Get to know Slovenian wine - Primorska region, Vipava Valley district
In this post, I am presenting You the wine district of Vipava Valley, which is a part of the Primorska wine region.
Vipava Valley is the second biggest wine district in Slovenia and the biggest in the Primorska region. Nova Gorica is the biggest town in the region and its name means vineyard in an old Slavic language. The town Vipava is where the first winery in the area was established in 1894. The Faculty for Viticulture and Oenology is also in town, together with numerous wine bars.
In Vipava Valley the sub-Mediterranean and subalpine (continental) climate meet and cause strong winds and heavy rainfall (few times a year). Mild winter and hot and dry summers. Weather hazards are spring frost, hail, and summer droughts. The Burja wind can be devastating when it reaches over 120km/h.
The bedrock soil is consistent with limestone, where the topsoil is mostly Eocene flysch. It consists of sand, sandstone, marl, clay, and limestone in layers. Vipava Valley vineyards are divided into 4 groups:
Vineyards close to Trnovo Forest on the northern edge of the valley. South-facing, at 200-380 m altitude, on limestone soil with some marl. More than enough water provided from the Trnovo Forest.
Vineyards on the valley floors close to the rivers Vipava and Branica. Used for grapes to make basic wines only.
Vineyards on the hills in the valley. On lower altitude levels, no erosion problems. The dominant soil is flysch with some marl, sandstone, and clay.
Vineyards in the south side of the valley close to Karst plateau. The dominant soils are flysch and limestone.
* Vipava Valley has challenging weather conditions, which forces the winemakers to be on alert at all times and make in minute decisions. Both about vineyard work, and winemaking.
What grows there?
Merlot: is the most grown grape in Vipava Valley. He enjoys the lower Vipava Valley (warmer than the rest of the valley). Produced in both varietal wines and blends.
Sauvignon Blanc: enjoys the upper part of the Valley, where the continental climate is home. Produced in crispy and vibrant style with a high aromatic profile. Oaked Sauvignon is also to be found here.
Chardonnay: oak-aged Chardonnay in world-class quality is produced here. The wines have a high aromatic profile, are fresh, and high in acidity.
Ribolla Gialla: popular for making wines with longer skin maceration.
Malvazija Istarska: normally used in blends, but few good examples of varietal wines can be found as well.
Zelen and Pinela: are the local varieties grown only here in Vipava Valley, and are kind of must produce for every winemaker.
Cabernet Sauvignon: the climate is not perfect for this variety, but locals love the wine.
Pinot Noir: can give wonderful wins in the hands of the right winemaker.
Barbera: is produced only in this wine region in Slovenia. Mostly in blends with Merlot.
White blends: both entry-level and high-quality. Grapes used are Chardonnay, Pinela, Zelen, and Malvazija Istarska. Some blends can even include Klarnica and Vitovska Grganja.
Rosé: is produced in many different styles, due to the variety of red grapes grown here. The cool climate brings freshness and vibrancy, which are key components for premium rosé wines.
Vipava Valley in a nutshell:
Source: Slovenia Winemaking country, by Robert Gorjak. Page 160-173.
* Read about my winery visits in Vipava Valley: