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In the past, North Macedonia was a major wine-producing country and accounted for around two-thirds of the wine production in Yugoslavia. Today, North Macedonia has around 33,500 hectares of vineyards area, with 70% of the grapes being used to produce 120 million liters of wine every year—more than half of the production is sold as bulk wine.
The Tikveš winery is the biggest wine producer in North Macedonia and Southeast Europe. Established in 1885, the Tikveš winery is named after a wine district of the same name. The winery produces over 20 million liters of wine every year. In 2010, the Tikveš winery started releasing premium single-vineyard wines.
Here’s a look at the Tikveś Valley in North Macedonia.
Exotic Wine Travel’s Choice: Tikveš Barovo 2012
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate scored a barrel sample of this wine 91-93 points. The Tikveš winery is one of the handful of wineries in ex-Yugoslavia to have received scores from Wine Advocate.
Made from the grapes planted in Barovo, a small and abandoned village in the south of the country—which is a common sight in the country as many people leave the countryside to look for jobs in the city or in other countries—the Tikveš Barovo 2012 is a blend of 65% Kratošija and 35% Vranec. Kratošija is also known as Crljenak Kaštelanksi and Tribidrag in Croatia, Primitivo in southern Italy, and Zinfandel in many parts of the world. Vranec is indigenous to Montenegro, but North Macedonia has the greatest hectares of planting. Its name translates to “black stallion”, which is in reference to the grape’s wildness and potency. Winemakers often say they must tame the beast in the grape in order to make a fine Vranec wine.
The Tikveš Barovo 2012 tastes a lot like a wilder Ridge Lytton Springs (Zinfandel-based wine from California). Rich and supple mouthfeel, prominent tension, and suitable acidity. People who like big, fruit-forward wines will really enjoy this. This is the epitome of North Macedonian wine—plenty of ripe black fruit flavors and powerful bouquet packed behind a richly coloured facade.
The Tikveš Barovo is available in the USA at ~USD20. This is a steal and can be a major talking point at dinner parties.
Find or Buy Tikveš Barovo on Wine Searcher.
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