In this post, I am presenting You, the Bela Krajina wine district, which is a part of the Posavje wine region.
Bela Krajina is the smallest wine district in Slovenia. The landscape of Bela Krajina looks like the landscape of Karst. The town of Metlika is the wine capital. Bela Krajina wine district has the sub-districts Metlika, Črnomelj, and Semič.
The Kolpa river runs through the district and it has an incredibly positive influence for forming noble rot, for the production of noble rot influenced wines.
Bela Krajina wine district has about 22 different soils defined in the district. The vineyards are mostly planted on red-brown karstic limestone soil. Limestone outcrops are found in the vineyards in the sub-districts of Črnomelj and Semič.
Erosion is such a problem, that some towns have completely abandoned grape growing and wine producing – notably in the town called Vinica.
The topsoil level can be very deep or very shallow, it changes even in matters of few meters.
The climate is defined as sub-Pannonian (continental), with a Mediterranean precipitation regime. The winters are very cold with high levels of snow, and the summers are hot. The vineyards in the district are planted on altitudes between 210-390m.
What grows there:
This very small wine-growing region is producing three very distinctive wine styles: cool-climate varietal wines, continental reds, and world-class dessert wines.
Metliška črnina PTP (“red from Metlika”) is the signature wine of the region. It is fruity and simple with spiciness, light to medium-bodied red blend, primarily to be consumed young. With the exception of the good vintages, from which the wine can be kept for years. From up to 60% of Blaufränkisch, a minimum of 30% Žametovka and the rest are any other permitted red varieties from the district.
Belokranjec PTP: is a blend of Welschriesling (30-50%), Kraljevina (20-30%), and at least two other grape varieties but not more than 10% of each.
Muscats from Šturm and Prus. The styles produced are dry to very sweet and all other styles in between.
Welschrisling is the most common white variety, other white varieties are Sauvignon (Sauvignon Blanc), Chardonnay, and Riesling.
Blaufränkisch is giving good results, produced by Šturm.
Blauer Portugieser or Portugalka is normally produced in the »nouveau« style (known from Beaujolais).
Producers worth mentioning: Dolc – who actually changed his last name to Vinopivec (Winedrinker) in 1834; Malnarič, Pečarič, Anton Plut, Simončič, Šuklje.
Best from Bela Krajina: the district produces very good quality botrytis wines and ice wines. Wines from Prus are sweet with displayed precision, delicacy, and complexity (seen only there). The wines are high up in the world's class and able to age for decades.
Bela Krajina in a nutshell:
Source: Slovenia Winemaking country, by Robert Gorjak. Page 118-127.