HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE KING GRAPE VRANAC OF MACEDONIA?
The King Vranac grape has staked a claim on several regions throughout ancient Macedonia from the Balkans to the Adriatic Sea. After discovering the hidden wonders in Croatia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia, this grape settled in Herzegovina, Bosnia by partners in crime, the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Middle Ages.
Perhaps this revered grape was blessed by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Known as the Dormition of Mother God, a feast is held annually in honor of the death of the Greeks version of the Virgin Mary. It’s possible from history, Vranac was crowned at the sacred Monastery Tvrdos where the feast is hosted and where this wine is made.
MONASTERY TVRDOS, THE FIRST SPEAKEASY?
It is no secret the Church LOVES its wines. I imagine its value in communion in its origins and present, is detrimental to all attendees and priests, who endure what seems like a lifetime in one service. Hell, it’s the use of wine for sacramental purposes during Prohibition in the early 20th century here in the United States, was the ONLY reason why our wine industry wasn’t wiped out completely. Is that power or divine intervention?
Founded in the 13 century, this monastery had been destroyed and rebuilt many times in 700 hundred years. Ironically what did survive were the underground wine cellars built by the Hellenic tribes to store pools of wine. For religion or hedonism, all I have to say is, in any of their wars, I would have done the same; let the buildings burn, and rescue the wine. Hail the annual traditional feast of the Dormition Mother Of God! Drink up the bottles of wine made from Vranac, stored within the cellars of the eternal Monastery, and feel yourself being baptized.
PIC OF MONASTERY TVRDOS BOSNIA
THE BLACK HORSE
The pride of Macedonia, Vranac may have been the goulash nephew to Zinfandel. Pronounced Vran-etz, It’s birthright is Montenegro. Like Uncle Napoleon, he pillaged his way through Europe before finding a home in Herzegovina. If not treated right the berries where it’s planted can be high on every decibel; sweetness, acid, and tannins. Ironically this grape achieved royal status throughout Eastern Europe more than his uncle, Zinfandel.
Vranac goes by the moniker the “black horse” or “ black stallion” because of his colossal iron-pumping backbone, along with a bleeding color like those leftovers from brutal Olympian wars fought. However, in Herzegovina, the grape blooms into a vivid, medium-density wine with spirited acid and velvety tannins. Even esteemed wine critic Jancis Robinson bows to Vranac.
This wine is aged 2 years in 100-year-old large war-torn Monastic barrels. It is 100% Vranac. It is Danch & Granger Selections fearless old world red wine in their portfolio. The personality reminds me of a bygone era of California red wines of the 1970s and 80s.
Deep ruby with an opaque core and long sexy legs
Intense fruit of wild blackberries, black currants, dimension, black juicy plum, black cherry cordial, menthol, smoked cinnamon-dusted with cocoa, fresh cedar, perfumed with savory black cracked pepper on teriyaki charcuteries.
Dry, medium+ bright acid, silky tannins, medium + alcohol, full-body, richly textured, medium+ flavors of black fruit, sweet baking spices, savory herbs, liven with a peppercorn kick, dusty oak, sensual smoked meats, long lively acid finish.
This a solid wine, It voices a depth of layers of wild fruit savory tones that’s both bold and mouth coating. It is a wine built for man but can entice a feminine palette. Built to last and meant to be drunk whenever you see fit.
Wines from this part of Europe are difficult to come by even within Europe as many are not allowed passports. Yet, today, get to know Danch & Granger Selections, an importing company devoted primarily to Central and Eastern European wines. These ballsy guys import Monastery Trvdoŝ wines. The unfamiliar pronunciation of the grape varieties isn’t what’s intimidating in selling Bosnia-Herzegovina wines into America. Rather, it’s the thought that Bosnia is a reckless embattlement. However, apart from all that, there are illuminating seeds for great wines. More of you ought to keep shedding a light on Eastern European wines.
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