Macedonia’s Tasty Secrets

dalvina-logoI will be honest, my knowledge of Macedonian produce was limited to aijvar, a delicious condiment which accompanies meat dishes such as cevapi/cevapcici.  So when I visited the International Wine Festival in London I was surprised to find a few stalls dedicated to Macedonia (somewhat ineptly rather close to Greece!).  My favourite Macedonian wines turned out to be that produced by Dalvina.

The Dalvina vineyards and winery are located near the city of Strumica, south-east Macedonia, in Povardarie,Strumichko-Radovishki wine region.  This is the famous valley of the Struma and  Strumeshnica rivers.  The valley has a typical Mediterranean climate.  Standing at an altitude of 380 m. and being surrounded by high mountains, the vineyard benefits from a constant light wind and an average temperature of 20.2 degrees Celsius during the period of vegetation.  With 210 sunny days in the year, little rain and relatively  low humidity, healthy grapes are ensured.

Dalvina winery owns 370ha of vineyards.  The soil is mostly sandy  with an excellent exposition of the terrain  which is gently  layed over the smooth hills.  Grape varieties include those typical for the region such as Vranec, Zupljanka, Smederevka which are  some 30 years old but also newer varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Carmenere and Cabernet Franc.

The synergy of fertile soil and moderate Mediterranean climate means the grapes develop a rich palette of aromas and  tastes making juicy, fruity and also complex wines that makes them quite impressive on a world market.

The Dalvina winery is relatively new with a capacity of 22 000 hl.  The latest gentle technology has been installed from reception of the grapes until fermentation.  Traditional délestage wine making process is used for the red wines.  Automatically controlled cap plunging enhances colour and aroma extraction.  The main aim of the vineyard is to capture the unique properties of the grapes, the soil and microclimates of the area.



The process of winemaking is like a great celebration in the Hamzali valley.  People from the surrounding  villages come to join in picking up the grapes, taking good care to collect them by hand.  Each individual grape is put on a track where it is carefully selected and cleared from all leaves and stems.  After passing the destemer and  the decrusher,  beautiful, fresh, good coloured and round little grapes are taken to the fermentors.  There  the process continues in a very  well controlled manner which leads to the production of the highest qualities of the wine.

All the wines, both white and red, are rich in flavour,  powerful and even exotically tropical, clear, vividly fruity and have a great intensity.  Each wine is spicy, buttery, with a touch of sweetness, yet individual in character and can be drunk young or aged, the complexity of which develops dramatically over time.

For those who shy away from fruity flavours  Dalvina also produces red wines aged in oak barrels.  The barrels have a cappacity  of 220 litres and are made  from Macedonian, medium toasted  oak.  With the right amount of new, flavoursome oak,and  in the ideal size of the barrel, the wine becomes complex in terms of both subtle flavours and rich texture.  All the various  aromas of vanilla, toast, spice, smoke  and  coconut make the wines, both white and red, seductive.

The Vranec barrique, Merlot barrique and Cabernet Sauvignon barrique are created from a red grape variety and Zupljanka barrique is produced from a white variety grape.  From these variets, white, rose and red (almost black) wines are produced.  The main characteristics include being very fresh and fruity, with vivid colours, a rich body and a diverse palette of aromas.

There is a very good choice  of dry wines which gives a sensation, or at least an expectation of sweetness which goes closely with the beautiful aroma of the grapes.   The rose-scented Muscat  Trolinger  and banana/tropical citrus fruits in the Zupljanka variety  are incredible tastes.



Syrah is the most exotic and full-bodied of red wines, full of spice and leather, tar, game, blackberries, raspberries, pepper and herbs and will be available in larger quantities  in 2010.

The Rhein Riesling which is currently  a victim of fashion in the world at large yet is nonetheless one of the world’s few truly great white wines.  Its flavours of peaches, apricots, honey and apples plus a whiff of smoke and minerals and hint of spice and mouthwatering of lime, are just astonishing.

Delicious at youth and yet capable of  developing  over a long period  into a much more complex wine with a very high qualities is  Vranec, purple-black  dry wine with an aroma of  all  possible forest’s black fruits such as blackberries, blackcurrant, wild strawberry and cranberries, even plum or plum jam.

Very attractive drinkable soon after the vintage and with a special mark of the area is Cabernet Sauvignon with its blackcurrant and green pepper flavor with a full body, complex and concentrated  wine of a great depth and tannic structure to last 20 years.

Dalvina Vineyard
Dalvina s.Hamzali, 2431 Bosilovo
Tel/Fax: +389 (034) 375 578 / 375 188

Dalvina HQ
Franklin Ruzvelt 22
1000 Skopje
Tel/Fax: +389 (02) 3245 345 / 3297 844

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About Charlotte J

Graduate, journalist, blogger and follower of all things media.