Heaven for Wine Lovers

Thanks to a near-perfect location for wine and olive oil production, where ideal climate, distinct soil and passion mix to produce some seriously incredible wines, Croatian and Slovenian vintages are among the finest in Europe and the olive oils, well those stand up to the best too.

Tradition and Wines Fit for Royalty

With his typical bluntness and with pleasure-tinged exasperation, Anthony Bourdain asked, “why, oh why, is there so much amazing wine in this country?”.

Croatia boasts a wine tradition that dates back more than 2,500 years, yielding around 130 varieties and thousands of winemakers nowadays. From Istria in the north, Dalmatia in the south and Slavonia out east, each region offers its own unique wines.

Istria, named one of the top 10 wine destinations in the world in 2015, is an Epicurean delight known for its truffles, olive oil and wine. The namesake Istrian Malvasia is a bright and fruity variety and the indigenous Teran is a lively red, a treat with a plate of pršut and Istrian cheese.

For full-bodied reds, Dalmatia’sPelješac peninsula beckons – the epicenter of oysters and wine. The area is home to Plavac Mali, one of Croatia’s most popular reds and also the birthplace of one of America’s most popular wines, Zinfandel.

In Slavonia, three rivers create a microclimate that’s exceptional for winemaking. Ilok in the far east corner of Croatia is where you’ll find historic wines with cellars dating back to the 15th century and a Traminer that was served at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

Sustainability, Natural Wine and the World’s Oldest Vine

Given the proximity, it’s no surprise that the artisan wines in Slovenia are every bit as remarkable. All three wine-growing regions produce award-winning wines so passing through each is a must.

Podravje, a patchwork of vineyards that lies between the Alps and the Pannonian Plain is where you’ll find some of the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc on earth. Best part? Getting here is much easier than flying to New Zealand or South Africa.

The charm of Posavje, Slovenia’s smallest wine-growing region, is undeniable. The Dolenjska district is home to 7,500 winemakers, most of which are family-owned micro-vineyards and you’re welcome to hop from one rustic cottage to the next to experience it firsthand.

Primorska is probably Slovenia’s most popular wine region. Nestled between the Adriatic and the Alps, the Brda district in particular is a feast for the senses and where you’ll find Rebula, one of Slovenia’s native wines from the 14th century, a crisp white variety with a gentle bouquet. For an utterly intoxicating way to see the countryside and try some of Slovenian’s top wines, jump aboard the Vipava Valley Wine Train.

The wine tradition goes much further back, some 2,500 years or so and in Ptuj, Slovenia’s oldest town, you can retrace part of that history. On the bank of the Drava River, you’ll find the oldest wine cellar in Slovenia which dates back to 1239.

Speaking of old, in Maribor, there’s an unexpected story of resilience that’s been unfolding for over 450 years. In the center of town is the world’s oldest fruit-producing vine, planted in the Middle Ages and surviving winters and wars, the vine has its own museum now.

Synonymous with resiliency is sustainability, a core principle behind Slovenian’s growing natural wine scene where an orange wine revolution is underway.

Complementing Croatia and Slovenia’s Wines

With world-class wines, you need world-class olive oil to accompany.

Top olive oils tend to come from around the Mediterranean and Croatia’s ample coastline makes for some of the best, consistently winning prestigious awards.

Slovenian producers squeeze exceptional green gold from their Istrian olives too (here’s a little oil secret, while olive oil is the star, do yourself a favor and try Slovenia and Croatia’s pumpkin seed oil too!).

With so many wines to try with your olive oil, the best advice is to take your time. Winemaking is a slow process, savor it at the same pace.

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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