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Zilavka grapes

by | May 31, 2017

Zilavka is a typical variety of white grape which is predominant in the southern region of Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The scientific name of Zilavka is Vitis Vinefera Zilavka. The grape berries are famous for its potential alcohol content and high acidic levels which are very crucial for producing various types of brandy and spirits deriving out of them.

This makes it important not only among the cultivators, but also among the producers.

The Zilavka variety has provided an advantage to the producers of Bosnian brandy by adding an extremely rich and nutty flavour.

Wine grape varieties

This exquisite flavour is present in the young wines and brandy is enhanced with increasing age.

There are various other names which are used instead of Zilavka. Some of them are Biella, Zhelavka and Mostarska.

The wines made of Zilavka are ideal to a Mediterranean type of climate and the limestone plateaus situated in Citluk that has been a predominant area for the cultivation of vineyards since more than 1000 years.


The vineyards of Zilavka are located in between the Mostar city (which is known to be the largest in Herzegovina) and the Adriatic coast.

These wine grapes are made of use in the process of creating the extremely prestigious wines of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Rarely, this variety of wine is produced as pure varietal wine. Most of the time the wines made out of Zilavka is prepared in its own unique and consistent fashion.

The only source of Zilavka is not only the Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia regions.

It is also produced beyond the mountains or hilly areas of the present day Kosovo and Montenegro which reaches Macedonia and certain parts of northern Greece.

The production of the wines made of Zilavka was also focused in and around certain villages such as Capljina, Ljubuski, Medugorje and Citluk.

The eminent producers of Zilanvka grapes are Citluk, Skegro, Nuic, Vitai or Ganges, Brkic, and Vinarija.


The skin of the berries is Blanc in its hue. The wines made from Zilavka leaves a dry and a sweet taste in the mouth when consumed.

Zilavka, as mentioned above is loved by its consumers because of the high amount of acidity and bright freshness which is greater than many of the other wines that are produced in the regions of Herzegovina and Bosnia.

The wines made from Zilavka are usually oak aged which is “barrique” vintage that result in wines that are earthy and full-bodied in nature containing a nutty aspect to the taste.

These wines were the ones that were produced long back in the beginning of the 2000 and some even before that.

In former Yugoslavia, Zilavka was used as a mere blending grape instead of a varietal throughout the country.

But, the course of the use of these grapes has changed drastically. Now they are on their own and available in bottles that constitute a single varietal with a combination of another popular grape called Blatina that hails from the Herzegovina Wine Production.

The wines are aged briefly and fermented along with native yeast. The bottles are usually unfiltered.

Food Pairing

Pairing the right amount of food is very necessary for taste enhancement when it comes to wines.

This variety of white wine is quite acidic, which provides a unique flavour to it. There are a wide range of vegetarian dishes that go along well with Zilavka.

As this grape variety has a very unique taste, it can be paired with many general meals. One of the pairs that go well with Zilavka is cheese pie with spinach.

They help in bringing a balance to the high acidic content in the wine. Desserts bring out a rich and smooth flavour when consumed with various white wines.

Other than desserts, Zilavka can also be consumed with roasted vegetables containing fennel seeds.

The dry and sweet nutty taste as well as aroma of Zilavka brings out a whole new dimension to the meal when consumed with roasted vegetables.

And to the added benefit, it is good for health. Yet another food item to complement this white wine variety will be an Italian food named Gorgonzola dolce.

It originates in the northern parts of Italy concerned in the areas of Peimonte and Lombardia.


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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