A Guide to the Wines of Slovenia

While the country of Slovenia itself is relatively young, wine has been produced in this area for thousands of years.

The majority of the area focused on the mass production of lower-quality wines during Yugoslavian rule, although the country is working hard to rehabilitate this image today.

There are a number of high-quality wine producers that are working hard to bring international recognition to the wines of Slovenia, and the majority of winemaking takes place in three regions.

There are a wide variety of different wine grapes and styles produced in Slovenia, and there are even ancient indigenous grape varietals that have survived thousands of years. 

Exploring the Wines of Slovenia

Wine Production in Slovenia

vineyards in slovenia

The history of winemaking in Slovenia dates back thousands of years, and evidence suggests that wine has been produced in the area far before Roman rule. During Roman times, the church controlled the majority of the area’s wine production. 

After World War II, the area that is now Slovenia was a part of the former country Yugoslavia. During this period, the majority of wine produced in Slovenia was done so with a focus on quantity rather than quality. 

Slovenia became independent in the year 1991, making it one of the youngest countries actively involved in the world of wine today. The last several decades have seen a major uptick in terms of quality wine production, and the future looks bright for Slovenian wine. 

While the country of Slovenia is not traditionally thought of as a quality wine-producing region, there are a variety of climate and location factors that make the country perfectly situated for the production of high-quality wine. 

The country is located between 47 and 47 degrees latitude, which is the same area where some of France’s most famous wine regions lie such as Bordeaux and Burgundy.

The maritime climate is another helping factor, as the Mediterranean Sea helps to moderate temperature swings. 

Wine Regions of Slovenia

wine map of slovenia

Podravje

More wine is produced in the Podravje region than anywhere else in Slovenia.

It is the most important wine-producing area in the country, and the primary focus in Podravje is on white wines. Both blends and single varietal white wines are common in this region. 

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular white wine grapes, with German grape varietals like Riesling and Gewürztraminer also thriving in this continental climate.

Pinot Noir is the most popular red wine grape in Podravje, though far less common compared with white wine grapes. 

Ptujska Klet ‘Pullus’ Modri Pinot is one of the most popular bottles of red wine from the Podravje region, as well as one of the most recognizable bottles produced anywhere in Slovenia.

This wine has received an 87-point score from Wine Enthusiasts and is gaining popularity every year. 

Weingut Tement Domaine Ciringa Fosilni Breg Sauvignon Blanc is a single varietal representation of the most popular white wine grape from the Podravje region. It has received multiple scores in the low 90s from a variety of different wine critics. 

Posavje

The Posavje region is the smallest wine-producing area in the country of Slovenia, and contains about 50 percent of the growing area of the larger Podravje region.

A large variety of different wine grapes are produced here, and no single style of wine dominates the region. 

All three variations of the “Pinot family” are grown here, and Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris all thrive in Posavje. A variety of different red and white blends are produced in the region, as well as everything from dry wines to rosé. 

Zajc Cvicek PTP is one of the most unique wines produced in all of Slovenia and is also one of the most popular and recognizable bottles of wine from the Posavje region.

While the majority of the wine world focuses on red and white wines, this producer has perfected the rosé blend. 

Sturm Modri Pinot is a single varietal bottle of Pinot Noir from the Posavje region that offers a straightforward take on one of the world’s most popular wine grapes.

At around $10 per bottle, it is an affordable bottle that fits into the budget of nearly all wine enthusiasts. 

Primorski

While it may not be the largest wine-producing area in Slovenia, the Primorski region has the most historical significance in the country.

The area has a long-established history of wine production, with recent years seeing a major resurgence in Primorski’s wine production. 

While other parts of the country produce a number of internationally recognizable and popular grape varietals, the Primorski region focuses on local indigenous wine grapes that have been grown in the area for hundreds of years. 

Slovenia is the top producer of the Ribolla grape anywhere in the world outside of Italy, and the Primorski region is well known for the production of this seldom recognized wine grape.

Movia Rebula – Ribolla is one of the most popular bottles of Ribolla from the entire Primorski region. 

Guerila Pinela is a unique white wine from the Primorski region that has been increasing in popularity over the past several years.

The Pinela grape is an ancient varietal that originated in Slovenia and is becoming increasingly popular for its striking balance and freshness.

Wine Grapes of Slovenia

wine grapes

No single wine grape dominates the landscape in Slovenian winemaking, and there are a huge variety of different grapes produced in the country today.

There are a handful of grapes that are most prominent and readily available internationally for purchase. 

Ribolla

The Ribolla wine grape originated in Italy and is most well known for the famous wines of the Friuli region. While it is most commonly produced in Italy today, Slovenian is the second largest producer of the grape, accounting for about 15 percent of all Ribolla wine internationally. 

The majority of Ribolla grapes are used for the production of dry white wine, and the wines produced vary from table wine to high-quality bottles with large price tags.

Some of the most famous bottles of wine from Slovenia today are made using this Italian wine grape. 

Kabaj Rebula is one of the most popular bottles of white wine using the Ribolla grape in all of Slovenia. It has received an 89-point score from Wine Enthusiast, making it a fantastic value at an average of $30 per bottle. 

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular white wine grapes in the entire world, and today Slovenia only accounts for about one percent of all Pinot Grigio on the market.

About 10 percent of all wine produced in Slovenia is done using this famous Italian wine grape. 

The dry white wines produced using this grape are known for their light body and relatively high acidity.

Marjan Simcic Pinot Grigio – Sivi Pinot is one of the most famous white wines in all of Slovenia, and is a fantastic representation of quality Pinot Grigio. 

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is an extremely popular red wine grape that originated in the Burgundy region of France.

Today, some of the best red wines in all of Slovenia are made using the Pinot Noir grape, and the country is perfectly suited for the cultivation of this grape. 

Movia Pinot Nero – Modri Pinot is a high-end bottle of red wine that has become extremely popular both domestically and worldwide.

The average price of a bottle is around $40, and Wine Enthusiast has awarded the wine with a 90-point score. 

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine grape in the world and is well known for its full body and supreme drinkability.

This is another French grape that Slovenia is perfectly suited to cultivate, as the country sits at nearly the same latitude as Burgundy, France. 

One of the most recognizable and high-end bottles of Chardonnay from the country of Slovenia is Marjan Simcic ‘Opoka’ Chardonnay.

This is a favorite at some of the top restaurants in Slovenia, and a bottle usually costs around $60. 

Bordeaux Blend Grapes

The Bordeaux blend is made using a combination of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon provides bold flavor and aggressive tannins to the mix, while Merlot is the backbone of the wine, providing body and balance. 

Jakoncic ‘Rdeca Carolina’ is a high-quality Bordeaux blend from Slovenia that has gained international acclaim for its quality and balance.

It received a 95-point score at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2017 and is one of the most highly regarded bottles from Slovenia. 

Wines of Slovenia – Conclusion

Slovenia is a young country that is working hard to rehabilitate its image in the wine world.

Today, there are a number of different Slovenian wine producers that are releasing top-shelf bottles of wine every year, and the country is gaining international recognition for the strides it has made in terms of quality winemaking.

Podravje, Posavje, and Primorski are the three most important wine regions in the country today, and each grows a wide variety of local, French, and German wine grape varietals.

Be sure to leave a comment below if you have been lucky enough to try a glass of Slovenian wine, and let other wine enthusiasts know your thoughts and favorites!

Further Reading