Tikves Vranec Special Selection 2015
Between Albania and Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) shares its southern border with Greece and Greece's wine appellation of the same name.
Though there are three main wine regions of Macedonia (FYROM), interest is growing also in the mountainous areas along the border. The established areas include Pcinya-Osogovo in the east, Pelagoniya-Polog in the west, and the central region of Povardarie (also called the Vardar River Valley). Povardarie is the most influential, including almost 90% of the country’s vineyard area, most of which are within this region’s Tikveš district.
Macedonia (FYROM) produces full-bodied red wines. Prevalent varieties include Vranec as well as Stanušina and Ohridsko Crno (the only genuinely indigenous varieties identified), Kratošija (aka Zinfandel) and a few international varieties. Žilavka, Župljanka, Temjanika (Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains), Smederevka, Rkatsiteli and Graševina are the sources of the fresh white wines of the area.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.