Slovenians are just too modest to brag about our wine. Despite the fact that world famous connoisseurs keep awarding our wineries, not many people know how great it actually is. In this article, we’re putting 3 of our most awarded wineries in the limelight they deserve.
The oldest wine cellar in Slovenia. Ptuj’s winery markets its wines under 3 separate brands: Pullus, Pinky Chick and Haložan. The cellar has nearly an 800 year long tradition. It has been awarded 5 times in a row as the Best National Producer by the prestigious international AWC Vienna evaluation, the largest officially recognized wine competition in the world.
About 12800 wines from 41 countries enter the competition each year and winning a prize in such fierce competition is definitely something to be proud of.
Ptuj’s winery is also popular at the Decanter World Wine Awards, the largest and most influential wine competition in the world, winning at least 5 awards each year, one of which is always gold. In 2016 they received a gold medal for their extraordinary sweet Pullus Chardonnay of 2011. Its qualities are an attractive aroma of ripe citrus and vanilla pudding along with a mild botrytised note. It’s almost oily texture is backed up by lively acidity and fresh overtones of orange peel, pineapple and grapefruit. A truly brilliant wine is suitable even for the most demanding and selective drinkers.
The winery received a bronze medal for Pullus Sauvignon that convinced the judges with its attractive nose of lime and jasmine flowers. The flavour was praised for being rich in texture with overtones of lemon, oil, cut grass and green apple. This wine has a lean and pleasant finish.
Pullus Pinot Grigio gained a commended Decanter award, signifying that this is definitely one of the wines, you’d want to have in your stock. It was praised for having a delicate character and fragrances of violets with hints of strawberries. The taste is elegant and fresh with a creamy texture.
Santomas wine cellar goes hand in hand with tradition, intertwined with a touch of modernity. The enchanting taste of their wines is a reflection of a true Istrian architecture and a visitor-friendly environment. These wines are made with a devotion to perfectionism and it is no coincidence that wine advocate Robert Parker, the number 1 critic in the world, rated Santomas wines with some amazing scores.
The Grande Cuvée 2006 – 94 of 100 scores, convincing with an almost Bordeaux like quality on both the nose and the palate. Full-bodied, with vibrant acidity and plenty of tannins this wine gives fabulous notes of black currants, white truffle, smoke, earth as well as a hint of chocolate. Definitely a must-try.
Antonius Refošk 2009 – 93 of 100 scores. A wine that is drop dead gorgeous. Deep, decadent and ripe, but still incredibly fresh and clean. When examining it closely you are able to sense hints of chocolate, dark fruits, smoke, truffles and liquorice. It has a distinct minerality on the nose and is definitely a wine to include in your collection.
Grande Cuvée 2009 – 94+ of 100 scores. Parkers favourite in the lineup and a true Rock star on the palate. Truffle, dark fruits, white pepper and full-bodied richness. This wine will surprise you with its stunning purity of fruit and inherent acidity combined with a distinctive freshness. Like all the other Grande Cuvees, this one is also incredibly youthful. According to Consultant Claude Gros, such wines are difficult to taste in their youth due to their high acidity and tannin. Nevertheless, at this point, these are all showing beautifully.
Another superb wine from this estate is the 2008 Grand Cuvee. With lots of acid, tannin and fruit still needing to mesh this one is also still a youngster. It resembles dark fruits, leather, truffle and chocolate. Other notable qualities are a pronounced minerality a full-body and the hallmark purity of fruit that’s common for the estate. Overall this is definitely one of those wines that improve with age.
James Suckling, a leading wine critic, whose reviews are read and respected by fans, collectors and wine traders worldwide, described Slovenia as a country that makes some unique wines. He visited Slovenia’s coastal Primorska region and was particularly impressed by the Simčič winery with it’s biodynamically grown grapes. Many even white wines from this estate must be decanted, because of the natural sediment.
The first one to draw his attention was Rebula Opoka 2011 – A waw in a glass, according to Suckling, who scored it with 96 points. Opoka is a soil very rich in minerals which enables the production of some truly remarkable wines. This one resembles very ripe fruits and has a texture similar to those of red wines. Overall this excellent white wine is full-bodied, rich in character and has very little sulphur. The colour resembles light orange peel. All this makes for a unique wine that should be drunk immediately.
The second on Suckling’s list is Sauvignon Blanc opoka 2013. Another one bearing the exquisite character of the Opoka soil. It’s rich and fruity with hints of apples and lemons. Suckling gave it an honourable 95 points.
Another pearl from the hands of this winemaker is Leonardo 2009. A top recommendation from Steven Spurrier, a British wine expert, who described it as superb and extraordinary, carrying concentration, energy and depth. He gave 93 points to this sophisticated wine, the grapes for which have carefully been picked by hand.
These are 3 most awarded Slovenian wineries. If you’re visiting the country or purchasing Slovenian wines you should definitely keep o on a wine an eye out for these. If you’re looking for a way to try the wines first it’s also a good idea to taste. That way you’ll go through a selection of the finest local wines with an expert who can offer some excellent advice about your further purchases.