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Wine Regions

Slovenia has three major wine regions: the Primorski or Littoral region, on the Adriatic coast near Italy; the Podravski or Drava Valley region, in the northeast, near Austria; and the Posavski or Sava Valley region, in the south?east.

Part of this region is a continuation of Italy's Collio area, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, and the wines from here are distinctly Italianate in style. Among red wines there is good Merlat, sometimes barrique-aged; and Cabernet Sauvignon. Often excellent whites include ripe, dry and spicy Pinots Gris and Blanc, light, well-structured Chardonnay and often subtle, apricoty Malvasia. The local speciality is the red Refo9k: dark, acidic and an acquired taste.

The country's best wines, and certainly the best whites, come from the Podravski region in the north-east, which includes the Ljutomer sub-region. Here there are grape varieties, and white wine flavours, reminiscent of Germany and Austria at their best: Rulandec (or Pinot Gris), Rhein Riesling, Traminec (or Traminer), very good, pungent Sauvignon Blanc and botrytis-affected dessert wines. Even the Laski Rizling, when drunk locally rather than exported, can be fresh and attractive.

The Ljutomer-Ormoz sub-region has the country's best-quality vineyards and two huge cellars, Ljutomer and Ormoz. Ormoz is the larger and has a distinct edge in quality terms; the wines exported under the Lutomer label come from both wineries and, it should be said, are a poor advertisement for both. The potential of the terroir has yet to be reached. There are a number of good villages in the region: one, Jeruzalem, is supposed to have been founded by Crusaders on their way to fight the Saracens, but who liked the wines too much to leave.

Wines from south?east Slovenia are generally sound but less than exciting.

Wine regions of the world.

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