Montenegro wines are famous far outside the country. Usually our compatriots need time to appreciate the taste of local wine. We are used to sweet and semi-sweet types of wine whereas Montenegro wines are rather dry and tart.
Sweet wines are sold in shops as well, but they are mostly made from blackberries and peaches, which makes them taste more like soft alcoholic compote.
The history of winemaking in Montenegro
Wine has been made here from time immemorial. During the existence of Illyria (12-2 centuries BC) on the territory of modern Montenegro there were vineyards along the sides of Lake Skadar. Organized manufacturing of wine in Montenegro began only with the reign of Nicholas I (1860-1918), when first non-private grape plantations were made.
At that time, a set of rules for wine manufacturing have been created. First wine cooperative was founded in 1911. This was the beginning of wine production in Montenegro.
The largest and most well-known winery is being owned by a company called Plantaže. It owns 2310 out of 4300 ha of Montenegro’s vineyards. This winery was the first in Montenegro to follow European Wine Quality Standard and the trademark itself got about 500 different rewards.
The best sorts of Montenegro wines are considered to be Vranac and Krstač.
Red wine «Vranac»
Vranac has been the face of Montenegro winemaking for a long time. It is a dry red wine, which contains 12% alcohol. It’s known for saturated dark ruby color and full balanced taste with long aftertaste.
Vranac is made from red grapes, which grow on the slopes of the mountains near Podgorica and Lake Skadar. It occupies 70% of all the vineyards owned by Plantaže.
It perfectly goes with spicy meat dishes. It is better to cool it down to 16-18 degrees before serving. The name of the drink can be translated as «black horse».
There are several types of this vine: the most popular and the cheapest one is «Vranac», there is also «Vranac Pro Corde» (which is good for the heart according to locals), and the most expensive and aged is considered to be «Vranac Premium».
A 1-liter bottle of Vranac is sold in shops for 2 euros and for 3 to 4 euros on the coast. Local markets offer 1 liter of homemade Montenegrin wine only for 5 euros, but the quality of it you will have to check yourself.
White wine «Krstač»
For those who are fond of white wines there is a perfect option — Krstač. It is an amazing wine, which is made of grapes eponymous type. This wine is unique, because this type of wine can be found only in the surroundings of Podgorica and nowhere else around the world!
The grapes are medium in size; they are long and have a greenish-yellow color to them. The bunch itself is similar to a cross in shape, which is where the name of this wine came from. These grapes are collected during the first week of September. Remember this if you are interested not only in trying the wine but also the grapes.
Wine «Krstač» has 12, 5 % alcohol, it is defined by its beautiful light yellow color and delicate and exquisite taste. This wine goes perfectly with any fish dishes; it is also served with cheese and fruit.
Where to go?
There are a couple of yearly wine festivals in Montenegro. The most popular of them takes place in Virpazar from the 21st till the 22nd of December each year. It is called the «Festival of Wine and Ukljeva fish» (Festival vina i ukljeve). Ukljeva is a species of fish from the Cyprinidae family, which is found in Lake Skadar.
This festival has been around for 15 years now and that is where its fame comes from. If you decide to attend it this year then you should definitely come early to find a place for parking or you can use public transport.
People from local wineries and big ones like Plantaže usually come there. You can buy different Montenegrin wines there, which have been aged for a long time and are unique in their taste.
Where to buy Montenegrin wine?
In Montenegro, you can get wine anywhere — at supermarkets and special shops, souvenir places and markets. Montenegrin wine is considered to be a great and tasteful souvenir.
You can check out wines of Montenegro even during popular wine tours. There is a lot of them and the program is diverse. If you ever visit Njeguši, there will be Montenegrin pršut as well as wine degustation. You will hear many facts about local wine and about cooking the famous smoked meat.
Montenegrin wines, which are made by local businesses or at home are also worth of trying. Their taste is unique. We suggest you buying local wines in small villages rather than on the coast. They will be cheaper and a better quality. On the private wine yard you will be given a degustation of different sorts of their wines as well as a traditional Montenegrin dinner.
Tour operators in Montenegro often suggest wine tours for those who are interested. Choose the one you like the most and do not forget that tours like that often take about a day.