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  • In Vino Veritas

    In order to better understand Macedonian wines, we are providing a short description of the typical Macedonian grape varieties we are offering, but also the international grape varieties pointing out the differences at taste due to the Macedonian fertile soil and specific climate conditions.

  • Guide to the Wines of the Republic of Macedonia

    Text is quoted from the book „Guide to the Wines of the Republic of Macedonia“, second edition, by Ivana Simjanovska and Paul Caputo. Skopje, March 2015.

    We thank the authors for allowing us to use their texts on this website! We also express our gratitude to Mrs. Elena Miloshevska contributing to the definitions of the grape varieties.

Syrah

Rich in tannin, the Syrah variety is a challenge for the best Macedonian wine makers. The wine that comes out of this variety needs quite some time and energy to show all of its elegance, luxuriance and greatness. In Macedonia, it is successfully grown in Skopje, Tikves, Strumica–Radovish and Gevgelija–Valandovo wine districts, with a tendency of spreading due to the greater interest for this variety.

It ripens towards the end of September in the Skopje vineyards. This abundant variety has got great vegetative expansion. In Macedonia, the best results are gained from regions that have warm, but not too dry climate and well-lighted expositions.

The wine is characterized by ruby red colour, full of extracts, powerful body and alcohol, and with expressed tannin. The aroma of reddish forest fruits and chocolate with a hint of black pepper is typical for Syrah wine made in Macedonia.

We recommend our Cuvee 2013 with 20% Syrah by Chateau Sopot.

Temjanika

A grape of mysterious origins has an emphasized muscat and splendorous scent that leaves no one indifferent. The name itself, incense, means strong, intense smell of thyme. Temjanika wine simply paints your day with the joyful colours of flowers and fruits.
It is supposed to originate from the Middle East and it can be rendered under many synonyms depending on the place where it is grown. This variety represents one of the oldest and ultimately widespread varieties in the world. The primary name according to OIV is the Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains. In Macedonia it can be mostly found in the Tikves wine district where has been grown separately in vines for a longer period of time; yet, lately there are new vineyard plantations since this variety is greatly sought as a result of the interest shown for producing muscat wines.

Temjanika is a variety that requires warm climate, with long and dry autumns that will create perfect condition for grapes to stay longer in the vine and absorb more sugar. Later, it can be turned into dry grape for the production of natural dessert wines with high percentage of alcohol.

Under the conditions of the Tikves wine district it ripens in late August or early September and produces high quality dry, semi dry and dessert muscat wines. The Macedonian Temjanika has an intense yellowish-gold color with nuances of green and highly complex and odorous scents. Main aromas are those of Muscat and are spicy; fruit scents of peach, apricot, dry plum and orange are dominant at the beginning, while the flavour of basil and incense follow later.

It has an average yield and the grapes are thick – skinned, medium sized with yellowy green skin and rusty spots on the sunny side. The clusters are compressed, medium in size with a cylindrical-conical shape. The juice is colorless with an intense Muscat aroma. There is also dark Temjanika which is very rare and of exceptional quality.

The Temjanika wine is served at a temperature of 10-12 degrees, and can be consumed with light food, white meat, seafood and desserts.

Vranec

The word Vranec means strong, black and powerful horse (black stallion), and wine made from this grape variety is associated with strength, potency, and success. Vranec also means raven coloured or black, which is why the wine is known also as black wine in Macedonia.

Vranec is a local, Balkan variety and its wines represent the character of the people who live in these areas – warm–blooded and strong. It is assumed that it was created by natural crossbreeding or as a result of spontaneous mutations. It has been grown for a long time in Montenegro, and it also can be found in Dalmacija, Herzegovina, but in Macedonia it’s the most important and leading variety for red wine production, representing, at the same time, the type of the Macedonian red wines.

The climate conditions in the Republic of Macedonia enable successful growing for this variety in almost every wine growing area. This variety can mostly be found in the central wine districts through the valley of the River Vardar.

The variety Vranec has got exuberant grapevine, middle-sized clusters and dark blue grapes with coloured skin enriched by colouring substances. It ripens in the second half of September.

The wine that comes from this variety is recognized by its intensive colouration. The high content of the total number of anthocyanin is the main characteristic of this variety of wines, which makes them unique. The wine is suitable for blending with the wine varieties Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, as well as with wine used for repairmen of their colour.

The Macedonian wine from Vranec variety has an intense, dark red colour. It exhibits a varietal and rich scent with aroma of ripe fruits. The taste is full, with gentle structure and harmony. The young wines have a light purple color, with an aroma of strawberry jam and wild berries and firm tannins structure with potential to ripe in oak barrels. When the mellowing is finished, they provide quality, cultivating complex aroma of dry fruit and cocoa. This wine has a harmony of complex aromas similar to wild berries, rich tannins, chocolate and liquor.

The Vranec wine pairs well with all Macedonian dishes, as well as with red meat, game, barbeque and smoked meat.

We recommend our Vranec 2011 by Popova Kula and our Vranec 2013 by Chateau Sopot.

Stanushina

This Macedonian indigenous variety is something that you would not be able to find in any other place in the world. It is also known as Gradesh and Black Stanushina.

Stanushina originates from the Tikves wine district where it is mostly widespread. Before the appearance of phylloxera, it was the main variety in this region and it characterized the sort of strong, red, Tikves wines. Despite in Tikves distict, it was also grown in Ohrid, Bitola and other wine districts in Macedonia, but in limited areas.

The main feature of this variety is its durability. There was a period in the past when it was about to become extinct because no one paid it any attention, but it survived. The tendency of international varieties in the past, on a higher level destructed the existence of this Macedonian variety. Today, the Stanushina finally receives all the attention it deserved.

Stanushina is an old variety that has been grown in the Tikves vineyards for a longer period of time. The time of its growing brought to heterogeneity among the population and appearance of varieties that differ between themselves in the skin colour, the sugar substance and the final output. The new vine plantations in Tikves region, mostly around Demir Kapija, are grown from the special selection varieties. The well-chosen vines with dark blue colour grapes and high amount of sugar substance produce high quality red wines.

The cluster is of medium size, cylindrical shape and usually without wings. The berry is round and medium-sized. The skin is dark blue, with tiny rusty spots, around which the unwaxed rings are formed, which is a distinctive sign for the variety.

October is the ripening month in the Tikves district. The vine has got straight and strong vine sprouts that enable the growth without supporting construction. It is highly resistant to drought which is considered as a positive feature. The grapes require special attention and serious commitment. On a good vintage, it can produce a wine with mean strengths of 11 to 12 percent alcohol.

The color of the wine made of Stanushina is characteristically pale, but it has a rich extract and high acidity level which give the wine an exquisite freshness. People with refined taste adore this wine and never miss the opportunity to grab a bottle of wine for themselves when visiting Macedonia.

The wine has an intense aroma of strawberry, raspberry, and the fruity notes are best enjoyed when the wine is consumed young at 10 to 16°C. It’s an excellent choice to combine it with light and creamy puddings. The main features of the wine are mostly expressed when served with lettuce, sarma (Balkan dish), stuffed bell peppers or some light dishes.

We recommend our Stanushina Rose by Popova Kula.

Chardonnay

In Macedonia, it can be mostly found in Skopje, Veles and Tikves districts, with a tendency of further spreading. It ripens at the beginning of September in the Tikves vineyards, and determining the optimal date for harvest is of exceptional significance for the quality of wine production.

The Macedonian wines from Chardonnay variety generally have two characteristic styles.

The first one is characterized by its freshness and fruity aromas dominate, like apple, citrus and banana.

The second style is characterized by the oak taste as a result of the ripening in oak barrels. The flowery and spicy aromas are dominant in this style.

It can be stated that Chardonnay is the happiest combination of all the varieties: Macedonian viticulturists want to grow it, the wineries want to manufacture it and everybody wants to drink it.

We recommend our limited Chardonnay Barrique Grand Reserva 2012.

Sauvignon Blanc

In Macedonia, it can be found in Skopje, Kumanovo, Tikves and Ovcepole districts, and in smaller areas it can be noticed in other vineyards, too. In Skopje vineyards ripens at the beginning of September and is abundant in vine.

The identity that Sauvignon possesses comes from its vegetative and herbal aroma that originates from the pyrazines, compounds characteristic for this variety. Depending on the clone, climate conditions and the usage of ampelotechnical measures, the aroma can vary significantly. This variety grown under the Macedonian sun gives high quality dry white wine characterized by yellow-green colour, a fresh herbal scent and harmonious flavour, complemented with aromas of mango and grapefruit.

We recommend our Sauvignon Blanc by Popova Kula.

Merlot

Merlot finally arose from the Cabernet Sauvignon’s shadow and found the place in the prestige club of international varieties in Macedonia that was long ago deserved. In Macedonia, it started being grown in the 1950s as a quite perspective variety for the climate conditions. Nowadays, it can be found in Skopje, Kumanovo, Veles, Tikves, Ovcepole, Ohrid and Bitola wine districts.

It ripens in the second half of September in the Tikves vineyards, at least a week before Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has got deep, ruby to dark red colour. The aroma complex is rich with plumb, blueberry, green pepper and menthol, as well as vanilla and chocolate. In the cooler Macedonian vineyards like those in Ohrid and Bitola, Merlot makes wine with more herbal aroma while in warmer climates like in Veles and Tikves districts, the aroma of dry fruit and spices dominates. It is suitable for ripening in oak barrels that later make complex, full wines. The wine produced from grape from old plantations has greater specifications.

One of the characteristics of Merlot variety when grown in the warmer climates in Macedonia is that in short time it can over ripen just a few days after it has reached its full ripe. Some experts recommend earlier harvest to keep the level of acids and enlarge the potential for its preservation. According to others, the over ripen grape will give body and better quality of the wine.

We recommend our Cuvee 2013 with 30% Merlot by Chateau Sopot.

Pinot Noir

In Macedonia, it can be found in Veles, Kumanovo, Ovcepole, Bitola and other wine districts. It ripens at the beginning of September in the Veles vineyards. The cluster is small, cylindrical, long and compressed. The berry is small, dark blue coloured and with thin skin. The Black Burgundy is a lively variety that is hard to be resisted.

The young wines are characterized by easy, fruity aroma and as they ripen their taste turns to game animals or becomes spicy as a black truffle. The Macedonian Pinot Noir is a wine of terrific elegance and complexity, rich yet linear; pretty, but with depth and power.

We recommend our Pinot Noir Barrique Grand Reserva 2013 by Chateau Sopot and our exceptional Piniot Noir Rose 2014 by Chateau Sopot.