Macedonia is representative of Greece. In spite of its historic relationship with the likes of Aristotle and Alexander the Great, Macedonia has for centuries been at the center of wars and fluctuating rulers, and was just recently released from her political bonds with Yugoslavia.
Greece, practically as old as recorded history itself, is going through something of a rebirth. This is an arduous, tumultuous process as we can see from her economic turmoil, but perhaps from these ashes a new Greece will emerge — one based more on enterprise ideas, creativity and modern practices — and there’s evidence that this is already happening in her wine industry.
According to AllAboutGreekWine.com, there has been an influx of modern technology, investment and training throughout the Greek wine industry, much of it undertaken by private individuals. These foresighted entrepreneurs see an opportunity to get away from decades of government management of the wine industry, which until now has produced the usual results of low production, mediocre quality and slow growth.
The lack of continuity and stability severely impacted Macedonia’s wine industry. It was further impacted by the phylloxera epidemic, but now is on the rebound, thanks to the ideal climate and dedicated vintners.
This Greek wine region is bordered by Kosovo, Serbia, Albania and Bulgaria, and you can certainly hear the Balkan influence in some of the major Macedonian varietals’ names: red Vranec, and whites Traminec, and Zilavka. Don’t let the unusual names stop you from trying them.
Vranec. This is a bold red wine, deep purple in the bottle, with a palatable blend of tannins and acidity that don’t overtake the predominant berry flavors. Vranec is considered Macedonia’s flagship varietal.
Traminec. This white wine has a color ranging from straw to barely pink, due to the slight pinkness of the grape. It is described as having rose and floral notes and is recommended as an accompaniment to hors d’oeuvres or as an aperitif.
Zilavka. Considered one of Bosnia’s most prestigious wines, Zilavka made its way to Macedonia and other regions. Her high acidity and sugar content render her great for making brandy, and also a rare white wine that can improve with age.
I look forward to exploring Greek wines with you and would enjoy hearing your Greek wine experiences!