Between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea lies the unique territory of Goriška Brda, Slovenia. This is one of Slovenia’s seven wine regions. Even though this country is approximately the size of New Jersey we thought we would concentrate on this one wine region. Starting south in coastal Piran and moving north to the capitol Ljubijana we then headed west to the wine territory of Goriška Brda. We tasted many delicious Slovenian wines on the way. Most of the wines we drank never make it out of their country. Many of the wineries are family owned and operated with such small production that the total output is sold to restaurants and wine stores in Slovenia and there is no capacity for export.
We did Brda’s small wine route: Gonjače, Smartno, Zali Breg, Medana, Vipolže, Dolnje Cerova, Hum and Podsabotin. What a mouthful! Within such a small area we visited a few wineries and as in Italy stayed at Agritourismo’s , although they are called B & B’s in Slovenia. This area is also known for their high quality red wines.
It not only is the wine route but it is most picturesque. There are castles, churches and the medieval city of Šmartno. To try many of Brda wines you can go to the Dubrovno castle. Here is a wine cellar that is the largest co-op cellar in Slovenia highlighting most all the area’s wines. The last inhabitant of the castle was Conte Silverio de Baguer and hence the fabulous red wine made by Silverio de Bagueri.
We always make note of what is open and when, so it was quite a surprise when we arrived at the castle wine cellar and discovered they were closed – for inventory! Totally disappointed, we were fortunate the castle restaurant was open so after walking to the nearest small town and back for some exercise we had lunch at the castle. There are many fine, well marked walking trails originating at this site that bring you through small, interesting towns. When we came back to our car, surprise the wine cellar had opened. It was open because the owner of the winery Cviček from the Dolenjska region by the Sava River had arrived with his American relatives. Talk about good luck! We fit right in and tasted quite a few more Slovenian wines. We did not try Cviček and we might be happy about that as we found out it is a bit on the sour side. It is also one of the only recognized wines other than Chianti that is allowed by its countries laws to be made with both red and white grapes, at a 70/30 ratio 30 being white.
We are truly inspired by this small country’s high standards of quality. It seemed like every waiter was eager to discuss and inform us about their wines. Passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated to the best expression of what nature delivers; Slovenian winemakers are delivering the goods!!