Slovenian Wine

Cviček

08 Apr 2019
If you’ve never been to Slovenia, then chances are you’ve never heard of Cviček. If you’re from Slovenia, then you likely have mixed feelings about it. And if you’re from the Dolenjska region, which includes the southern part of the Posavje wine region, then not only is Cviček likely your favourite wine, but there’s a good chance you consume it more freely than water (at least at the weekends)!

Cviček is a dry and noticeably sour red wine that is synonymous with Dolenjska, which is divided from the region of Bizeljsko by the Sava river. Other than Chianti, it is the only officially recognised variety of wine that is made from a blend of both red and white grapes - with Modra Frankinja, Žametna Črnina and Kraljevina most commonly used sorts, as well as Laški Rizling somewhat less frequently (with roughly a 70-30 split between red and white).

Since 2001 Cviček has been legally protected both within Slovenia and the EU as a product of traditional denomination, meaning that only wine produced in the Dolenjska region in accordance with official specifications can be labelled as Cviček. This has led to a peculiar situation in Posavje, where essentially the same wine is produced in areas north of the Sava river, but is called by the lesser known name Bizeljčan (which is also use for white wine) or even simply red table wine. While Cviček is undeniably sour, it is also quite fresh, light and fruity, and since it is limited to a maximum of 10% alcohol content it can be drunk quite liberally throughout the day or night without completely impairing one’s ability to function.

For those interested in learning more about the history and production of Cviček, there is something of a holy trinity of sites that are easily accessible to visitors: the Embassy of Cviček in Raka, which was built for the purpose of promoting the wine; Vinska Klet Krško, which is by far the largest producer; and the wine cellar at the Božidar Jakac Gallery in Kostajevica Monastery, which is widely considered the birthplace of Cviček.

This article was adapted from material presented in the book THE Slovenia Wine: Top 125 Experiences, which you can read more about here.

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