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Albanian Wine – The Next Big Thing?

When it comes to drinking in Albania, the country might be more famous for its Rakia, or indeed the salty yogurt drink Dhalle, but is there a wine industry? Let’s take a Smiling Grape Adventure through the world of Albanian Wine!

I’d surmised that Albania’s Mediterranean locale and illustrious neighbours in Greece, and Italy would suggest a decent wine scene. I decided to explore.

Amazingly, Albania does not just have a wine scene but they have been making wine in the region since the bronze age. This puts Albania in the class of “old world wine producing countries” (take that America).

Despite communisms, distinct lack of fun, during the regime of Enver Hoxha wine making in Albania reached its zenith, although due to the laws of the country no one was allowed to export.

Following communism, the government had other concerns, such as dodgy pyramid schemes, and civil war, but by 2009 wine production had gotten to 17,500 tonnes. That’s a lot of wine.

As well as classic grapes, Albania also has its own varieties, such as Shesh, Kalmet, Vlosh, Serine, Pules, and koteke amongst others. Although the “best” is considered to be Debine, which comes in noir and blanc.

Like the rest of the civilized wine drinking world, red wine is favoured with meat, which pretty much means every meal, whilst white wine is favoured at lunch or when visiting specialist fish restaurants. For me, a nice glass of white whilst overlooked the Med is unbeatable.

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Wine is grown throughout the country, but Skhoder in the north of Albania is considered the best region with one of the wineries there winning numerous awards from Enver Hoxha during the communist era. Sadly after the fall of communism, they threw them out. I’ll assume they are kicking themselves now.

So, to cut a long story short, Albanian wine is very good and sold in all decent restaurants, chat to your server, grab a bottle and enjoy with dinner!

That is the Street Food Guy’s top tips for drinking wine in Albania.

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