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World Vranac Day: 16 award-winning wines to try

Learn more about Vranac and celebrate this grape day with a selection of awarded wines from Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA).

With over 10,000 different grape varieties grown worldwide, Vranac might be one you’ve not yet heard of, but this red grape variety is one that has started to gain international recognition beyond its native borders.

Vranac finds its roots in the Balkan Peninsula, primarily in Montenegro where it accounts for more than half of all vineyard plantings, as well as parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia. The name ‘Vranac’ roughly translates to ‘strong black’, a fitting tribute to its darkly-coloured grapes and powerful wine character.

Typically produced varietally, Vranac wines are deep red in colour, full in body and rich taste, ranging in flavours from cherry and blackcurrant to herbs and oak-derived chocolatey notes.

Due to the berries’ high sugar content, Vranac wines are typically high in alcohol, adding to the wines’ body, and balanced by high tannins and pleasant acidity. These structural qualities make it ideal for oak and bottle ageing.

Scroll down to discover 16 award-winning Vranac wines from DWWA 2023

At DWWA 2023, two of Vranac’s best examples were awarded Value Gold medals and 95 points, both coming from Povardarje’s sub-region Tikvesh in North Macedonia. Marko Stojakovic, Merak Vranec-Merlot-Plavec 2022, a blend with 40% Vranac, was highly awarded by the judges for its crushed red berries and black tea aromas, mouth-watering acidity and long violet-led finish. Single varietal Tikves Winery, Luda Mara Vranac 2020 impressed with its charming, fruit-forward profile, nicely-integrated oak and ripe, polished tannins.

From Montenegro, three Silver medals were awarded at the 2023 competition. From Plantaze winery, both its Stari Podrum Cuvee Terroir, Čemovsko 2018 (93 points) and Pro Corde Vranac, Čemovsko 2020 (90 points) are wroth seeking out for their abundant fruits, integrated tannins and pleasurable drinkability. From the region of Podgorica, Vinarija Bogojevic, Bogdan 2017 was awarded 92 points for its abundant sweet red fruits, high tannins and long, rich finish.

To familiarise yourself with benchmark examples of Vranac, below discover a selection of awarded varietal expressions and blends from DWWA 2023. Search more results at awards.decanter.com

World Vranac Day: DWWA-winning wines to try

North Macedonia

Marko Stojakovic, Merak Vranec-Merlot-Plavec, Tikvesh, Povardarje 2022

Gold, 95 points 
This is very well made and a standout bargain with plenty of crushed red berries and black tea. It’s really uncomplicated but incredibly delicious with mouthwatering acidity and a long finish of violets and red fruit. Alc 14%

Tikves Winery, Luda Mara Vranec, Tikvesh, Povardarje 2020

Gold, 95 points 
This is a charming, well-made, fruit-forward Vranac with ripe blackberry and prune aromatics, nicely-integrated oak, ripe, polished tannins and high acidity. It concludes with a super long, expensive finish. Alc 15%

Kamnik, Cuvée De Prestige, Skopje, Povardarje 2020

Silver, 94 points 
Black cherry, spice, raspberry leaf, coffee, vanilla and oaky aromas. A structured, international style with layers of complexity, well-integrated oak and dense black fruit flavours. Alc 14.8%

Dalvina, Dioniz Vranec, Strumica-Radovis, Povardarje 2019

Silver, 93 points 
A beautiful, characterful wine with loads of secondary and tertiary notes, well-integrated oak and a long, sweet and spicy finish. Alc 15.8%

Tikves Winery, Bela Voda Red, Tikvesh, Povardarje 2021

Silver, 92 points 
A modern take on this blend with a dried cherry and damson bouquet. The palate has lots of vanilla, clove and sweet wood. Very polished. Alc 15%

Imako Vino, Constellation Cuvee Red, Ovche Pole, Povardarje 2019

Silver, 92 points
Intense, rich and powerful with vanilla, dark chocolate and damson aromas, black fruit and sweet oak flavours and grainy, slightly rustic, tannins. Alc 14%

Sarika Winery, Barrique Vranec, Prilep, Pelagonija-Polong 2020

Silver, 90 points 
A really solid, well-made wine with sweet oak, vanilla, coconut, chocolate and coffee aromas. The palate is concentrated and has plenty of tannins. Long, vibrant finish. Alc 13.5%

Venec, Orle, Tikvesh, Povardarje 2019

Silver, 90 points
Dried berry, jam and dark chocolate nose. The palate is big, bold and structured with a warm aftertaste of dried and roasted fruits. Rather beautiful. Alc 16%

Lepovo, Grand Cuvée, Tikvesh, Povardarje 2019

Silver, 90 points 
Deeply concentrated black cherry aromas with prunes and a hint of leather. The palate explodes with tobacco and summer fruit. Alc 15.5%

Bovin Winery, My Way Vranec, Tikvesh, Povardarje 2015

Silver, 90 points 
A glass of fresh wine with notes of cherry jam, raisins, perky acidity and a long, rich finish. Alc 15.88%


Plantaze, Stari Podrum Cuvee Terroir, Čemovsko 2018

Silver, 93 points
Expressive sweet spice, floral and ripe dark fruit nose and concentrated palate. A very well-made wine with a long, pleasant finish. Alc 15.77%

Vinarija Bogojevic, Bogdan, Podgorica 2017

Silver, 92 points 
A fruit-driven example with abundant sweet red fruits, high tannins and a long, rich finish. Lovely drinking. Bring on the food. Alc 14%

Plantaze, Pro Corde Vranac, Čemovsko 2020

Silver, 90 points
Smoky, ripe red fruit and clove aromas. The palate is ripe, dense and highly concentrated with notes of vanilla and sweet spice. Very long finish. Alc 13.7%

Plantaze, Premijer, Čemovsko 2015

Bronze, 87 points 
A really good wine with concentrated red fruit aromas, well-integrated oak and a long, spicy and earthy finish. Alc 14.56%

Bosnia and Herzegovina 

Vinarija Vera, Vranac, Herzegovina 2020

Bronze, 87 points 
A simple wine with a plum, spice and dark cherry nose and a ripe, warm finish. Alcohol 14.5%


Vinarija Unikat, Vranac, Centralna Srbija 2019

Bronze, 88 points 
Ripe, sweet red fruit and violet aromas. The palate is elegant and rounded with soft acidity and medium length. Alc 14.2%

Search all DWWA 2023 results

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