Vranec 2013 is a varietal wine made from 100% dark blue Vranec grapes. The colour is a strikingly beautiful deep ruby with a purple, inky hue. I swirled the wine in the glass and was entertained by the long, luxurious legs which elegantly gripped the sides of the glass demonstrating perfectly the correct behaviour of a 14% alcohol volume wine. In the decanter, there was an intense black fruit aroma with vanilla. In the glass, the nose was black fruit, mainly blackcurrant and black cherry but there was also the sweet smell of crushed raspberries coming through. The aromas were mouth-watering and delicious. On the palate, it was fruity with the dark fruit taking centre stage. There was no sweetness but pleasant sour cherries, blackberry and liquorice and then came the smooth vanilla and pepper. The tannin is high and so Vranec 2013 needs food.

I served Stobi Vranec 2013 with Beef Wellington, sautéed potatoes, boiled swede and garden peas. The Beef was wrapped in puff pastry and stuffed with British Speciality Mushrooms, which contained Maitake, Eryngii, Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms and Ardennes coarse pork liver pâté. This is a full-bodied wine and the soft tannins meant it stood up to the fats in the pastry, sautéed potatoes and liver pâté superbly. The wine did not lose its flavour and the dry finish became moreish. Because I was dining with friends I couldn’t take photographs and spend a lot of time on the wine! However, the following evening, I reheated the left over Beef Wellington and served it with Boiled Jersey Royal potatoes and cabbage. The wine was divine. It had benefited from spending 24 hours in the decanter. The black fruit was wonderful and the length on the palate was fabulous. My husband had Madras curry, which I tasted with the wine, and such was the firm structure of this wine that it even stood up to Madras curry. The white pepper in the wine was very prominent with the curry. I was amazed at this truly versatile wine.

If you like a fruit driven, dry, full bodied red wine, under £10 then this is the wine for you. It is a delicious, high calibre wine. The unusual grape variety is an interesting talking point when discussing wines from the Eastern Block with like-minded friends who also love wine. Like me, you can buy Stobi’s Vranec 2013 by mail order at:

Turton          http://www.turtonwines.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?cat=&q=stobi

Hennings         https://www.henningswine.co.uk/product-category/wines/red-wine/?swoof=1&pa_region=tikves

Tanners            https://www.tanners-wines.co.uk/stobi-vranec-tikves-region-2013

Carruthers & Kent      http://www.carruthersandkent.com/Macedonia#1

Wine Rack. http://www.winerack.co.uk/stobi-vranec

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