Slovenia's winemaking tradition goes back several thousand years, predating even the Roman introduction of viticulture into ancient France, Spain, and Germany. In spite of this impressive history, almost all of the wine produced in Slovenia is consumed domestically, although exports to the US are showing signs of taking off.
Why are we beginning to hear more about Slovenian wine? Most importantly, almost two decades ago, when Slovenia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia and the country shed the economic controls associated with communism, a number of small-scale, independent wineries started to take off. At first, their efforts were unremarkable, but as producers began to experiment with decreased yields and the planting of more widely known international varietals, a small set of importers and consumers began to take notice.
Matjaz Cetrtic's Ferdinand, located on 15 acres of terraced limestone and clay not far from the Italian border, has justly earned this attention. The vineyards are in the region called Brda, and while it may lack for vowels, it has highly favorable climatic conditions, including warm days and relatively cool nights, which help usher in balanced ripening. Indeed, the conditions are quite similar to those in Collio, the wine region just across the Italian border.
Brda Wine Region
Cetrtic's 2008 Pinot Grigio is pale green in color. It's bright, but a touch closed on the nose. On the palate, this is rich and weighty, with fine minerality. This wine will benefit from 1/2 hour of air before drinking.
This wine is the perfect partner for seafood dishes: try it alongside sauteed flounder with parsley sauce.