Portland wine experts predict what we’ll be drinking in the future: Wine Notes
Colin HowardKatherine Cole/Special to The Oregonian
THE EXPERT: Colin Howard, Oso Market + Bar.
THE WINE: Vranec, a red from Macedonia (that’s the Republic of Macedonia, not to be confused with the Greek state by the same name).
WHAT IT IS: Vranec is a dark-red grape native to the Balkans and related to primitivo and zinfandel. Due to the destabilizing effects of the Kosovo war and other regional turbulence, the Macedonian wine industry has been under the radar until now. « In my eyes, soil knows no political boundaries. It doesn’t know Italy from Macedonia from Greece. Vranec is grown at classic winegrowing elevations, in classic soils. And this winery (see below) has been around since 1855. »
WHY: « The immediate appeal is the value. It is one of the most accessible price points on our menu, » Howard points out. « This is a whole new grape, a whole new place, a whole new story, » observes Howard. « This is a classically made wine from a place no one would guess was pushing this quality level. »
WHY NOW: « Because people are caring about what is going into their glasses as well as on their plates. This is a sustainable, organic winegrower in a country where they do not need to to do that, » Howard observes. « When I was making wine, I always loved that little airspace at the top. That air has not left the bottle. That’s Macedonian air. If there were pesticides there, they might be in that air. »
ONE TO TRY: Look for the 2011 Tikves Macedonia Special Selection Vranec ($11.50) at Barbur World Foods, Great Wine Buys, Oso Market + Bar and Vinopolis, or through D’Vine Wines.
– Katherine Cole