This, my friends, is the oldest vine in the world. Cute, huh? I had expected it to be a little bigger, maybe, or at least with a face on it like the heart tree from Game of Thrones.
Despite the distinct lack of mystical wonder surrounding something called “The Old Vine”, it is indeed verified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living grape vine at over 400 years old. And despite its age it still manages to perform in the sack, cranking out between 35 to 55kg of unpronounceable Žametovka grapes every year that get turned into a rare Modra Kavcina wine. The wine then gets put into little mini bottles to be gifted to important international leaders (diplomacy at its best) or, presumably, sold for a fortune to people who put the mini bottles in one of their minibars on the yacht in Croatia, or something like that.
Anyway, you can check it out in Maribor, Slovenia, at The Old Vine House.
The house has a small museum displaying the history of The Old Vine and its scions around the world, a gallery of Slovenia and Maribor’s “wine queens” over the years, and a rather casual-looking letter from Bill Clinton to the mayor of Maribor, thanking him for “the bottle of [very rare and expensive] wine” and “remembering him this holiday season”.
They have wine tasting as well, three samples for €4 per person. The sommelier seemed a bit suspicious of our wine knowledge, but had no doubt about our wine drinking skills. She was right, of course. After my first glass of ok-ish semi-dry white (Steyer Ranina, a mix of Muscat Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc) I felt pressured by indecision and stupidly went for the rosé. Does anyone actually drink rosé? I swished it around in the glass and took a swig. It was better than I had expected and I said so aloud, as eloquently as possible. “It’s not so, so… rosé-y. Not as much like a rosé as other rosés. Very good.”
The plus side is that Slovenian wine isn’t complete shit, like we had thought after our previous experiences with the reds. Apparently Slovenia is big on white varieties. Too bad we don’t really like white wine.