The ripeness, tannins and acidity almost hint back to the redwood fermented California reds of the 1970s and 80s. That said, Vranac translates to the “Black Horse” in that it thrives in the super rocky Karst soils and hot conditions and maintains a shocking amount of acidity. Aged for 2 years in 100+ year old Monastic barrels, it’s oddly refreshing and even tart at times despite being jet black in color at 15.5% alcohol.
The Serbian Orthodox Monastery Tvrdoš is located in southeastern Herzegovina, 2.5 miles west of the old town of Trebinje and less than 20 miles from the Adriatic Sea. Dedicated to The Dominion of the Mother of God, it was built in the late 13th century above the right bank of the Trebisnica river on the foundations of a 4th century Roman church. An old epic folk poem mentions the monastery and "its monastic cellars filled with wine", a proof that the monastery was already well known for its winemaking in the Middle Ages.
The region's winegrowing tradition dates back to the first hellenic colonies on the Adriatic Coast. The climate is submediterranean with hot summers and mild winters. The Herzegovinian karst soil is shallow, mixed with white crushed stones. These warm and dry conditions are particularly well suited to the native grape varieties ?ilavka and Vranac, which thrive in the region.
Vranac was introduced to South Herzegovina during the AustroHungarian Empire. The name “Vranac”, which means “black horse”, highlights the grape's dark color as well as its strength and power. When grown on the rocky grounds of Tvrdoš created by a washout of the soil from the surrounding hills, Vranac shows distinctive acids and intense fruity aromas.