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Beers and Wines from the Balkan Peninsula

The Balkan Peninsula has been planted with grapes since the Romans found what a perfect place it is for viticulture; you’ll benefit from their canny estimation when you sample the wines of the region from long-established vineyards. Local spirits are delicious, flavored intensely with local fruits and herbs.

Grapevines were brought to Slovenia several thousand years ago by the Illyrians and Celts, cultivated by the Romans and since then, tended by the Slavs and Slovenians. The wine cellars in Slovenia’s wine-growing regions are the right place for tasting outstanding whites and reds. The loveliest areas of the three Slovenian wine-growing regions are given over to a plant that requires a lot of attention, love and sunshine. Maribor even boasts the oldest grapevine in the world, which still bears fruit every year. And this is all very apparent in the Slovenian wines of today, which rank among the best in the world.

Loza brandy is the best ambassador of Montenegro’s vineyards. The only way to achieve its signature nose is to use a Montenegrin grape varietal called “vranac”. Drink it chilled as an aperitif, but it’s feisty, so best to have it with prshuta, smoked meat and cheese. Vranac or Krstac wines are excellent with something sweet like cheese cake, peach or water melon; then relax in the afternoon with Nikšicko beer, and in the early evening invigorate yourself with grape brandy, along with smoked ham, goat cheese and tomatoes.

The range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in Serbia’s restaurants is excellent and covers drinks from all corners of the world. Restaurants that keep selected types of rakija and wines in their own cellars are particularly highly regarded, and we suggest that you try some of Serbia‘s own brands of drink. Rakije are brandies made from fruits and herbs. Popular flavors are plum, peach, pear, quince, grape, and the green-tasting herb brandy. You’ll also find wine and local beers such as Lav, MB, BG, Jelen, Vajfert and Pils. Tasty fruit juices and mineral waters from Serbian springs round out a very nice selection of local drinks.

Sip a glass of ouzo or wine with grilled octopus or any other dish while sitting under the shade of a tree in a small tavern by the sea on a Greek island in the Aegean. This world famous Greek aperitif, (the best is from Lesbos and Chios) is produced from distilled alcohol, water and aromatic ingredients, with aniseed prevailing. It is drunk neat or with added water or ice, and is the perfect accompaniment for mezedes (appetizers). Greece is not only the birthplace of Dionysus (god of wine), but also the birthplace of wine making. Historical and social reasons and a few natural disasters are the main reasons that the art of wine making was neglected from the mid-9th century up to 50 years ago. 

Now there are 20 regions that have A.O.C. rights and wine is flowing again in Greece – be sure to try some!

No matter where you travel in Romania, you're in wine country. It is one of the world's top-ranking producers of numerous delicious wines, some of which never leave its borders – so it’s a good thing you’re going and can taste the. Archeological evidence of wine production dates back to the classical Greek and Roman eras of settlement in Romania. The grape-friendly soil and climate are hospitable to the production of many different types of wines, from dry, sparkling whites to rich, aromatic, purplish reds. When you visit Romania, be sure to taste those wines you’ll never find at home.

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