On the afternoon and evening of my second day in Albania, I continued my exploration of the beautiful seaside city of Durrës. Come along with me as I have the ultimate Albanian wine experience at the biggest and oldest winery in the country in Durrës, Albania!
My afternoon began at Kantina Skenderbeu Winery, the largest and oldest winery in all of Albania. I’m such a huge wine fan and couldn’t wait to explore their property, from their winery to the cellar to the vineyards. They have native and international grapes and I was super excited to get started!
My guide Ani from Balkan Pearls Tour Operator and I met up with Detjona from the winery, who took us on a tour of the grounds. On the walls of the winery to the right, the countless awards they have won are on display. To the left was a display of some of the products they produce, including 3 types of rakija, their primitivo wine, some brandy, and more!
Next, we saw photos from the old winery. Then, we headed down to the basement, where I would be able to try brandy straight from the barrels! They pour the brandy from taps right in the walls! They only use the very best white grapes from their vineyards. The brandy was so smooth because it had been aged at least 5 years!
They age their brandy and red wines in barrels. They use American oak barrels for are more intense aroma and French oak for more delicate aromas and flavors. Then, we drove to their resort, Vinea Resort & SPA.
The resort is beautiful with a gorgeous pool with cabanas. There are barrels around the grounds, an area for kids, and an expansive, 45-hectare vineyard. I was so excited to be there. I visited just a week after an adorable baby horse was born!
As we toured the grounds, I got to see some of the fruits they grow, including figs. Everything is farm-to-table! They grow different types of grapes, including chardonnay grapes. The yellower ones were sweeter, while the greens are sourer. On the farm, I also got to see some cows, ducks, sheep, goats, and more! The figs were incredible!
Next, I tried an Albanian variety of grape, which was a little sweet but bitter at the same time. Each section of the vineyard is dedicated to growing a different type of grape. The Negromaro is a red grape. They produce a rosé from it. Then, we drove to the top of a hill to get great views of the vineyard!
I tried more grapes and then went to try more of their products, including 6 different wines and a few types of brandy and rakija. I started with 5 white wines. Their El Genèro chardonnay was a little fruity while the soif de vivre (made from muscat grapes from Sicily) was sweet and dry. It’s their sweetest wine! The Malvasia Nera was cooler and earthier, the Quirina Riesling went down easy and the shesh i bardhe was earthy, too! They were all so different! My ultimate Albanian wine experience in Durrës, Albania was already blowing my mind!
Then, I went for the reds: primitivo, merlot, shesh i zi, and cabernet sauvignon. The merlot was nice and full-bodied and the primitivo was dark, full-bodied, and less fruity. The shesh i zi had earthy notes and the cabernet sauvignon had cinnamon and plums in it. It was fruity but strong! My favorites were the primitivo and shesh i zi!
For dinner, we had a tasty beef sausage and a mind-blowing veal fërgesë. The liver and kidney tava was outstanding, and the veal with tomato sauce was unreal! It also contained carrots and onions. The roasted lamb was so fresh and tender! Then, I finished with more drinks!
The rosé was a dry, fruity, summery cross between red and white. Next was the 5-year-old premium brandy, which was super smooth! I could feel the regular brandy! The orange liquor was like an orange limoncello. The Fernet is a good drink for digestion at the end of a meal. Then, it was time for the plum rakija, strong grape rakija, and muscat grape rakija. The muscat was lighter and sweeter!
Massive thanks to my friends at Balkan Pearls Tour Operator and Rental Car Albania. My ultimate Albanian wine experience at the biggest and oldest winery in Durrës, Albania wouldn’t have been possible without them!
I hope you liked coming with me to have the ultimate Albanian wine experience in Durrës, Albania! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!