The Ljubljanica River
Wine tasting in Slovenia
The beautiful vineyards across the Friuli-Slovenia border
Friuli-Venezia-Giulia & Slovenia
6 - 11 October 2013
This fascinating wine tour combines the world-class wines of Friuli in Italy and the little known but impressive wines of Slovenia. As with many A&C tours, this tour is pioneering, in wine content and in visiting little known and beautiful corners of Europe.
Italy’s Collio region is best known for outstanding whites including Sauvignon, but there are also complex reds here (especially made from Cabernets and Merlot), as can be found just across the border in Slovenia’s Brda. On the Slovenian side there are regional grape varieties such as Zelen, Pinela and Furmint as well as Malvasia, and we’ll also come across some excellent Chardonnays. On both sides of the border, you can find the variety Ribolla Gialla.
The wines of Friuli truly rank alongside the two most prestigious wine regions of Italy, Piemonte and Tuscany. Sadly their wines are not often seen in the UK, which is a great pity, for they are amongst the top white wines that Italy produces. Our first base is an attractive 4* hotel in the lovely small city of Udine with its little canals that run beneath and alongside the streets. The city has a surprisingly varied display of architecture including the Venetian, Gothic and Renaissance styles. The main square is dominated by the porticoed San Giovanni and behind the gateway designed by Palladio in 1556, is the 16th century castle, which now houses the Fine Art collection. It is a wonderful and little known city, which is a delight to stroll around. Udine is near the Colli Orientali and Isonzo wine regions and our visits include the award winning Livio Felluga and Vie di Romans.
The two wine regions in Slovenia are in the North-East and South-West of the country. The most impressive Slovene wines hail from the Brda and Vipava regions in the South West, which immediately borders Italy and the Friuli wine region. After leaving Udine, we drive down the short journey over the border to Brda, where we visit two of the stars of the region, Edi Simcic and Marjan Simcic (despite the name – two different estates!) Both “Brda” and “Collio” mean hills. Effectively they are the same region as the borders here have been pretty fluid, the area having once been part of Venice and later part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
We continue to Slovenia’s picturesque capital, Ljubljana. This small bustling University city was home to the architect Joze Plecnik, whose diverse architectural legacy can be seen all over the city. We drive the dramatic route across to the North-East for a fabulous tasting and lunch at Dveri Pax, near the Austro-Hungarian border. A wonderful location with the modern cellars on the same estate as an ancient monastery.
The river Ljubljanica runs through the city and there are plenty of riverside cafés in which to relax and watch the world go by. This charming city is small and very easy to explore on foot. There is a very young feel to the city, in part due to the presence of the university, but also due to the easy going nature of the Slovenians. A walk up to the castle gives great views over the old town. In the National Gallery the collection of 19th century art is also worth a visit.
We head back over the border into Italy for our last wine visit in Friuli before continuing to the charming town of Treviso. One of the loveliest towns of the North East, it is often overlooked in favour of Venice and as such is a more tranquil place. We stay here for our last night, and enjoy a visit to a Prosecco producer on our last morning before free time in Treviso over lunch. The numerous streams and canals inside the old walled part of the city make a charming place to relax and enjoy lunch before the return flight to London.
Extend your holiday
If you would like to treat yourself to a few nights in Venice pre or post- tour, we will apply the no flight discount and will be happy to put you in touch with our travel partners who can book your flights for you. Please note that if you decide not to book flights with us, no airport transfer will be included on the first day. If you wish to extend your holiday in Ljubljana, there are flights from there to the UK to Luton via Adria – if you are interested we will apply the no flight discount.