Pictures: 1) Štekar wines, Goriška Brda, Slovenia. 2) Žorž wines, Vipava Valley, Slovenia. 3) Kabola wines, Istria, Croatia. 4) Matuško wines, Pelješac, Croatia. 5) Madirazza wines, Pelješac, Croatia.
Discover with us some of the best wine regions in Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina where you can enjoy the contrasting landscapes, cultures and flavours of each country.
Slovenia has three defined wine regions which are located in the south-west of the country (Primorje), the south-east (Posavje) and the north-east (Podravje). These three regions are further divided into sub-regions and here is a summary of the sub-regions featured in our wine & sightseeing tours.
Goriška Brda (our so called ‘Tuscany of Slovenia’), the Vipava Valley and the Karst region are all located in the Primorje (Primorska) wine region of Slovenia and adjacent to the border with Italy. You will be able to sample a good range of red and white wines, from grape varieties you will be familiar with such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Grigot, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon. Furthermore, the region offers lesser known grape varieties for your discovery and enjoyment, including Zelen, Rebula, Pinela & Malvasia (whites) and Barbera, Teran & Refošk (reds).
The scenery of this region is absolutely stunning, characterised by rolling hills, cypress trees, medieval hill top villages and lush green vineyards – all sandwiched between the dramatic mountain peaks of the Julian Alps and the Italian Dolomites to the north, and the azure blue Adriatic sea to the south – providing contrasting backdrops to the fairytale landscape of this beautiful wine region. The area is also renowned for its fantastic cuisine where you can enjoy a good variety of traditional Slovene dishes with hints of Italian influences.
The Istrian wine hills of the Slovenian Adriatic are also located in the Primorje wine region of Slovenia, where the Italian influences on the wine, food and culture are again characteristic of the area. This region is located directly on the Adriatic coastline, nestled between Trieste to the north and the Croatian border to the south, historically being part of the Venetian Republic and Italy itself. The ‘terroir’ of the region, with its rocky landscape, chalky soil, infamous ‘burja’ wind and a dry climate lends itself perfectly to the most popular Refošk (Refosco) and Malvasia grape varieties. Other popular varieties in this region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Grigot, Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The Podravje wine region of Slovenia, is located in the region of Štajerska, in the north-east of the country nearby to the borders with Austria, Hungary and Croatia. This region is best known for its outstanding white wines and sparkling wines including Riesling, Muscat Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon and the lesser known Traminec, Šipon (Furmint) and Kerner varieties. However, the region also produces some more than respectable smooth reds including Pinot Noir, Blaufrankisch, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
This region is also blessed with some beautiful contrasting scenery, from the highest points of the gentle rolling Jeruzalem wine hills down to the fertile Drava river valley below. Reminiscent of parts of Austria and Germany, there are several picture postcard medieval towns in the area, including Ptuj which is reputed be Slovenia’s oldest town. Magnificent ancient castles dating back to Hapsburg times or the Austro-Hungarian era also provide an interesting addition to the landscape. The food specialities of this region are most influenced by a combination of Slavic and Germanic traditions, offering an interesting contrast to the south western and coastal regions of Slovenia.
Croatia has several wine regions located inland and in its coastal regions, from the north-east of the country all the way down to the south-west. Our wine tours feature three of the best wine regions of Croatia; Istria, the Pelješac peninsula and the Konavlje Valley (near Dubrovnik).
Located just over the border from neighbouring Slovenia, Istria (Istra) is best known for its red Teran and white Malvazija varieties. Other popular Istrian grape varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Grigot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The landscape is green with gentle rolling hills and forested valleys. Ancient hilltop villages such as Motovun or Bale and delightful Venetian style coastal towns such as Rovinj offer attractive locations to overnight.
Arguably the most prestigious wine region of Croatia, the Pelješac peninsula in Dalmatia produces some of its finest wines. The best known local and indigenous grape varieties are the red Plavac Mali (also known as Dingač) and the white Pošip. The wine making tradition in this region can be traced all the way back to Greek civilisation. The vineyards are situated in lush green valleys and perched on the hillsides directly above the Adriatic sea where stunning views across to the nearby islands of Korčula and Mljet can be enjoyed.
Further down the coastline and sandwiched between Dubrovnik and Croatia’s borders with Bosnia & Herzegovona and Montenegro is located the Konavlje Valley. Next to the internationally known varietis such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon numerous local and autochtonous types are also cultivated, such as Plavac Mali, Kadarun, Dalmatinka and Dubrovnik Malvasija.
A visit to Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina or Serbia also provides an opportunity to make some new wine discoveries. The most popular local wines in Montenegro include the red Vranac and the white Krstač varieties and some of the most popular producers tend to be located in the vicinity of the capital city Podgorica and the shores of Skadar Lake. In Bosnia & Herzegovina, the fertile valleys close by to Mostar and Trebinje in the south of the country are home to a number of producers where the red Blatina and the white Žilavka varieties can be sampled. In Serbia, a variety of international and indigenous grape varieties can be found, such as the unusual Prokupac red variety, with several distinct wine regions located to the north and south of Belgrade.
For more information about our custom made wine & sightseeing tours, please refer to the main menu above.