Duration: 24 Oct 2019 - 30 Oct 2019
Location: Slovenia, Italy
Price: 3000€ EUR
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Discover the region’s venerable orange and natural wine traditions, guided by renowned orange/natural wine expert Simon J Woolf, author of Amber Revolution. Explore the dramatic hillside vistas and bucolic vineyards of Friuli Collio and Slovenian Brda, two brothers/sisters in wine cruelly separated by a political border post WWII. Extended visits and tastings at small artisan wineries give you the chance to get close-up and personal to the families and winemakers who have helped define the region.

Each day on the tour presents a special opportunity for guests to sit down, talk with and learn from a myriad of friendly local food producers and wine makers in their cellars, vineyards and gardens.

In addition to Brda and Friuli Collio, we will explore the varietals and winemaking traditions of Slovenia’s blustery Vipava Valley, the stoney Karst region and seaside Istra region nestled up against the Adriatic. Our focus is on winemakers and their creations, divine culinary experiences with local food producers of olive oils, prosciutto, vinegar, cheeses and truffles.

All guests who sign up will receive a signed copy of the beautiful hardback book Amber Revolution.

 

    • • Engage on a personal level with influential wine makers in their homes, cellars and vineyards

      • Enjoy traditional home-cooked meals and local spirits at rustic locations

      • Discover more about emerging orange, natural and biodynamic wine styles with the leading expert in this field

      • Sink your teeth into locally produced, artisanal olive oil, cheese, air-dried prosciutto and handmade gnocchi

      • Experience the mix of Slovenian and Italian traditions during a seven-course dinner at the Michelin starred “La Subida” restaurant in Collio

  • October 24th – October 30th, 2019

  • 3000 EUR

    All meals, 6 nights lodging at boutique hotels (all en-suite), wine and all other food tastings per itinerary, airport transfers, transport, tour leader and expert guide Simon Woolf.

  • An orange wine primer from Simon Woolf

    Profiles on Slovenia’s Burja Winery and Renčel Winery from The Morning Claret

    More on Slovenia’s upcoming wine and food region of Vipava Valley

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Natural Winemaking 101

Overnight: Vipava, Slovenia

Pick up from airport and transfer to our lodging in Slovenia’s Vipava Valley.

We start our tour with Primož Lavrenčič, exploring his Burja winery where futuristic concrete eggs are used in his newly built cellar to make one of Slovenia’s oldest, most traditional styles of white wine. Get a primer from Simon on natural winemaking and learn about the region’s many unique varietals as we taste and enjoy a convivial dinner with the winemaker.

 

Day 2: Discovering biodynamic and organic winemakers of Vipava Valley

Overnight: Vipava, Slovenia

Full day wine tasting and exploring the stories of winemakers in the Vipava Valley, a micro-climate where the burja wind can blow up to 200km per hour, making wine growing quite challenging.

The recently opened, luxuriously appointed winery of Guerila offers some of the most dramatic panoramic views of the Vipava Valley. A major tasting will include some of their amphora wines (produced in clay vessels from Serbia) plus excellent expressions of the local varieties Zelen and Pinela. Walk through the vineyards before visiting the small village of Goce for lunch at a lovingly restored traditional homestead. The intimate setting for lunch includes a visit to a candle-lit cellar and a bowl of the quintessential Slovenian soup jota.

Meet with one of the few female winemakers in Slovenia at JNK winery, a truly boutique producer making only 10,000 bottles a year. After taking over from her father, she reverted back to the macerated style of wines her grandfather produced. Fantastic Chardonnay (four days of skin contact) provides an easy introduction to those curious about orange wine but without a palate for the more funky and extreme. Back at our B&B, a three-course dinner paired with more fabulous wines from around Vipava for us to try.

 

Day 3: Amphora wines and Slow Food in Slovenia’s Istria region

Overnight: Vipava, Slovenia

Visit to Klabjan winery on the edge of the limestone plateau that forms the karst region and a mere 3km from the Gulf of Trieste. Get introduced to the region’s flagship red, Refošk, made with long maceration, spontaneous fermentation and without any intervention from a mix of soils (karst limestone and clay/marl-white lands).

Open your taste buds and culinary senses as we meet a couple in Slovenia’s Istra region who head up Slow Food Primorska region (“by the sea” in Slovenian). Tour around their beautiful herbal garden and then tuck into a delicious mix of home made cheese, marmalades, olive oil, herbal salts and jellies — all made from combinations of wine and herbs.

Wine tasting at Gordia, where since 2012 chef Andrej Cep has turned his hand to making excellent skin macerated Malvazija. We will also see his latest project – a new cellar with a clutch of Georgian qvevri. Enjoy the view from his certified organic vineyards straight down to the Adriatic Sea. We’ll enjoy a home cooked dinner with Andrej and his wife after our wine tasting.

 

Day 4: Wines of Slovenia’s Karst/Italy’s Carso

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

We depart Vipava and head to the more barren, but limestone rich Karst region. A short walk around the region’s most charming hill town of Stanjel, with its fascinating inter-war history (between WWI and WWII). Wine tasting at Renčel where we’ll experience ultra-traditional, natural Slovenian winemaking from one of its most experienced masters. Macerated wines from local white grapes Vitovska and Malvazija are among the highlights, but no tasting here is complete without their sweet wine “Negra”, made from dried Teran grapes and macerated for 6 months!

Lunch at a rural kmetija agroturism that features all home produced foods including dried meats including air-dried pršut (prosciutto), excellent soups and a one-of-a-kind honey ice cream.

Crossing into Italy where this region is called Carso. Meet with Sandi Skerk in his impressive stone cellar gashed out of Carso rock. Sandi blends Malvasia and Vitovska with Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc to make the standout Ograde blend. Since 2000, all wines are made in a hands-off, minimal intervention manner.

Arrival into Brda region in the evening, with dinner at a homely osteria near the border, where we’ll enjoy a hearty meal with a decidedly Slovenian twist.

Day 5: Winemakers of Italy’s Friuli region

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

All day in Friuli. First visit to Ronchi di Cialla (situated in a valley so unique, it has its own wine classification) to sample the Rapuzzi family’s elegant red wines made from the indigenous Schioppettino, Refosco and Tazzalenghe varieties.

Visit to Cividale, an historic, picturesque Italian town straddling the banks of the Isonzo river, founded by Julius Caesar in 50 BC.

Tasting at La Due Terre winery, a minute family operation whose wines are awarded the highest accolades by Italy’s prestigious Gambero Rosso almost every year. Their Sacrisassi blends provide a wonderful comparison to Ronchi di Cialla.

Insight into natural vinegar production (made from Ribolla Gialla grapes) at Joško Sirk’s Aceteria before dining at La Subida, his family-run One Michelin star trattoria.

 

Day 6: Winemakers of Slovenia’s Brda region

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

Visit the iconic Gravner winery in Oslavia, a mecca for any fan of orange or amber wines (as Joško Gravner prefers to call them). Marvel at the unique and tranquil atmosphere in the amphora cellar, before tasting the latest vintages of the estate’s exceptional Ribolla.

We’ll drive a few kms back across the Slovenian border to visit Josko’s neighbour Janko Štekar, who together with his wife Tamara runs this almost entirely self-sufficient estate with jaw-dropping views across the entire Collio region. Štekar has been called the “Jimi Hendrix” of orange wine, and his wines walk defiantly on the wild side, challenging the tastebuds in a playful fashion.

Wine tasting at Klinec, situated in the gorgeous hilltop village of Medana, known as a “Grand Cru” area for wine since 1787, and destined to remain that way considering the vitality and purity of Aleks Klinec’s wonderful orange wines. Dinner with Aleks.

 

Day 7: Transfer to airport / End of Tour

If you’d like to continue your journey through Slovenia, enjoying the charming capital of Ljubljana or the pristine nature of Lake Bled and Julian Alps, we can offer an add-on package customized to your wishes.