The 2014 vintage was not inclined to the grape growers and winery owners in most of the world wine regions and Macedonia was undoubtedly one of them. The heavy rain pours in the middle of the harvest, late August and beginning of September, have certainly made some damages in the vineyards all over the country. Being a witness of this, as I had traveled around the country at that time and visited many of the wineries, it would be hard not but share my compassion with many of them. Looking on the bright side, most of the white grape varieties, were harvested literaly just moments before the rain hit the vineyards thus saving most of the good crops.
Some changes have also taken part in some of the wineries in the country. One of them is certainly the leave of one of my favourite enologists, Ekaterina Gargova, until recently the head at the Popova Kula’s winery as well as her right hand, the young and talented enologist Marina Koceva. It was a sad day as we came to say farewell. However, the winery remains in good hands as we have the highly respected Nana Gargova, until recently an enologist at Dudin Winery, coming in her place. The lovely ladies invited me to go through the 2014 vintage and discuss the prospects of 2015. So, here are my wine tasting notes of the wines we’ve tasted over a five hour get together at Popova Kula Winery.
Classic Sauvignon Blanc 2014- Surprisingly fresh, aromatic and exceptional sample of Macedonian Sauvignon Blanc. Aromas of boxwood, freshly cut green grass and green tomato leaves. The taste is full and abundant in more green bell peppers, citrus and grassy notes.
Classic Zilavka 2014- The nose showed aromas of green peppers and citrus. The taste followed in the same manner with a mix of young lemons and green apples. Although rather one dimensional, it was a very refreshing wine with a very pleasant acidity.
Classic Chardonnay 2014- Green bananas and freshly cut pineapple aromas. The acidity is lively and refreshing.
Classic Muscat 2014- A nose revealing lilies, citrus and hints of honey.
Classic Temjanika 2014- Lots of young green peaches, lemon and elderberry notes. Very firm body and pleasant acidity.
Classic Stanushina Rose’ 2014- Very dry even on the nose. It reveals aromas of stone candies, forest strawberries and raspberries. The taste is full of little berry fruits with a streak of firm acidity.
Classic Prokupec 2014 Now although young, this wine will develop nicely. Very elegant on the nose showing a mix of red flowers and spices.
Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2014- Now this one was a surprise! Typical Cabernet Sauvignon nose, black plums and dry red peppers. The body is full, revealing more roasted meaty red peppers, lots of spices and velvety structure. A true fruit and spice bomb!
Classic Vranec 2014- Harvested 10 days later than the first yield of Vranec grapes- a one that survived the rain. Having this in mind, I would have expected that it would be water diluted like but to my surprise it was very fruity on the nose, displaying a whole array of forest berries. The taste was equally powerful and full.
Perfect Choice Vranec 2012- Showing opulent dark ruby red colour and high viscosity in the glass. Aromas of meaty cherries, blueberries and hints of dark liquid chocolate. The taste is equally rich in dark blue and red berry fruits with additional hints of tobacco.
Wine Bridges Vranec 2013- This Vranec is from Ekaterina’s personal made collection although Nana had her hand in this particular vintage as well. Wine Bridges is a brand developed by Katja as a series of author’s wines which introduce different winemakers provoked by the local Balkan grape varieties. Here the wine is the bridge which people, preferences and cultures cross. Katja has also made Wine Bridges Mavrud in her home country- Bulgaria, and will continue doing so with the indigenous Balkan grape varieties all over the peninsula.
So much to find in this Vranec- red ground dry pepper, ripe dark plums and forest berries. Full bodied wine with a bouquet revealing a mix of peony flowers, red bell peppers, black pepper and other dark spices. One to look for!
Best wishes to Ekaterina and Marina and looking forward to future wine tasting together, in Macedonia and all around the wine world!