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Kratosija (Macedonian: Кратошија) (also Kratoshij
a or Kratoshiya) is a red wine grape variety grown in the Tikveš wine-growing region of North Macedonia. This wine is characterized by an intense ruby-red color and aroma of red berry fruits. Kratoshija is a variety of grape that has a long history in Macedonia. It’s believed that within Macedonia’s territory it has been grown since ancient times, when wine was poured in amphora and sent to the noblemen. Despite the fact that it was nearly extinct, the Kratoshija has survived and the wine makers have turned it into a top quality variety.
Depending on vintage, Kratoshija may at one point thrill and fascinate you, and in another, leave you indifferent. Anyway, it deserves full attention. The latest news in terms of its origin is an intrigue that brought certain polemics among the scientific mass. More precisely, the Kratoshija genetic origin is the same as the one of Primitivo variety, i.e., Zinfandel or Crljenak Kaštelanski. For a clearer and more vivid explanation of the bond among all these varieties, the story has to begin from scratch.
The quest for the origin of one of the fa¬vourite American varieties, Zinfandel, is one of the most interesting stories about vines and wines. It was undoubtedly that Zinfandel originated from Europe, but the enigma that this variety could not be found in Europe remained. It was supposed to be brought in America from the royal collection in Vienna, Austria in 1820. However, Zinfan¬del is not an autochthon Austrian variety. An important turnover for solving the puzzle happened in 1967 when it was accidentally discovered that the variety Zinfandel is sim-ilar to the local, Italian variety from the re¬gion Puglia, known as Primitivo, which was later scientifically proved that it is the very same variety.
Still, Primitivo was nowhere mentioned as an autochthon Italian variety, so the enigma remained unsolved again. On the other side of the Adriatic Sea, the most interesting variety similar to Zinfandel was Plavec. It is sustained by genetic identification that Zinfandel is unexpectedly one of the descendants of the Dalmatia variety Plavec.
This discovery had a great publicity to professionals and the general public in the entire world. The question that followed was which the Croatian Zinfandel was indeed. After years of seeking for different Zinfandel varieties, they reached to the variety called Crljenak Kaštelanski, or Tribidrag, and final¬ly the DNA analysis proved that this is the ex¬act source variety. Nowadays, the story also includes Kratoshija, putting Macedonia in the eye of the publicity, since it is the country where this variety is grown by this name.
The cluster of the Kratoshija variety is of medium size, cylindrical and conical in shape and often with one separate rachis, medium compressed or mealy. The berry is medi¬um-sized, round to flat with thick skin and dark blue in colour.
Compared to the Vranec variety, Kratoshija has got less amount of sugar, and higher amount of acids. It is quite a versatile variety from the wine style’s point of view: from easy and fruity (Beaujolais style), through high percentage of alcohol wines, to sophis¬ticated, complex wines and wines worth for ripening (Bordeaux style). Generally, howev¬er, the best wines are the dry wines with light red colour and violet hue, relatively high per¬centage of alcohol, a little extract, reasonable amount of acids and a fruity aroma that in time will eventually get spicy nuance. It is best combined with all types of barbequed meat and piquant cheese.
To end, the fact that Zinfandel, Primitivo, Crljenak Kaštelanski and Kratoshija are the same variety known by different names is indisputable. Still, when grown in different climate and soil conditions, regardless of its name, it produces specific wines that characterize the vineyard where it is grown. All the previously mentioned facts about the origin can finally put an emphasis to the Kratoshija variety, which was unjustifiably forsaken, and now it is time for its glory to only rise and spread.
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