be enjoyed at their Pikol Restaurant. The father, Boris Gašparin, who is highly regarded in the circle of sommeliers, globally and includes roles such as secretary to Slovenian Sommelier Association. His sons Taras and Tadej are current winemakers. The gem, for me, is their Pikol Lake Village Glamping and Restaurant resort which offers you amazing cuisine along with spectacular overnight accommodation.
“I have been lucky enough to enjoy an afternoon of dining at Pikol Restaurant where Boris prepared some of the fish dishes I have had – Add this to this wines then you have that match made in heaven”
Visit their website today to find out more: www.silveri.si
Sosolic – Location (Google Maps):
I am yet to visit this winery though when I saw ‘Virus 7’ wine to taste on my desk it got me thinking for sure during this current climate of ‘Covid-19’ (I hope you are reading this in years to come and this is a long forgotten and certainly in the past pandemic).
“In Goriška Brda, lies small village of Zali Breg, famous for its excellent wines, excellent food and good people. In Sosolič farm knowledge and love for the vine goes from generation to generation, as evidenced by their excellent wines.” source Vinoteka Sodček
Čarga | Since 1767 – Location (Google Maps):
A fine lady winemaker and a very memorable location – Čarga | Since 1767 remains fresh in my memory of visits during my tour in 2018.
“The Čarga farm is a family farm that cultivates 15 ha of vineyards. We take care of the development and progress of our wine house and thus carefully control the path of grapes to top quality wine. We also market our entire crop independently both at home and abroad.“
They have a wide selection of wines including fantastic sparkling examples from red to those with gold flakes. Their location is magnificent with a hilltop hamlet steeped in history.
Visit their website today to find out more: www.carga.si/carga.html
Wine tasting notes:
Silveri Blanc de Blancs – Gold Medal Winners Gastronomic: “Soft rounded citrus aromas. Add to this hints of pastry and yellow floral. Delicate flavours showing sweeter zesty citrus with a touch of flaky pastry.”
Medot Cuvée Brut – Gold Medal Winner Classic & Elegant “Creamy caramel, honey butter, soft spices, dried apricot and pastry on the nose. Plenty of deep flavours wit dry yellow fruits, a touch of orange peel, soft spices and much more.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.