White wines in the Balkans


This grape is a rumored relation of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. While that relation has neither been affirmed nor disproven, it is interesting to note the grape’s etymology. Tamjan is a Slavic word for frankincense. This name was applied to the grape as the resulting wines displayed a spicy, piquant nose;


Native to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Žilavka grape was one of the most widely-planted white grapes in the Balkan Peninsula. Over the years, it fell somewhat out of favor with winemakers. Today, it is a minor blending grape found throughout Macedonia, Slovenia, and Croatia.


The Serbian Milijan Jelić winery boasts the only vineyard of the Tamuz Morava grape in the world. The Morava grape is a cross of Rhine Riesling and clones of local varieties. The winery is still investigating the origins of this indigenous grape.


The first written data about Istrian Malvazija surfaced in conjunction with the 1891 Zagreb wine exposition. Malvazija was next seen in 1900 in documents published simultaneously in two different cities on the Istrian Peninsula (Pican and Piran). This green-skinned grape quickly grew in popularity, and, 100 years later, is responsible for apple and white flowers.


This is probably the best-known Greek grape internationally, based entirely on the reputation established by one tiny island in the Cyclades - Santorini. Santorini’s grey sand-like volcanic soil is so poor that almost nothing will grow – except for this supremely hardy grape, which produces exquisitely fresh, lime-infused whites, with laser-like mineral intensity.


It is an ancient variety of grape that is indigenous to Montenegro. A high quality dry white wine is made from it. The wine may be rich, of harmonious bouquet and of light yellow color with 12.5% alcohol.