Slovenia, Slovakia; Slovakia, Slovenia. Two nations that, I realise, are entirely distinct and just happen to have names that a mindless idiot like me is always getting mixed up. I’ve never been to either (perhaps, had I done so, my confusion would cease). But I have met several people from both countries, all of whom have been delightful human beings.
On this principle, I approached both Slovenian and Slovakian wine — neither being exactly easy to find, here in the UK — with optimism. And decided to crack open a bottle from each and to pit them against one another in an attempt to use the medium of wine to overcome my inability to remember which country is which.
(Okay. That’s one of the lamest excuses I’ve come up with to open two bottles of wine. And that’s saying something.)
So — the outcome of this meaningless and artificial clash of two proud nations? Something of a one-sided contest, I’m afraid. Because — alas! — my Slovenian contender was less than championship material. A Tilia Estate Pinot Gris (★, £12.99) that I bought from Naked Wines a while ago — which was, honestly, just a bit depressing. Sort of like Luton airport, but without the prospect of being en route anywhere better.
I mean, it’s not undrinkable or anything. But it’s slack in the gob; rather heavy and sullen. A pudgy child who’d rather be playing Call of Duty than turning up to PE. There’s nothing outright offensive about it. I just, well, hoped for better.
Which is just as well. Because better is exactly what I got, courtesy of Slovakia and Adam Priscak, who kindly brought me back a bottle from his latest trip home. Step forward one wine made by Elesko called Alibernet 1, neskorý zber, suché, 2009 (★★★★). Which is a lot of words that I don’t understand. Nice, eh? Adam tells me that this wine is made in small quantities. Fine by me, so long as I get some of it. Because it is sodding lovely. As deep as a very deep hole (with some mushrooms growing in it, perhaps). Ripping and earthy and proud. There’s a kind of polishy quality to it (as distinct from Polishy, which is a bit further north — for the benefit of those of you using this blog as a guide to central/eastern-European geography. You poor, poor buggers.)
It’s full and fruited, but not remotely glib. Dark, big and extremely good. Thank you Adam; thank you Elesko. Fine representatives of your nation.
So it looks like the scoreline is currently Slovakia 1; Slovenia 0. Based on a ludicrous and utterly unrepresentative sample. Just the way we like it. So I’m putting out a call for recommendations of Slovenian wines that could even the score… Suggestions in the comments, s’il te plait.
4 thoughts on “Slovenia vs Slovakia (wine and geographic confusion)”
Maybe try the wines from Puklavec & Friends in Slovenia? Some fabulous whites, and good value offerings too.
Can I start by asking the vintage of the Tilia wine? Unfortunately there is not a lot of Slovenian wines available on the UK market, mostly due to the fact that Slovenian wineries are not very good at working together, and without a well funded central body to promote Slovenian wine abroad, each winery is forced to go it alone. You could as Anne suggests above try P & F wines, but they are by far the biggest producer in the country, so it would be kind of like drinking a Montana SB and forming an opinion about Marlborough. If you ever did catch one of those cheap flights over to the mainland, then I would be more than happy to help direct you around Slovenia and maybe fix that scoreline!
So I’m putting out a call for recommendations of Slovenian wines that could even the score… Suggestions in the comments, s’il te plait.
Try to find Verus, Dveri-Pax (Wine society), Marjan Simčič (Bancroft)… Honestly comparing Slovenia and Slovakia in wine is like comparing Slovenia and Netherland in football.