Surprising to many, myself included, Montenegro makes good, yet relatively unknown, red, white, and rose wine from both foreign grapes (although grown in Montenegro) and a handful of indigenous grapes found only in Montenegro. The most popular indigenous grape is the Vranac grape, which is used in red wine and is easily found in local restaurants and wine shops throughout Montenegro. Vranac, and generally all the wines that we tasted in Montenegro, was quite good. Outside of Montenegro, however, they are difficult, if not impossible, to find. Even Dan, my wine snob, liked Montenegrin wine!
Since we love wine and wine tasting, I was on the hunt for Montenegrin wineries throughout our entire trip to Montenegro. I was pleased to find a number of wineries offering visits to tourists, but Savina was the only working professional winery that I found (via Trip Advisor) close to Perast, where we stayed for the majority of our trip. As soon as I read the reviews, I promptly booked a tasting via email. It sounded lovely!
Savina winery is located about 45 minutes from Perast in Herceg Novi, the closest Montenegrin town to Croatia. Located right on the Bay of Kotor, Herceg Novi is a popular vacation destination for families. Its home to a fun little boardwalk, as well as a charming small old town and the Savina Monastrey, the namesake of Savina winery.
The Savina winery and vineyards are located at the very, very top of town, up a super steep hill. We walked, but I strongly, strongly recommend taking a taxi, which can be found throughout town. It took us about 30 minutes to walk from the beach to Savina.
Since we had booked a tasting in advance (recommended), we showed up about 10 minutes prior to our scheduled tour and were promptly greeted with plenty of water. Savina could not believe that we walked up that steep hill! We were also seated at a large picnic table with two other couples and were advised that our tour would start shortly.
Before getting started, we briefly explored the tasting area, which consists of several tables over look Kotor Bay and the views are GORGEOUS!! Definitely arrive a few minutes early to walk around and take pictures. I mean, this is the view:
While we were taking pictures, our host set up our first tasting! The first wine that we tasted was Savina’s well-regarded Rose wine, made with foreign grapes and bottled and sold throughout Montenegro. I do not usually love rose wine, but this one was not too sweet and hit the spot after walking up that steep hill… It was paired with an adorable plate of Montenegrin olives, a spread that reminded me of pimento cheese (love!) and breadsticks. The food was served on the most adorable plate with a sprig of rosemary.
After the first tasting, our hostess took us on a walking tour of the winery and the vineyards. We learned that Savina is a family-owned and run vineyard that has been around about 17 years (with wine being produced and sold on the market since 2014). We explored the vineyards, where the grapes were almost perfectly ripe, the wine making process, and the barrel room, and our tour ended with the most amazing views from the wineries tennis court!
We then sat down for our next tasting, a glass of Savina white wine, chardonnay. It was pretty good, although my least favorite of the tastings. Then again, I don’t like white wine. The white wine was was paired with our largest food tasting, a plate of Montenegrin meat, cheese, bread, and bread stuffed with cheese! All of the food was so good! My favorite was the cheese stuffed bread.
Next up was our last glass of proper wine and our favorite, the Cabernet Sauvignon! It was not the best Cabernet Sauvignon that I have ever tasted, but I really love reds, so I was happy for this one! The Cabernet Sauvignon was paired two more Montenegrin cheeses and some hard crackers that I think were also made of cheese. This plate was a great way to end the food portion of our tasting.
Then came the hard liquor… Montenegrins make a type of grappa brandy from grapes called rajika. Its ubiquitous in Montenegro and many families make their own. Savina produces two types of rajika – Loza and limoncello (like Italian lemon limoncello!). Both were served super cold in shot glasses. The limoncello was easy enough to drink in a couple sips, but I had to give the Loza to Dan. It was just too much like grappa!
After finish our drinks, we purchased a couple bottles from Savina (cash only!) and paid for our tasting, which was 35 euro per person for all food, tastings, and unlimited water. Pries for bottles ranged from 15 – 20 euro and it was cash only.
Looking back we loved our time at Savina and our short exploration of Herceg Novi. The views from Savina were stunning and possibly the best of our stay. I recommend a visit here if you are staying in Hereg Novi or driving through the area. Herceg Novi is an easy stop between Kotor and Dubrovnik. Herceg Novi is also a cute town (with a lot of hills – wear walking shoes), here are some pics from our short visit!
STEAL OUR TRIP
Castel Savina d.o.o. – VBranka Ćopića 7d, Herceg Novi, CG. T: 382-69-042-022; 382-67-612-988; 381-64-1323-193. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mail: email@example.com. Email or call to secure a tasting reservation in advance. Parking on site. Savina is at the top of a steep hill; I do not recommend walking to the winery. Savina quickly called us a taxi back to Perast after our tasting.