Montenegro

or Crna Gora

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Montenegro or Crna Gora, meaning ‘black mountain’, is a small country on the Adriatic coast to the east of Croatia, also bordered by bosnia & herzegovina, serbia, kosovo, and albania. It was formerly part of yugoslavia, and finally became independent in 2006. Today it is an official candidate country for eu membership and an increasingly popular tourist destination. Its wine regions lie between 41.5 ° (and 42.5 °N, with elevations reaching 600 m/1,970 ft and a mediterranean climate. Montenegro had 4,512 ha/11,150 acres of vineyards in 2012 divided into the Coastal zone and Lake Skadar basin (including the better known subregions of Podgorica and Crmnica). The national register records 380 grape growers. The country’s dominant producer is 13 Jul-Plantaže (still with majority ownership by various state institutions), which owns 2,310 ha/5,708 acres in one of Europe’s largest single vineyards, the Cemovsko Polje in the Crmnica region. Red wine grapes account for 80% of plantings. Local varieties vranac and Kratošija (zinfandel) account for 70% of red wine grapes, along with international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Syrah, and Marselan. indigenous varieties Krstač and Žižak are the most important whites, supplemented with Chardonnay, Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Blanc. 13 Jul Plantaže’s dna profiling of local varieties suggests that Vranac, Krstač, and Žižak are indigenous to Montenegro, and hints, given the genetic variability, that Kratošija (Zinfandel) may have originated here before it reached Croatia. Extensive work on clonal selection has also been carried out, aimed at raising the quality of Vranac, Montenegro’s deep-coloured and richly flavoured flagship grape. Most white wine is consumed locally while, by contrast, 13 Jul-Plantaže exports two-thirds of its production to 35 countries and is Montenegro’s largest exporter.