Temjanika Smolnik 2013 by Popov Winery, Tikves Wine District
On first occasion I thought this Temjanika would be my summer hit. I was clearly wrong as it proved to be my all year round favourite Temjanika. This delicate wine is obtained from grapes coming from Smolnik, one of the two micro-localities surrounding Popov winery. The wine opens itself with every following swirl revealing its complexity- it begins with aromas of white peaches, fresh basil, apple blossom and citrus aromas, and then follows in a more serious manner of wet stone and chalk notes. The taste follows in the same manner, rich in gooseberries, honeycomb and quite mineral due to the clay-stone composition of the soil in the Smolnik micro-locality. My kudos go to Petar Mancev, Popov’s oenologist, a winemaker with a clear vision. The price of 330 MKD makes it an unbeatable sample of a refined Macedonian Temjanika.
Stanusina 2013 by Brusani Winery, Skopje Wine District
Refined, elegant, complex, enjoyable, and for a price of 370 MKD, the quality-price is unbeatable. Brusani’s 77 year old vineyards of only 0,6 ha of Stanusina are located in the village of Begniste, near the Tikves Lake, while the winery is located in Skopje, in the village of Sopishte. The winery’s vineyards are planted on hill sides at altitude of 400 m. Interesting to mention is that Stanushina is the only indigenous grape variety to Macedonia while the genetic analysis show it has unknown parents. Orce Dimitrievski, the winery’s owner and winemaker, is fully dedicated to making wines only from Vranec & Stanusina, pursuing biodynamical approach in the vineyards and minimal intervention in the cellar.
This Stanushina shows noticeable viscosity in the glass & the nose reveals raspberries, red currants & the taste follows in the same manner- quite refined with notes of sour cherries, cornel-cherries, strawberries & additional hints of dry forest herbs accompanied with a lovely streak of acidity.
Bela Voda Red 2012 by Tikves Winery, Tikves Wine District
My efforts to find more samples of this wine often proved useless as it sold out faster, than it actually spent time on the busy wine shelves in the country.
One thing is sure, Marko Stojakovic and his team of enologists are doing a tremendous work in the oldest winery in Macedonia. Bela Voda Red 2012 is a blend of equal portions of Vranec & Plavac Mali, having spent 15 months in 30% concrete tanks and 70% in new and one year old barrels while the grapes come from Tikves’s Bela Voda vineyards.
I enjoy this one very much, as on every sniff it opens in layers, and the taste is just as complex as the nose. Almost inky in the glass and aromas of dried fruit- blueberries, red currants and figs, and additional undertones of crème de cassis and graphite. The taste is smooth, elegant with cherry syrup, liquorice and locust bean aromas and impressive minerality due to the composition of the sandy-clay soil. Full-bodied wine, with balance of fruit and tannins, as well as an impressive finish. At a retailers price of 900 MKD it’s worth every drop.
Prokupec 2013 by Popova Kula
Light colour reds are not common in a sunshine drenched country like Macedonia. Somewhat surprisingly, I have found myself becoming an admirer to these light and playful reds like this Prokupec. Very elegant on the nose, with abundance of sour cherries and vanilla hints. More sour cherries and gooseberries in the taste, good and firm acidity and lovely playful sense on the palate.
Popova Kula is one of the very few wineries dedicated to growing indigenous and regional grape varieties. Prokupec is the pride of Serbia, also Serbia being the country of origin. Ekaterina Gargova, the winemaker that signs this wine, traveled to Serbia on few occasions to understand (and learn) why the Serbians have mastered the art of making fine refined samples of Prokupec. Ekaterina, and her right hand at the time, Marina Krstevska, have made an exceptional Prokupec proudly presenting the potential that this wine has in a sunshine country like Macedonia. The price of 330 MKD makes it attractive for wine consumers & winelovers.
Zilavka 2013 by Stobi Winery, Tikves Wine District
In the sea of reds made by Stobi Winery, I opted for a white one. The answer is simple- this Zilavka is fresh, fragrant, light, enjoyable, even giddy at moments, as well as pleasing to a beginner’s or a more sophisticated palate. The taste is rich in citrus, ripe lemon and very delicate hazelnuts notes. Zilavka is a regional grape variety originating from the town of Mostar in Hercegovina and has been grown in Macedonia with a good success. However, much is owed to Stobi for putting this grape variety en vogue in the country once again.
This Zilavka is to be drunk solo or as an accompaniment to starters and salads. And for a retail price of 200 MKD, it is no wonder it was sold out in no time, though mostly to the US market. Stobi winery is lead by an already proved duo of enologists, Dane Jovanov & his father, Gjorgji Jovanov Hermes, a wine legend, in addition to the winery’s young team of enologists.
Traminec 2014 by Pivka Winery, Tikves Wine District
It’s an undeniable fact that the small, family owned wineries in the country, struggle a lot on the saturated domestic wine market. Should they be lucky, they would be export oriented, just like Pivka Winery. The winery is located in the Tikves Wine District and mostly buys grapes for their needs only from the same area.
This Traminec is fragrant with aromas of white flowers, honey, citrus and lime. The taste is rich, revealing a combination of more white flowers like lily of the valley and rose petals as well as sugar crystal notes. Refreshing acidity and prolonged aftertaste. For a price of 300 MKD this Traminec has a lot to offer during the summer days, the autumn days and all the other days.