Skopje Wine Salon- Vinodonia 2017


The second Skopje Wine Salon- Vinodonia 2017, the most important wine event in the Republic of Macedonia, will be held at Marriott Hotel in Skopje on 1st and 2nd December. The wine salon, first of its kind in the country, is organized by Ivana Simjanovska, wine writer and international wine judge, Zvonko Herceg, wine expert (WSET), Aleksandar Vuchkovski, President of the Association of Sommeliers of the Republic of Macedonia under which auspices the event is organized, and Dejan Donev wine consultant.

Vinodonia was a major success last year as it gathered in one place the Macedonian wineries, as well as wineries from the Balkans and many other European countries such as Italy, France etc. This year, for the second time it will gather all the factors in the country’s wine industry, wine lovers, critics and journalists, as well representatives from the HoReCa sector, the business community and representatives from the embassies in the country and the region.
More than 40 wineries will be exhibitors at the Skopje Wine Salon- Vinodonia 2017, where you will have a unique opportunity to taste more than 300 different labels of wine. One day ticket for the wine salon is MKD 490 and can be bought at the entrance or online on the following link:…

This year’s programme is versatile and includes master classes of the wineries Chateau Kamnik, Tikves and Stobi, as well as workshops, wine tastings and food and wine pairings: Professional Riedel Glass Wine Tasting, educational workshop with Stefano Canello, Riedel Vice President of sales for Southeast Europe, Pairing Specialities from Dubrovnik with Macedonian Wines, given by Gino Premzic, one of the most renowed world chefs and owner of Konoba kod Marka restaurant, together with Sloboden Chokrevski, President of Slow Food Macedonia, Comparison of Montenegrin and Macedonian Vranec Wines with Danijela Radech, President of the Sommelier Association of Montenegro, together with Zvonko Herceg, wine expert (WSET), Sparkling wines from the Adriatic Sea Bed and Wines form Amphora with Ivo Kozarchanin, a wine journalist, a master class Bulgaria on the Wine Map. Let’s Explore it! given by Galina Todorova Niforou, BIWC president, The Secrets of the Stanushina- the Macedonian Pinot Noir with Prof. D-r Klime Beleski and Zvonko Herceg, and The Elegance of the Macedonian Temjanika with Ivana Simjanovska.

The price of the tickets for the master classes, workshops and wine tastings will be starting as of MKD 800 .


Premiile de Excelenta 2015, Bucharest, Romania

Sometimes I don’t stop travelling for weeks due to wine reasons and this year was no different. This November proved rather busier month than usual…
For the second time I received an invitation to judge at Premiile de Excelenta 2015, this year held in Bucharest, in addition to be appointed a president of my panel.

About the Competition
The Premiile de Excelenta, organised by the leading wine magazine in the country, took place over the course of two days (4th & 5th Nov) at the Tasting Room by Ethic Wine, having a wine shop bearing the same name just on the very same corner where the tasting room is located.
We got to judge wines in different categories, Romanian and international ones, all of them  divided according to the style of the wine, pertaining to the retail or HoReCa sector, as well as the price range.

After a two day wine tasting sessions, the following wines were awarded as the best each in a different category:

Best HORECA Wine from an indigenous Romanian grape variety
Gold Medals
Fetească neagră Divinitas 2013, Viile Sudului,
Experience (Fetească albă + Tămâioasă românească) 2014– Ecoferm (Grup Cris Tim)

Tămâioasă românească Colocviu la Roma 2014, Casa de Vinuri Cotnari
Best Retail Wine from and indigenous Romanian grape variety
Gold Medal
Busuioacă de Bohotin dulce 2012, Crama Basilescu

Best Wine from both an indigenous Romanian as well as international varieties
Merlot Private Selection 2013 by Liliac Winery

Gold Medals
Cuvee IX 2012, LacertA
Cabernet Sauvignon + Merlot 2011, Cuvee Tanc 6, WineRo
Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Crama Răteşti
Cabernet Sauvignon Origini 2012, Budureasca
Merlot + Cabernet Sauvignon + Fetească neagră 2011, Tanc 3, WineRo
Shiraz Origini 2013, Budureasca
Origini Reserve 2013, Budureasca
La Muşat 2012, Budureasca pentru Crama Muşat
Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Crama Răteşti
Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Budana 2, Licorna Winehouse
Fume Premium 2014, Budureasca
Primordial Chardonnay + Sauvignon Blanc + Muscat Ottonel 2014, Domeniile Bogdan
Sauvignon Blanc Hermeziu 2014, Domeniile Lungu
Merlot + Cabernet Sauvignon + Fetească Neagră Domeniile Ostrov Grand Reserve 2011, Ostrovit
Cuvee Nicolae Red 2013, Domeniile Tohani
Noble 5 2013, Budureasca
Best Imported Wine
Gold Medals
Cabernet Sauvignon Ecos de Rulo Bisquertt 2010, AlmaTim
Chenin Blanc Douceur d’Octobre 2011, Vinexpert
Carmenere Cuvee Misiones de Rengo 2012, Vinexpert
Carmenere Ecos de Rulo Bisquertt 2010, AlmaTim
Faustino I Gran Reserva 2001, AlmaTim
Sauvignon Blanc Rimapere 2014, Vinexpert

For the full list of medal winners, please follow the link

The Romanian Wine Scene
Much to say really, and not only referring to the Romanian wines only. Having had the chance to attend a wine tasting organised by Smart Drinks, one of the best Romanian wine importers, I indulged myself in Champagne ( most notable for me was Besserat de Bellefon Cuvee Des Moines Brut Millesime 2002), attended a Barolo Master Class, and enjoyed some fine wines from Lebanon, Greece, …

The Romanian wine scene has been blooming for the past few years in regards to raising the bar of domestic wine culture- lots of wine tasting events being held regularly, many newly opened wine shops to supply the recently evolved Romanian palate with international labels, as well as to please the domestic and the visitor’s curiosity to explore the abundance of Romanian indigenous grape varieties.
For all those wine people coming from countries where their wine history had been written years, even centuries ago, this might not be a fact to be thrilled about but as I come from a wine country that has been (re)creating its wine history for the past decade or so, this is an important point of reference for comparison.

My Romanian Wine Highlights
Liliac Winery and their winning wine, Merlot Private Selection, deserved to be awarded the best Romanian Wine at Premiile de Excelenta 2015- much refined and elegant.

As always, I very much enjoy the complexity of the Feteasca Neagras and this year my favourites were the ones from Crama Basilescu ( Feteasca Neagra 2009), LacertA winery ( Feteasca Neagra 2012) and Feteasca Neagra 2013 by Domenile Sahateni.

Feteasca Regala Vine in Flames 2014 by Budureasca Winery, Feteasca Regala 2014 by Liliac Winery and Grasa de Cotnari Colocviu 2014 by CV Cotnari Winery were some of my white wine highlights from Romanian indigenous white varieties.

Quite an exceptional Shiraz Origini 2013 and Cabernet Sauvignon Origini 2012 by Budureasca Winery (again!).

Other noted wines and wineries- Busuioacă de Bohotin dulce 2012 by Crama Basilescu Winery, an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 by Cantea Winery ( Dealu Mare, Fintesti) and an intriguing Pinot Noir 2011 by LacertA winery



Champagne Tasting at the Begining of a Macedonian Harvest

As 2015 harvest has officially began in Macedonia, this text should be about nothing else than Macedonian wines, the grapes, the state of the vineyards, the ongoing harvest, …And in the forthcoming days, it will be so. However, these lines are about an enjoyable day spent tasting some of the best champagnes to celebrate the beginning, of what seems to be, an excellent vintage.

Somewhere between the destemming, pressing and filling the tanks at Chateau Kamnik winery (one of the three wineries in Skopje where I do my practice), we tasted some fine champagnes among them 2006 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Krug Grand Cuvée Brut and Taittinger 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. My list that follows and order of the Champagnes is according to my preference.

Taittinger 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut

Taittinger is one of the oldest Champagne houses based in Reims in France. The winery, after a recent tumultuous ownership history, is now again back in the hands of the Taittinger family. In their possession they have 288 hectares of prime vineyards and produces 5 million bottles annually. The vineyards in this region, Côtes de Bar, are one of the most expensive in the world with a staggering price of 1.8 million Euros a hectare.

Taittinger 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut was a pure enjoyment for all senses. Beginning as intriguing as all that followed later on. Almonds, lilies, and just hints of citrus and toasty notes on the nose. Multi layered and equally rich taste with creamy nuances, white peach tones, more toastiness and balanced and crispy acidity. Silky texture that revealed elegant nutty notes with additional hints of vanilla. Absolutely lovely & amazing aging potential!! Silkiness is the only word that I would use to describe this Champagne in just one single word.

Krug Grand Cuvée Brut

Krug is also one of the better known Champagne houses primarily based in Reims, France. Though it is owned by the LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.E. conglomerate, the Krug family is still involved in the wineries’ future, though less in the every day winemaking processes.

Krug Grand Cuvée Brut is a blend of 120 wines from a selection of 10 or more vintages and different vineyards, re-created on yearly basis. I’ve founded it classy, quite fresh and balanced. Lovely freshness on the nose, followed by abundance of herbal and fine toasty notes. Good structure, rich and complex taste and though the acidity was quite present, it was well balanced. 

2006 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime

Louis Roederer is just another Champagne chouse based in Reims, Champagne and unlike the other two above mentioned, it remains until today as one of the only independent family-run house. The winery is in possession of 240 hectares located in three main growing zones in Champagne, the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, and the Côte des Blancs. Yearly, around 3.5 million of bottles of Loiuis Roederer Champagne are sold from the winery to more than 100 countries. 

2006 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime was maybe the freshest of all the champagnes we tasted, but quite boisterous in crisp acidity (no need to mention a balanced one). Some fine citrusy and apple notes and just hints of tangerine on the nose. The taste follows the nose and is equally rich in agrumes and good minerality, though not over-accentuated. I would leave this Champagne in the cellar for some time more to age slowly and in a good direction.

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2015, Jesolo, Italy

Three times it’s a charm they say. My third year in a row as part of the wine judging jury at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, third time the only representative from Macedonia at the competition so far and a third occasion to meet again my fellow wine judges, wine critics and one of the most influental people in the wine world. Well, to be honest, we kind of meet even more often these days. 

The Italian seaside resort of Jesolo, just a stone’s throw from Venice, was the venue where the 22nd  Concours Mondial de Bruxelles took place this year. The wine competition lasted for three days,  from 01st – 03rd May, and brought attention to the Veneto and its 21 appellations located within the wine region surrounding Jesolo, including Valpolicella and Soave, as well as the world famous Prosecco. 
Let me give you the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in numbers so you would get a clearer picture of this wine machine- 8020 wines from 45 producer countries were entered in the competition, more than 299 wine judges from 49 nationalities  from across the world divided in 50 judging panels scored the wines and more than 70 young sommeliers from AIS during the three days of the competition walked more than 500 km serving wines to the wine tasters. The worlds most prominent sommeliers, importers, buyers, wine writers and journalists give credibility to this wine competition like to no any other I have seen, attended or tasted at. 
The organisation- impeccable as every year. Concours Mondial de Bruxelles has one of the most well organised teams that every year makes sure the competition, both the one on stage where the tasters taste the wines and the one off stage, visit to the wineries, CMB activities run smoothly. Scoring the wines, scoring the tasters, is all part of the CMB system. After each competition every judge receives a statistics of their scoring, giving them an insight in the consistency of their work compared to the other fellow wine judges as well as a sort of a grading of your own wine tasting skills. 
The Wine Region of Veneto- Conegliano Valdobbiadene, Prosecco DOCG Superiore and Soave
Visit to some of the wineries in the most prominent wine regions of Veneto, Conegliano Valdobbiadene and Soave were part of the planned wine trips. The winery (La cantina) Ornella Molon was first one on the list. Situated in Campo di Pietra (Treviso) holding both the DOC Venezia and DOC Piave as well as having vineyards in Prepotto (Udine) Friuli, DOC Friuli Colli Orientali. 
A visit to Bellenda Winery, situated in the heart of the Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG was a treat after a long first day of wine tastings. In addition to the sparklers, it also produces Colli di Conegliano DOC as well. A visit to Soave and some of its prominent wineries was also scheduled after the second day of wine tasting. 
The gala dinner took place on the last day on the island of San Servolo, only a short boat ride from Venice. Bottles of Amarone della Valpolicella, Prosecco and some very fine examples of wines from throughout the world were passed among the tasters, conclusion of the best tasted samples were shared and many laughters with loads of jokes applicable only to wine geeks were exchanged. 

Macedonian Wines at CMB 
The Macedonian wines were present in the array of world wide wines for the third time at this prestigious wine competition. This year they won five medals from seven entered samples- Chateau Kamnik Winery won a gold and a grand gold medal for their Cuvee de Prestige 2013, being also pronounced as one of the six CMB Revelations for 2015 and Tikves Winery won four medals in total: two golds for Alexandria Cuvee Red 2013 and Alexandria Cuvee Rose 2014, as well as for their Temjanika Special Selection 2014 and Vranec Special Selection 2013. It is actually with a gripping interest that Macedonian wines are so welcomed at CMB every year and the tasters are looking forward to tasting Macedonia  wines seeing them as a part of the upcoming Balkan potential. 
Bulgaria and the Town of Plovdiv to Host the Next Edition of Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2016
The next edition of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles will take place from 29th April to 01st May in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. This comes as no wonder or surprise as the town of Plovdiv has recently been appointed as cultural capital of Europe for 2019. It seems that Bulgaria has been slowly but rightfully pacing towards becoming a centre of the Balkan wine scene. The Digital Wine Communications Conference 2015 is also taking place in Plovdiv in October this year, as well as the Balkans International Wine Competition, taking place in Sofia for the fourth time later this month, thus attracting the world wine attention to this up and rising wine country. 
Please find the complete results on the following link: