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Posts Tagged ‘Macedonia

White and red Macedonians

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Tikveš Winery is said to be the largest wine producer in not only the Republic of Macedonia but the entire Balkans. The Tikveš plain gives the wine region its name; Bela Voda is a small area within it notable for its Mediterranean climate and clay soils. Both wines are from the winery’s flagship “Terroir” line. Due to heavy rains, no Terroir wines will be made in the 2014 vintage.

For a winery whose website makes a big deal about wine education, the lack of technical information on these wines is surprising. What’s more, the Quebec agent’s website has been AWOL for more than a year. Could we be talking about unorganic wines made with selected yeasts and subjected to manipulation in the winery, including fining and filtering? No telling but I’d guess yes.

Tikveš 2013, Bela Voda, Tikveš Winery ($27.10, 12510657)
A 50-50 blend of Chardonnay and Belan (which may be Plavai or Grenache Blanc, which the winery bottles as a varietal, or something else entirely). Matured in French oak barrels. Reducing sugar: 2 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Les vins Horizon.
Ash, lemon, chalk, a hint of vanilla butter and an intriguing if faintly acrid floral note that put me in mind of narcissus and daffodils. A mouthful of ripe but fundamentally savoury and dry fruit. The bright acidity, vein of minerals and layered flavours are as unexpected as they are welcome. A long saline finish completes the picture. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Tikveš 2012, Bela Voda, Tikveš Winery ($27.10, 12510121)
A 50-50 blend of Plavec (aka Plavac Mali) and Vranec. Matured in French oak barrels. Reducing sugar: 4.1 g/l. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Les vins Horizon.
Blackberry, cassis and fig, all a bit stewed, along with some ink and wood. Meaty and chewy in the mouth, ultra-ripe and heading into fruit bomb territory. The soft tannins and acidity do little to counter an impression of heaviness that is only augmented by the unsubtle oak. Smooth, yes, and of undoubted quality but also one-dimensional and unrefreshing. (Buy again? Doubtful.)

A bottle of the red drunk a couple of weeks earlier prompted a more favourable reaction. In fact, along with the arrival of the Ardoisières wines, it was what inspired the idea for a white/red tasting. That bottle, consumed over an evening and with food, came across as New Worldish but not to a fault: “Like a Merlot and Zinfandel cross. Flavours but not texture a bit jammy. Sweet but not cloying fruit. Velvety tannins. Soft but sufficient acidity. Mineral underlay. Mostly integrated oak. Good finish, dusted with cocoa and edged with a faint bitterness. Reminds me of the two Majorcan reds.” In any case, at the tasting, the white – far less fruit-driven and oak-dominated – was the more interesting of the two.

MWG July 16th tasting: flight 5 of 6.

Written by carswell

September 22, 2015 at 15:20

MWG September 11th tasting: A classic Vranec?

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We took a short break from Glou wines to spend some time with a bottle a member had purchased in New York City.

Tikveš 2011, Vranec, Classic, Stobi (US$13, importation valise)
The winery is located in the centre of the country, near the Strobi archeological site, from whence it takes its name. Local and international varieties are used to make four lines of wine: premium, classic, elite and traditional. This 100% Vranac (Vranec in Macedonian) comes from estate-grown grapes. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, matured in very large oak barrels and reportedly vegan-friendly, which may mean it wasn’t fined. The winery boasts of using less sulphur than many competitors. 14.5% ABV.
“Smells like selected yeasts,” were the first words out of sommelier Jack Jacob’s mouth. Other aromas included cedar, cherry and, oddly enough, blackberry yogurt. In the mouth, the wine was full-bodied, dense and coarse. Recalling dark berries and plum, the fruit was rough-framed by rustic tannins and buoyed by soft acidity. Spice notes turned cedary on the heady finish. One-dimensional, this “odd man out,” as one taster put it, was not done any favours by being tasted in the company of such beautiful natural wines that, it should be noted, run two, three or even four times its price. In another context, say alongside a weeknight meat pie, kebabs, stew or casserole (musaka, for example), it might well prove more satisfying. (Buy again? Maybe.)

A year or two ago, the 2010 was sold at the LCBO for $11.95.

(Flight: 7/9)

Written by carswell

October 5, 2014 at 12:19