slovenia & croatia

Adriatic wines

It is at the end of a cloudy morning that we cross the border between Italy and Slovenia. The orange and yellow hills follow one another as far as the eye can see and make us discover the famous forests that cover 60% of the country.

In the region of Brda, we are amazed by the abundance of nature, in contrast to the din of the highly industrialised northern Italy. This wine-growing region is named after the hill, just like its Italian neighbour, the "Collio" region. Despite the similarity of soils, climates and grape varieties in these two regions, the Slovenian part remains far less known worldwide, and this inequity is reflected in the price of bottles. On this very mineral soil grows the local white grape variety Rebula, to which we have to admit that our French taste buds are not yet very accustomed.

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On the women's side, although Slovenia is a country open to the world, parity is far from being achieved in the wine sector. There are very few female winemakers - 3 in the whole country - and women are traditionally in charge of the communication and sales sectors.

On the other hand, we are impressed by the Slovenians' ecological consciousness. In this country of the former Yugoslavia, the inhabitants have maintained a great closeness to nature. Everyone grows their own fruit and vegetables, even in the city, and the question of a productivist viticulture with the intensive use of pesticides has never arisen.

We then head down to the native land of Teran, a wine that owes its fame to the iron-rich red soil "Terra Rossa", characteristic of this region of southern Slovenia.

What a warm welcome! In spite of the language barrier, the winegrowers give us a lesson in good manners over a few good bottles of wine and grilled chestnuts, and the evening ends in laughter.

The next morning, we abandon our little Betty for a few hours to board an authentic GDR Traban convertible. At full speed through the narrow forest roads, through the small stone villages, our eyes are filled with nostalgia for this beautiful country. We drive to Villa Fabiani, an architectural masterpiece that sublimates the bucolic landscape and the 101 varieties of roses that grow there, and where we are introduced to the Picolit wine.

The next morning, we abandon our little Betty for a few hours to board an authentic GDR Traban convertible. At full speed through the narrow forest roads, through the small stone villages, our eyes are filled with nostalgia for this beautiful country. We drive to Villa Fabiani, an architectural masterpiece that sublimates the bucolic landscape and the 101 varieties of roses that grow there, and where we are introduced to the Picolit wine.

While setting out again, we put Betty to the test by taking small laces steep of mountain, but the landscape is worth it! In front of our amazed eyes, lakes, forests burned by the setting sun, summits, valleys, then finally the sea with its islands are revealed.

Spotting a small way going down in a creek, we decide to rush there without imagining that we would find ourselves blocked all in bottom at a Croatian couple with our exhausted Betty. The next morning, after a coffee and a glass of home-made shnaps, they help us to go up Betty with the force of the arms, and we take again the road of the south.

After another blue and sunny day going down the coast, we reach Split for an express passage through its timeless Roman ruins, where it seems that the corona virus does not exist.

A few hours on the road south of Split, Drama happens. The Betty, that our recent adventures have shaken, drops us in the middle of the road: problem of transmission.

Then 5 Croatians appear, looking friendly at first,  and seek very quickly to trick us. A group of 4 young French girls seems like an easy prey, but we don't let them get us, and we cope with the situation on our own despite the strong language barrier.

La Betty au garage, Marija, a winegrower living at the end of the peninsula, welcomes us for a few days. Facing the sun, along vertiginous slopes, her vines overlook the sea and create a spectacular landscape. In this region of Croatia, the typical grape variety is Plavac Mali, powerful and with fairly cooked aromas.

On a ferry taking us to the island of Hvar at 4.45 am, our still sleeping eyes do not prevent us from enjoying the sunrise over the Adriatic Sea.

On this large island, the tourist port contrasts with the rural inland. Hitch-hiking, we cross the island to reach the vineyards, where we arrive unannounced.  There we are well welcomed and we taste again excellent local grape varieties.

In spite of all these beautiful discoveries we do not forget the sword of Damocles  hanging over our heads.: will we see Betty again safe and sound, and when will we be able to leave at last?

 

The enigmatic answers of the mechanic, who does not speak English, don't prevent us from heading to the garage first thing the next day.
 

What a joy to find Betty (almost) in full shape, and to be finally able to take again the way of the Southern Balkans, towards countries more and more mysterious for us.

Hvala in se vidimo !

women & wine

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Valeria Simčič

In the Brda region, cultivating Italian and Slovenian lands, the Simcic family are proud of their Opoka terroir, which provides a very mineral soil and brings out all the richness of Rebula. 

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Katija Kabaj

Katija takes over the farm from her parents with her French winemaker husband. Together they create the Kabaj Morel brand and develop wine production as well as tourism. She is thus in charge of the gîte and the restaurant which successfully mixes French and Slovenian gastronomy. 

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Anita Mavrič

Anita accompanies her husband in the expansion of the family estate in the Brda region. As a member of Women & Wine, she is full of energy and always ready for a new adventure. 

Petra Rutar

Petra is the founder of the Women & Wine of Slovenia association. She brings together all wine enthusiasts and promotes the wine of their country through all types of events. 

Mojca Stoka

In the Karst region, Mojca accompanies her husband who is a fifth generation winemaker. Their wine, especially the Teran, perfectly expresses the terroir of the Terra Rossa and the passionate couple likes to venture into new experiences such as the region's stone barrels or even the restoration of the Picolit of Villa Fabiani. 

Ana & Katarina Peršurić

The two sisters of the Misal estate continue the work of their father, a scientist and wine enthusiast, and become pioneers in the production of sparkling wine in Croatia. Their perpetual quest for excellence encourages them to automate their process and improve the quality of their wines. 

Marija Mrgudic

Marija continues the family tradition at the Bura estate. Her exceptional terroirs, notably Dingač, allow her to sublimate the Plavac Mali grape variety in her powerful wines. Always smiling, Marija is also very committed to the promotion of Croatian wine and to the place of women in viticulture.  

A special thanks to Jo Ahearne, Master of Wine and winemaker for his valuable advice and contacts. 

Also a big thank you to the winegrowers from the island of Hvar, Dubokovic and Vina Ventus for receiving us unexpectedly and presenting their work with passion. 

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