Cool as Štajerska wine-spritzer
I remember wine spritzer from my childhood years. It was an indispensable drink on a normal day and was not missing even at the village fete. “Liter – liter” the adults were ordering in those times. And white wine and mineral water were already served on the table. This popular cold mixture, which workers and peasants drank from the most common glasses, somehow failed to pave its way to the modern Slovenian restaurant offer. Absolutely unjustly, the spritzer had the reputation of a tasteless, unpopular beverage …
A beverage for the real thirst
In the last 25 years Slovenia adopted a lot of the »Western products«. Spritzer almost disappeared from the list of popular drinks, especially among the younger generation. However, not entirely. They still pour it at the winegrower’s home tables in the shade of the old trees. Just right shape of the glass, filled with almost sparkling bubbles, will quench the thirst both in the middle of summer and in less hot days.
In recent years I was spending more time in urban, with »latest trends« filled town centres. Therefore, I forgot about the wine spritzer myself. You can imagine my surprise when I was offered the drink at the Ljubljana Café Drama! Just like that … In the space filled with furniture and equipment of theatrical performances of the Slovene National Theatre, it was quite unrealistic when a lovely waitress asked: A Styrian spritzer, maybe?
Wine spritzer revival
I am aware that in the northeast of Slovenia there is already an initiative to preserve and disseminate this almost forgotten drink. But if I can order it in the middle of Ljubljana, I should peek over the edge of the glass … I should check out the label of the bottle from which the yellow drop came. By doing so I embark on a very interesting story. And Kosta Kosev from Štajerski špricer (Styrian spritzer) tells me all about it.
Styria (Slovene: Štajerska), also Slovenian Styria (Slovenska Štajerska), is a traditional region in northeastern Slovenia. The population of Styria in its historical boundaries amounts to around 705,000 inhabitants, or 34.5% of the population of Slovenia. The largest city is Maribor. Source: Wikipedia
A doctor who devotes to a wine drop in his spare time, and in particular to the story of the Styrian spritzer, tells me that the idea for the revival of the spritzer was born while hanging out with friends. Together they realized that this old beverage is almost forgotten – by accident and unfairly. In the same year (2015), they invited winemakers to offer their wines suitable for wine sprinklers for evaluation.
Among the seven wines that came to the first selection, the jury selected the best three. To determine which one of the three would appeal to the people most, they left the next selection to »drinkers«.
The winner of 2017 – Frambello, winemaker Greif from Fram!
On the farm holiday in Svečina, the wine-growing settlement in the western Slovene Hills , visitors – without knowing for which winemaker they are going – choose the wine that they liked most in combination with the mineral water. And this is the beginning of serving the spritzer named after the wine region of Styria.
In 2017, the jury was grading between the selection of 13 wines. Between the three finalists the visitors of the Spring Festival in Svečina selected a dry white wine – Frambello – of the winemaker Greif from Fram.
This last years spritzer is especially refreshing, light and perfumed with fruity aroma. On the Ljubljana terrace, overlooking the Ljubljana castle, it also gets a touch of modernity …
It is important how it is served
Kosta Kosev also says that in addition to choosing a quality wine and a suitable mineral water, they also take care of a mouth-watered glass that in its shape resembles that of the past, with a slightly convex abdomen.
A cool, refreshing beverage called the Styrian spritzer will not surprise only those who still remember the recent past. Those who like to discover the special features of Slovenia will be also happy. In the summertime it is also served in Svečina, more precisely on Pruh.
By Sonja Bezjak
Let’s go Slovenia’s guest writer