Erzetič Merlot Amphora 2000. Purchased fall of 2005. Cost: some number of euros. Dobrovo Castle – Brda Vinoteka, Slovenia. Enjoyed right there in the castle’s cellar.

Talk about down the road to ruin… One stormy evening a very special wine stood on its own screaming at me, “Only wine can do this!”

It was a thundering, stormy night… really!

John (fiancé then, husband now) and I went to Central Europe to celebrate his 41st birthday. We had been stopping in little villages here and there for the night, following the winding wine road near the Croatian border… at least the map mentioned a wine road, but it seemed more like a reference guide. We had stumbled across some old castles and had even sampled wine from the barrel down in the cellar of an old castle with the groundskeeper! It was a grand ‘ol’ time. This part of the world is still happy to see a stranger pull into the drive and ask, “Do you speak English or German? Are you open?” Along the way we had planned to get married at Lake Bled at the fairy tale church on a small island in the middle of the lake with Bled castle perched on the limestone cliff in the background… waaay fairytale. However, carefree planning put us there on one of the busiest weekends and the place was overrun with tourists… not like us of course… John kept talking about the red wine area near the village Dobrovo on the Italian border, and how we can place our car on a train to go directly thru the mountain range and end up within an hour of the village. Okay, we couldn’t totally pass up Lake Bled… the view is like a fairytale with gondolas taking passengers from the shoreline to the church. We rented a room from a nice family and the next morning spent a few hours touring the castle and then renting our own gondola to row out to the church, very romantic… kind of, John rowed us out there and I rowed us back.