Slovenia has basically three main wine producing centers: Primorska, Posavje and Podravje. On our 2013 Taste of Slovenia tour we tasted wines mainly from the Primorska Region, which includes those of the Vipava Valley, Karst, Goriska Brda and Slovenian Istria, which are located in the western part of Slovenia nearer to the Adriatic Sea. These wines are primarily reds, with some characteristic whites, such as Malvazia. But the area of Slovenia that has excelled in white wines for centuries, in former times the jewel of Austria Hungary, is the Podravje Region in the Northeast bordering on Croatia, Hungary and Austria. This area is part of the ancient Carpathian basin, also known as the Pannonian Plain, where an old ancient seabed provides fertile soils ideal for the production of rich, aromatic white wines.
The best wine growing areas of this region are Ljutomer and Ormoz, which lie in the valley between the Drava and Mura Rivers with the climate, soils, and topography perfectly
suited to viticulture. Many small vintners bottle their wines here but the local cooperatives produce and bottle the majority of the area’s wine. The village of Jeruzalem lies in the midst of the region where legend has it that it got its name from some Crusaders who were passing through on their way to the Holy Land. They noted that the wine was good, the girls pretty and the people friendly, so decided that they had found their Jerusalem and went no further. The region is home to many white varieties as well as the famous “Sipon,” which some experts believe is indigenous to the area.
But it was the Romans who planted the first vineyards specifically in the area of Jeruzalem and recognized the region as “Vinea nobilis districtis” (Noble Wine District). Nearby was their largest eastern fortress, Poetovio, now called Ptuj, which will be a destination on upcoming tours.
P&F wineries, a cooperative of five brands, including Puklavec and Friends, Gomila, Ljutomercan, Ela Hills, Jeruzalem-Ormoz and Nebo, continue to perform very successfully at domestic and international competitions for wine quality.
At the WSWA 2013 (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of American) competition in Orlando, Florida, five registered wines, sauvignon, muscat, sauvignon-gray pinot blend and muscat sparkling wine of Puklavec & Friends (P&F), and Sauvignon Blanc from Gomila winery, won gold medals. In the 2013 DWWA (Decanter World Wine Awards) with a record number of 14, 362 entries from 52 countries, Gomila wines won two bronze medals. They also won a silver medal for their sparkling wine, “Muscat Ottonel Demi Sec” at Effervescents de Monde, a competition of the best sparkling wines in the world. Other wine awards for this group can be found here. The labels on the Gomilla wines give the precise picking date and are marked “Slovenian handpicked.” The wines are on sale throughout Europe, in China, Canada and US at Mdegardeyn@pfwineries.com
TASTE OF SLOVENIA UPCOMING TOURS Tastings of these lovely whites will be featured in the new food and wine tour, Taste ofSlovenia II, a tour of Eastern and Northeastern Slovenia, Dolenjsko, and perhaps a bit of Hungary, planned for 2015. During my planning visit to Slovenia this September through October 2013 I will be working very hard tasting the many wines in this region.
I hope to taste the “Gomila Exceptional Chardonnay,“ 2011, described by Decanter as an: Intense nose of stone fruit and citrus. Grapefruit, apricot and apple on the palate. Lovely freshness.
Or as the Cambridgewineblooger.com recommends, the “Exclusive Savignon Blanc”with: an aromatic smoky nose and lively, focused crisp acidity with varietal gooseberry and elderflower and a piercing finish.