Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > A Tasting at the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia

A Tasting at the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia


Last week I joined John from MacArthur Beverages in attending the “Wines of Macedonia” tasting at the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia. Hosted by the Ambassador Zoran Jolevski, there were over 50 wines poured from eight different wineries.  Spread out over two rooms there was an ample supply of clean glasses in to which everyone poured a generous amount of wine for tasting. For those in need of sustenance there were appetizers available during the tasting. At one point several of us were invited into the next room for an introduction by the Ambassador and a short presentation from Gorgi Petrusev the Executive Director of Wines of Macedonia.  Macedonia has an ancient wine culture pre-dating the Romans.  Starting in the 1950s decades of production by large conglomerates left the industry focused on bulk production.  Smaller wineries started appearing in the early 1990s and in early 2000 several international programs begin working with Macedonian wineries to facilitate the production of high quality bottled wine for export.  The wineries present at the tasting all have updated facilities, estate vineyards, and international presence.  Exports to the United States are small so tastings like this will be one step to increase awareness.

The Embassy of the Repubic of Macedonia

I walked into the Embassy having never tried a wine from the Republic of Macedonia. At times I find it best to know nothing about what I taste for I can focus solely on what is in my glass. I only took a few hours off from work so I did my best to taste as many wines as possible. When I left the large tables were laid with lunch, precipitating a relaxed buzz of voices as people ate and drank.

In general there was a variety in quality with all of the wines being well-made.  I found the white wines showed good freshness. The Chardonnay based wines were mostly consistent with ripe flavors, good body, spices, and controlled use of oak which should have broad appeal. In terms of the red wines I preferred those made from Vranec, Plavec, and Kratosija. These indigenous varietals were balanced between the black and red fruit, acidity, and supporting tannic structure.  Two particular wines caught my attention and I definitely recommend you seek them out. My favorite wine was the 2011 Tikves, Barova white which danced on my tongue. My second favorite was the 2008 Dalvina, Muscateller, Rose with its surprisingly fresh and floral flavors. There were several other enjoyable wines which you may find in my short notes below.

Bovin Winery

Jani Bogevski, Bovin Winery

Bovin Winery was founded in 1998 and today produces wines from 60 hectares of vineyards in Tikves.  Except for the last two, all of the wines tasted were fermented and aged in stainless steel.  The last two barrique wines are aged soley in Macedonian oak.  I particularly liked the 2010 Vranec, 2009 Alexander, and 2010 Dissan.

2011 Bovin Winery, Symphony, Tikves
This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. There was a riper nose followed by tart fruit in the mouth. Clean and forward.

2011 Bovin Winery, Chardonnay, Tikves
This wine is 100% Chardonnay. The ripe nose had texture. In the mouth the white and yellow fruit has good body with nice, sweet spices, and a good aftertaste.

2011 Bovin Winery, Muscat Temjanika, Tikves
This semi-dry wine is 100% Muscat Temjanika sourced from the Lepovo Hills. The nose reveals soft, tropical fruits along with melon. In the mouth the flavors are sweet and somewhat tart. Though supported by lots of acidity it is a bit soft in the middle.

2009 Bovin Winery, Merlot, Tikves
This wine is 100% Merlot. The color is ruby with more garnet. The red nose is lighter with hard aromas of red fruit and toast. In the mouth the wine is fruity with a touch of black and red flavors, a grapey nature, and little grapey tannins.

2009 Bovin Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tikves
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The black cherry flavors are tarter and riper than the Merlot. Perhaps a little overripe this is nevertheless an approachable, drinkable wine.

2010 Bovin Winery, Vranec, Tikves
This wine is 100% Vranec. The nose is aromatic. In the mouth there are ripe, chewy, tart red fruit flavors with a dark undertone. The drying tannins are citrus-like.

2009 Bovin Winery, Alexander, Tikves
This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Vranec. The nose stands out with Vranec aromas. In the mouth there are chewy black cherry flavors showing concentration as the flavors become blacker towards the finish. This will clearly age.

2010 Bovin Winery, Cabernet Franc, Tikves
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. The decent nose makes way to a little spritz in the mouth. The berry flavors were a touch warm with a Cabernet Franc personality and spicy finish.

2010 Bovin Winery, Kleopatra, Tikves
This semi-dry wine is 100% Cabernet Franc. There is a subtle, sweaty and berry nose. The wine starts off with a similar spritz as off-dry black and blue fruit come out. There are gritty tannins.

2009 Bovin Winery, Syrah Superior, Tikves
This wine is 100% Syrah. The aromatic nose reveals black fruit. The wine is fuller in the mouth with ripe, red fruit.

2010 Bovin Winery, Petit Verdot, Tikves
This wine is 100% Petit Verdot. The nose reveals delicate berries. In the mouth there are ripe, tart, and puckering flavors which become a little inky and chewy. This varietal shows potential, could be interesting in subsequent vintages.

2008 Bovin Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barrique, Tikves
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Lepovo Hills then aged for 12 months in Macedonian oak. The nose reveals red fruit and wood notes. In the mouth there is fine concentration to this taught wine with flavors of tobacco, forest, and smoke.

2010 Bovin Winery, Dissan, Tikves
This wine is 100% Vranec sourced from 40 year old vines from a single vineyard. It was aged for six months in 100% new Macedonian oak barrels. The nose is finely textured with focused black and red fruit. In the mouth the flavors are powerful with ripe, tart, and chewy drying tannins and a spicy aftertaste. There is a strong enjoyable, Vranec character throughout.

Stobi Winery

Jadranka Klaric Kimovska, Stobi Winery

Stobi Winery is a young winery located in Tikves.  It utilizes the latest technology from Italy and Germany.  For aging in wood the winery uses 70% big oval casks and 30% barriques.  I preferred the 2011 Chardonnay, Barrique.

2011 Stobi Winery, Zilavka, Traditional, Tikves
This wine is 100% Zilavka sourced from estate vineyards. The wine is a light yellow color. There are white, floral fruits on the nose. In the mouth there is a hint of ripeness at first then the flavors firm up into lightness. There are spice notes and moderate acidity.

2011 Stobi Winery, Rkaciteli, Classic, Tikves
This wine is 100% Rkaciteli sourced from estate vineyards. The lightest color yet. The very light nose makes way to a little riper palate with gentle personality, less obvious acidity, and spices.

2011 Stobi Winery, Riesling, Classic, Tikves
This wine is 100% Riesling sourced from estate vineyards. In the glass it is a light green-yellow color. There are delicate and subtle notes of wood. The light-bodied yellow fruit flavors are innocuous with acidity. It is a bit smooth and a little chewy.

2011 Stobi Winery, Chardonnay, Barrique, Premium?, Tikves
This wine is 100% Chardonnay aged in a mixture of American, French, and Slavonian oak. In the glass it is a light yellow color. There is a gently ripe Chardonnay nose. In the mouth the flavors taste like ripe, yellow fruit from American Chardonnay with good acidity and a touch of viscosity to the body.

2010 Stobi Winery, Pinot Noir, Classic, Tikves
This wine is a blend of 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Vranec sourced from estate vineyards. The nose was overripe. In the mouth the flavors taste like watery Pinot Noir fruit forced into concentration. It tastes tired.

2009 Stobi Winery, Vranec, Classic, Tikves
This wine is 100% Vranec sourced from estate vineyards. There is a dark, black cherry color. The Vranec flavors mix with tart, citrus tannins. The wine is chewy as the flavors become soft in the middle with plenty of spicy, fine, drying tannins followed by interesting stone notes in the aftertaste.

2009 Stobi Winery, Merlot, Classic, Tikves
This wine is 100% Merlot sourced from estate vineyards. The nose reveals vegetal, stemmy fruit. The mouth follows the nose but is more interesting, showing concentration and an inky character.

2009 Stobi Winery, Vranec Veritas, Premium, Tikves
This wine is 100% Vranec sourced from estate vineyards with reduced yields. The nose is richer and almost overripe. In the mouth the black cherry flavors are a touch oxidated before turning soft and tart in the middle with a racy character. I suspect this was an off bottle.

Tikves

Katerina Kostovska, Tikves Winery

Tikves Winery has 19th century origins but the contemporary winery was completely upgraded in 2003.   Chardonnay, Merlot, and Vranec is sourced from 500 hectares of estate vineyards.  Additional fruit is sourced from local growers.  All five of these wines showed well so it is not surprising that this winery is already imported into the United States by Eric Solomon Selections. What I did find surprising is that Philippe Cambie is the consulting oenologist.  He started working with Tikves Winery in 2009 to produce wine aimed for the international market.  He has helped produce wines from the Barova and Vela Voda vineyards.  As Katerina poured a glass of the Barova white she mentioned it was mostly Grenache Blanc which caught my attention.  What I tasted caught my attention as well.  I would not hesitate to try any of their wines.  Thank you to John Kimball and Kristin Butke of Eric Solomon Selections for providing the suggested retail prices.

2011 Tikves, R’Kaciteli, Special Selection, Tikves – $10
This wine is 100% Rkaciteli sourced from 15 year old vines. It was fermented in stainless steel. It is a very light color in the glass. The nose is light with aromas of pure, clean, tropical fruit. The mouth follows the nose with good fruit, acidity, and a pleasing nature.

2011 Tikves, Barova, Tikves – $21
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache Blanc and 30% Chardonnay sourced from 25 year old vines. 70% of the fruit was both fermented then aged for 7 months sur lees in oak barrels. 30% was fermented in stainless steel. There is good, chewy fruit, really well done, with sweet spices, acidity which dances on the tongue, and a long aftertaste. A good wine worth drinking.

2010 Tikves, Vranec, Special Selection, Tikves – $10
This wine is 100% Vranec sourced from 25 year old vines which were fermented in stainless steel. It was aged for 12 months in vat. The nose is subtle. In the mouth there are flavors of ripe fruit, salami, and stone. The tannins are tamed making it quite approachable.

2010 Tikves, Bela Voda, Tikves – $21
This wine is a blend of 70% Plavec and 30% Vranec sourced from 35 year old vines which were fermented in stainless steel tanks. It underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged for eight months in big oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. There is a dark nose of berries. In the mouth the blue and red fruit is concentrated, inky, and mixed with good, ripe tannins.

2010 Tikves, Barova, Tikves – $21
This wine is a blend of 85% Kratosija and 15% Vranec sourced from 35 year old vines which were fermented in stainless steel tanks. It underwent malolactic fermentation then was aged in big oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. The nose is restrained. In the mouth the red fruit flavors have a tilt towards tartness with decent body and enjoyably chewy, ripe, citrus tannins.

Ezmit-Vino

Danov Petar, Ezimit Vino

Ezmit Vino winery was founded in 1993 and underwent a complete rebuild in 2001. Today there are 200 hectares of 20 year old vineyards containing Vranec, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and Muscat Ottonel. There are an additional 240 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Plavac.  I enjoyed the 2008 Merlot, Single Vineyard the most.

2010 Ezmit-Vino, Plavac & Vranec
This wine is a blend of Plavac and Vranec sourced from the Ovce Pole region. The nose reveals almost fishy oak. The flavors are mouth-filling with some texture and softness. The darker red fruits firms up with drying tannins before black berries come out in the aftertaste.

2008 Ezmit-Vino, Merlot, Single Vineyard
This wine is 100% Merlot sourced from the Ovce Pole region. The nose is subtle. In the mouth the concentrated red fruit has a good mouthfeel and fine tannins.

2009 Ezmit-Vino, Cuvee
This wine is a blend of 65% Kratosija and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose is soft and approachable. In the mouth there are black cherry flavors, very fine integrated tannins, and drier fruit.

2008 Ezmit-Vino, Vranec, Barrique
This wine is 100% Vranec whic was aged for 12 months in American oak. There were soft, black and red fruit with spicy tannins.

Dalvina

Dalvin Winery is located in the Strumichko-Radovishki wine region. While the Ar-Magedon was quite appealing, I was excited by the Muscateller, Rose. Not only my favorite wine from this producer but one of the best at the tasting.

2009 Dalvina, Sauvignon Blanc
This was a very light color in the glass. The nose is aromatic but subtle in the mouth. There is sweet fruit, residual sugar, toast notes, and marked acidity as it softens in the finish.

2009 Dalvina, Chardonnay, Barrique
The color is a light, green yellow. There is a toasty Chardonnay nose with soft fruit, toast, and a soft finish. A bit too many barrel notes for my preference.

2008? Dalvina, Muscateller, Rose
The color is a medium rose. In the mouth there are floral flavors of rose, good body, mouthfilling flavors, Muscat aftertaste, and a very fresh nature. A good wine which was a pleasure to taste.

2008 Dalvina, Ar-Magedon, Barrique
There is a good blend of black cherry and blue fruit. The wine is very approachable with integrated tannins and acidity, a cool aspect, and hints of earth. Enjoyable.

Popova Kula Winery

Popova Kula finished construction of their winery in 2005 with their hotel and restaurant being completed in 2009.  The winery produces wines from 11 different varietals.  Stanushina, Vranec and Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced from estate vineyards with the others sourced from growers in the Demir Kapija region.  Of the wines I tasted I thought the Chardonnay, Classic was their standout.

2011 Popova Kula, Chardonnay, Classic, Tikves
This wine is 100% Chardonnay fermented in stainless steel. The color was light yellow. In the mouth there are racy, ripe, tropical fruit flavors which develop a green-apple tartness. The wine is a bit gritty with concentration, spices, and drying tannins. While I would not guess this as Macedonian, it was a good wine which should appeal to many.

2011 Popova Kula, Stanushina, Rose, Tikves
This wine is 100% Stanushina sourced from vineyards located at 600 meters in the Tikveshiya region. This was a salmon color in the glass. There were dry, nutty flavors of roses, acidity, tart finish, and perhaps a touch of fruit.

2009 Popova Kula, Cabernet Sauvignon, Classic, Tikves
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented in stainless steel and also underwent malolactic fermentation. There were soft, fishy red fruit and stems.

2010 Popova Kula, Vranec, Classic, Tikves
This wine is 100% Vranec, including some dried berries picked during late harvest, which was fermented in stainless steel and also underwent malolactic fermentation.. There was a black cherry nose which followed into the mouth with moderate ripeness, and quality acidity.

Chateau Kamnik

Chateau Kamnik is located near Skopje and currently has 11 hectares of vineyards are 300 meters.  The wines are fermented in stainless steel the undergo malolactic fermentation in oak barrels where they are also aged.  They employ a mixture of French, American, and Hungarian oak.  My favorite of the three was the Ten Barrels, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve for its appealing fruit and cedar notes.

2009 Chateau Kamnik, Ten Barrels, Syrah
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from estate vineyards. It was aged for 14 months in American oak barrels. The nose reveals red fruit and toast notes. In the mouth the pepper and toast notes overwhelm the red fruit.

2007 Chateau Kamnik, Ten Barrels, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Skopje district. It was aged for 24 months in new French and American oak barrels. There were soft, cedar notes in the mouth. The blue and red fruit has good mouthfeel, integrated tannins, and some spices. This was a decent, easy to drink wine.

2009 Chateau Kamnik, Merlot, Single-Vineyard
This wine is 100% Merlot which was aged for 18 months in new oak barrels. There were lots of spicy, fine drying tannins, a little stemmy, and some odd flavors.

Dudin Winery

Dudin Winery was founded in 1989 in the Tikvesh region. The winery was completely updated in 2004 and now has modern wine equipment. I randomly tried the Akrato wine from the ice bucket and was very pleased.  Unfortunately I had to leave at this point and could not taste their other wines.

2008 Dudin Winery, Akrato, Barrique, Tikves
This wine is 100% Chardonnay which was aged for 12 months in oak barrels. There was ripe, supple yellow fruit showing a bit of texture. There were some toast notes, integrated acidity, and a tangy aspect. This was a good wine to work around the mouth due to the pleasurable mouthfeel. This is aging well.

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