RED WINE GRAPES

VRANAC

Vranac is a black-skinned variety native to Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and BiH. 

Vranac’s name translates roughly as ‘strong black’, giving a good indication of the wine’s character. It produces dense, deeply-colored red wines with flavors and aromas which range from sour cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant to chocolate, mint and vanilla. 

The variety produces small bunches of large, thin-skinned berries, which have traditionally been prized as a table grape. Vranac is vigorous and high-yielding, but it is quite sensitive to both frost and botrytis. 

The berries’ high sugar content makes for wines with relatively high alcohol, and typically a pleasant bitterness on the finish. 

High tannin content and good levels of acidity make Vranac wines key contenders for oak ageing, which imparts vanilla and spice characters, and the wines can often improve with age.

Ripeness: mid-September – early October

PROKUPAC

Prokupac is a red wine grape variety indigenous to Serbia and Macedonia. 

It is most commonly used to produce rosé wines and in blends, although an increasingly number of producers are experimenting with varietal red wines.

Prokupac rosé wines are generally a deep ruby in color, much darker than traditional pink or blush rosés. 

These wines have aromas of strawberries and rose petals. The red wines are also deep ruby in color and tend to show red fruit flavors like cherry. 

Prokupac is known for its high sugar levels and therefore high potential alcohol. It is often blended with more international grape varieties like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

Synonyms include: Crnka, Darchin, Kamenicarka, Majski Cornii, Prokupka, Zarcin.

Ripeness: Early October

CABERNE SAUVIGNON

Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the most famous red wine grape variety on Earth. 

From its origins in Bordeaux, Cabernet has successfully spread to almost every winegrowing country in the world. 

Cabernet Sauvignon is the product of a natural genetic crossing between key Bordeaux grape varieties Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Wherever they come from, Cabernet Sauvignon wines always seem to demonstrate a handful of common character traits: deep color, good tannin structure, moderate acidity and aromas of blackcurrant, tomato leaf, dark spices and cedarwood.

Ripeness: end of September

MERLOT

Merlot is a red wine grape variety with strong historic ties to Bordeaux and the southwest of France. 

Merlot is an early maturing grape variety and can ripen fully even in slightly cooler climates.

It has less tannin content than Cabernet Sauvignon, and it is also suitable for aging and blending. 

The grain-cluster is medium-large, cylindrical, with the grains medium large, round, blue in color (with strong bloom). 

Grain-cluster contains up to 24% of sugar. Merlot wine is nicely colored, harmonious, very refreshing and has a taste and smell of berries, cherries and plums. 

Merlot wine is dark red.

Ripeness: end of September

PINOT NOIR

Pinot Noir is the dominant red wine grape of Burgundy, now adopted in wine regions all over the world.

The grain-cluster is small, dense, cylindrical, often with one clearly noticeable side-wing. The stalk is short and thick. The grains are medium size or small, and can quite easily be separated from the stalk. The epidermis is black-purple and thin. The flesh is juicy, sweet, with a simple taste.

The essence of Pinot Noir wine is its aroma of strawberry and cherry (fresh red cherries in lighter wines and stewed black cherries in weightier examples), underpinned in the most complex examples by hints of forest floor.

Synonyms include: Pinot Nero, Pinot Negro, Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder, Crni Burgundac

Ripeness: early September

BLACK TAMJANIKA

Tamjanika is wine grape variety indigenous to Serbia. 

It is found in Rajac and Negotinska Krajina, where there are sandy soils and sunny weather. 

The variety has a special taste and smell which can be detected a few meters away from the mature grapes. 

Tamjanika begins to mature in mid-September and reaches full sweetness in mid-October. It has characteristic Muscat notes of cinnamon, basil, pineapple and strawberry. Grapes have a dark purple color and berries are small, yellow, almost perfect balls.

The Black Tamjanika is a rare, smooth wine of particularly harmonized and strong taste.

Ripeness: mid-October

CABERNET FRANC

Cabernet Franc is a black-skinned French wine grape variety grown in most wine producing nations. 

Cabernet Franc most commonly appears in blended red wines, where it adds herbaceous accents of tobacco and dark spice. 

As a varietal wine, Cabernet Franc is light to medium bodied and often shows vegetal characteristics, in particular green bell peppers. This has led many wine drinkers to incorrectly identify Cabernet Franc as unripe Cabernet Sauvignon, or even Carmenère.

The cluster is medium sized, tightly packed, weighing from 90 to 120 grams. The grain is medium sized, oval-shaped, blue in color (strong bloom) and with thin skin. It contains 20–22% of sugar. The wine is dark red, with a lovely aroma and pleasant taste.

Ripeness: mid-September.

FRANCONIA (FRANKOVKA)

Franconia variety originates from Germany. 

The grain-cluster is medium size to very large, pyramidal in shape and the apex of the cluster is rotated slightly sideways. 

The grains are medium size and round. The skin is quite thick and solid, dark blue in color. The meat is juicy, with the juice of fairly neutral flavor, with a lower sugar content resulting in a distinct acidic expression . 

Suitable for growing in a variety of soil types and conditions. The yield is large and regular. 

Wine is of medium quality, red in color.

Ripeness: end of September.

SYRAH / SHIRAZ

Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape: Syrah is the French term while Australians say Shiraz.

Syrah wines are produced in moderate and hot climates, their thick skins requiring a healthy dose of sun to allow them to ripen. 

They tend to be deeply coloured, with medium-high tannin and medium acidity levels. 

Syrah is used as a single varietal or as a blend. The styles vary depending on the climate, but wines are normally full-bodied, with black fruits flavours. In moderate climates, you may encounter peppery spice, herbaceousness and smokey characteristics. 

In hotter regions, you will have riper, even jammy, fruit flavours with sweet spice (liquorice) and dark chocolate shining through. 

Copyright 2018 – Kalem Đorđević

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