BIKE SLOVENIA GREEN

GORIŠKA BRDA: THE WINE WONDER

Duration

1 DAY

Category

TOURING

Fitness level

LOW

Tour type

SELF-GUIDED, GUIDED

Technical difficulty

LOW

Situated on the western Slovenian border, the region of Goriška Brda resembles Tuscany. The hilly landscape, which descends towards the Friulian plain in Italy, is covered with vineyards and orchards, while villages nesting on hills and the distinct architecture also remind of its Italian doppelganger. Geographically, the area is part of the Posočje region, with a high ridge actually separating it from the Soča river and protecting the area from cold winds. This way, the climate is affected by the nearby Adriatic Sea with humid south-western winds, and the abundance of surface water is nicely complemented by ideal conditions, with the landscape truly resembling the garden of Eden. In addition to the developed viticulture, the Goriška Brda area supplies the entire hinterland with the early summer cherries peaches, which are most frequently grown plants, with olive trees also being cultivated in high numbers.

The hills were inhabited during the Roman era, and in the Middle Ages the area was a border between the Austrian provinces and the Venetians, which is why there are many castles and fortifications, including some fortified villages.

The demarcation line designated after World War II left part of the Brda area, which descends into the Friulian plain, on the Italian side. Collio is one of the famous Italian wine regions, with many Slovenians, who are among the best winemakers, having remained on the Italian side of the border. In Yugoslavia, private economic initiatives were not supported by the government, so Goriška Brda, despite the equally good conditions for viticulture as its Italian part, fell backwards in this field, as wine was produced in large quantities without particular focus on the quality, i.e. for mass consumption. However, since the end of the 1980s many private growers have developed production, having achieved great success with their wines on the global scale. Joško Gravner, a Slovenian from Collio, is credited with reviving the almost forgotten, 6000-year-old Georgian technology of wine production in amphoras, and perhaps also for starting the currently increasingly popular trend of producing orange and biodynamic wines.

Biking through the flowering and fertile landscape with wonderful views is in itself a pleasant experience. The tour runs past the best Goriška Brda winemakers, symbolically connecting two parts of the route leading towards Colli with what is a unified area in geographical sense. A short leap into history and visits to some of the scenic spots are added every now and again. Most winegrowers manage their own open-air estates, where the bikers, besides tasting wines, can try some of the homemade delicacies. There is certainly no shortage of treats for lovers of fine wine and hospitality!

Gallery

Highlights

1

Šmartno

Formerly used as a fortress on the Venetian-Austrian border, the picturesque medieval settlement is sitting on top of a hill like an eagle’s nest, so it is visible practically from everywhere in Goriška Brda, and vice versa, virtually every part of the area can be seen from Šmartno. The entire village, which is surrounded by five preserved towers, represents a true architectural gem due to its many masonry details, having acquired the status of a cultural monument.


2

Bjana, Biljana

As an early treat, the tour participants are first served with sparkling wine. In the renovated Dorišče castle, which features one of the oldest cellars in Brda, a winemaker who received as many as four silver Decanter awards in 2018 alone ripens one of the best Slovenian sparkling wines.


3

Brda wine shop, Dobrovo

The Brda wine shop (Vinoteka) is hosted in a Renaissance castle, which is immediately visible from afar and worth a visit just in itself. All of the four corner towers offer wonderful views over the surrounding area. Dobrovo, the centre of the Brda wine-growing region and the seat of the municipality, is named after the common oak (Slovenian name: dob), which was once the most widespread tree in Brda.


4

Medana

Medana is a picturesque wine-growing village with a beautiful view of Vipolže, where the tour returns to the starting point. The village is also known for the traditional Days of Poetry and Wine festival.


5

Belica, Medana

Known for its fresh white wines, the 120-year-old homestead, which engaged in wine production under its long-standing tradition, has developed a complete catering and accommodation offer.

 


6

Klinec tourist farm

The Klinec family upgraded what was more than a hundred years long wine-growing and wine-making tradition with organic production and local cuisine.


7

Movia, Ceglo

The Movia House, which has been in existence since 1700, has half of it vineyards in the Italian Colli region, which is just a short walk away from the homestead. Aleš Kristančič is one of the early beginners of the new wave of the Brda winemakers. With his wine, which is almost literally alive, Aleš can probably take most of the credit making wine from this area famous on the global scale, both in terms of quality as well as marketing. Wine and Spirits, which is one of the most influential wine magazines in the global terms, placed Movia among the world’s best 100 wine cellars as many as eight times, and in 2007, the world’s greatest wine experts included Kristančič among the 12 world’s most influential personalities in wine production. James Suckling, who is among the three most influential wine critics in the world, graded the Lunar 2013 wine with 97 and the Puro sparkling wine with 94 points out of 100.


8

Marjan Simčič, Ceglo

The small village of Ceglo, which was named after a Roman brick workshop, probably received the highest number of wine-related prizes per square meter at a global level. James Suckling awarded 95 points to four of Simčič’s wines of 2015 and 2014, while the Decanter likewise graded Rebula Opoka 2013, Merlot Opoka 2013 and a unique sweet wine by the name of Leonardo 2013 by as many as 95 points.


9

Ščurek, Plešivo

Stojan Ščurek was one of the pioneers of winemaking in Brda. Together with his five sons, he produces 80,000 bottles of premium wine in the vineyards which are mostly located on the Italian side. They swear on fresh but well-rounded types of wine.


10

La Subida, Cormons (Krmin)

Even the gastronomically well-developed Italy is unfamiliar with the notion of La Subida. A Slovenian by the name of Joško Sirk, who lives in Italy, was one of the first winemakers to have mastered the flavours typical of the Friuli and Brda regions, and his wine list has always included the best selection existing on either side of the border. Besides the Michelin star awarded restaurant, which remains accessible to everyone, Sirk opened a nearby establishment by the name of Osteria, which houses rustic apartments in the rural environment, and produces home-made vinegar as well as other delicacies.


11

Mount Quarin (Krminska gora)

The ruins of a castle, which was developed from a fortification built in Late Antiquity, are still sitting at the top of the mountain. However, the castle was abandoned in 1618, when the inhabitants fortified the town below the hill. A pilgrimage church from the 17th century is also located on the top.


12

Cormons (Slovenian: Krmin), Enoteca

During the Roman times, Cormons was the most important fortress in the entire local defence system. Due to its location, it was constantly the subject of combat, so the locals built a defensive structure at the foot of Mt Quarin (Slovenian: Krminska gora). Its remains can still found in the old town. Four hundred years before the end of World War I, the town belonged to Austria, even after the Friuli region was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.

In the old town’s wine shop, products from the major local winemakers are sold in one place.


13

Capriva del Friuli (Slovenian: Kapriva)

Capriva is located near the settlement of Krmin, with both of them sharing a similar historical development. Built a few centuries ago, the Castello di Spessa castle was renovated in the 19th century in an interesting eclectic style. It is now converted into a hotel with a restaurant, offering an excellent view over a local golf course and the neighbouring vineyards from a hillside.


14

Edi Simčič, Vipolže

Edi and Aleks Simčič upgraded the 100-year family wine-making tradition, which is typical of many successful winemakers in Brda, for each in their own way. Here, even white wine is fermented over a long period of time and aged in oak barrels, which thus resemble the French-style wine. Many of great wine connoisseurs consider Edi Simčič the best Slovenian winemaker. Although his wine production has been growing over the years, the sales are still kept at the boutique scale.


15

Jakončič, Kozana

Jakončič’s red wine called Carolina is probably one of the most popular Slovenian wines in the upper middle price range. His Carolina Rebula and White Carolina received 95+ points and the gold medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2016, while Carolina Rebula received the highest Decanter award, i.e. the Platinum.


16

Prinčič Farm, Kozana

Like many others, the Prinčič wine-growing tradition stretches over a period longer than 150 years. Their wines are fruity, harmonious, mineral and, above all, pleasant to drink. Their white wine called Mihael 2005 was awarded the Decanter WWA silver medal as early as a decade ago.


17

Peršolja, Kozana

Scattered across several hills, the panoramic village in Brda is home to a plethora of top winemakers. Peršolin’s Cabernet Franc was awarded a silver medal at the Decanter WWA in 2007.


18 (extended version)

Cerovo

As early as 1205, a mansion stood on the spot where the Church of Saint Nicholas is found today. The Saint Leonard Church in Dolnje Cerovo is surrounded by a thick chain that tells an interesting story. A picturesque staircase leads up to the church, where exquisite views of Brda open up.


19 (extended version)

Simčič, Kojsko

Simčič is a frequent surname in Brda. Karol, Igor and Marjan are descendants of the family that was selling wine to nearby caterers and traders as early as the 19th century.


20 (extended version)

Štekar House, Snežatno

The Štekar family is the first to have opened a tourist farm in Brda in 1986. They offer traditional, local food and organic wine. There was also one of the first certified biological winemakers.


21 (extended version)

Saint Cross church, Kojsko

A hill with the Saint Cross Church on top rises above the small village of Kojsko. The church was part of the fortress camp that was previously used in defence against Turkish invasions, with the last of the towers to be fortified serving as a belfry. The pilgrimage church is surrounded by chapels depicting different stations of the cross. From the top, one can see both the Alps as well as the sea.


22 (extended version)

Gonjače lookout tower

A 23-metre lookout tower with 144 steps stands next to the monument commemorating victims of World War II. The tower offers a magnificent view from every side, so visitors can see the entire Brda area, the Julian and Carnic Alps, the Dolomites, Friuli, the Gulf of Trieste, the Karst, the Vipava valley, and the Trnovski gozd plateau.


Price includes navigation pack with GPS tracks.

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