Merlot Grapes, Slovenia's Goriska Brda district, from Piran Cafe
Merlot Grapes, Slovenia's Goriska Brda district, from Piran Cafe

On tap: Inaugural Edition of Ljubljana’s Top Vino International Wine Festival – Slovenia Wine Notes

Tomorrow’s a big day for me.

In the sense that any day that brings with it the opportunity to taste dozens of wines that are new to me, and quite a few that I hope to reacquaint myself with, is an extraordinarily good day. That it falls on a Monday adds the potential to get the week off on an exceptionally good note.

The reason?

The first edition of the Top Vino International Wine Festival here in Ljubljana, a gathering of 65 winemakers from 10 countries, with a particularly strong emphasis on Bordeaux.  I can’t remember any tasting/festival event of this scale and caliber in Slovenia. Ever.

According to co-organizer Gašper Čarman, who’s on the short list of Slovenia’s top sommeliers, it will be the finest such event ever hosted in Slovenia, pre- or post-independence. Last weekend Čarman shared his top-five picks with the daily Delo. Among them:

  • – Bordeaux producer Chateau Pontet Canet, whose 2009 and 2010 vintages received perfect 100-point scores from noted critic Robert Parker; the 2011 and 2012 will be poured)
  • Pol Roger Champagne 2006; Decanter gave it 92 point in a recent tasting


  • Ornellaia, one of the most prized Super Tuscans.

E. Guigal caught my eye too, the fount of my all-time favorite wine experience, one that dates back to the early 1990s, and one I’ll never forget.

I bring up the ratings points not because I’m a wine snob, but simply to impart the quality that’s being promised. Opportunities to try these rarely arise in this part of the world.

I haven’t been to an event like this in years, so yes, I’m excited. Oh yes.

Besides France and Italy, Spain, California, Portugal, New Zealand, Hungary, Austria and Croatia will be represented. The line-up includes the premiere of more than 30 wines, mostly from Slovenian winemakers, who will be out in force.

A complete list of participating wineries and producers is here.

A report, tasting notes and photos to come later in the week.

Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana [map]
Admission €40/advance, €46 day of. Includes admission to a post-festival concert.


Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,017th straight? Merlot on the vine, Slovenia’s Goriska Brda district, in western Slovenia.


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