T’ga za Jug is a dry red wine from Macedonia’s Tikves region, produced from the native Vranec grape variety. It is Macedonia’s “most traditional wine.” But T’ga za Jug’s story transcends claims of mere authenticity, it is a wine imbued with a special cultural significance.
The name “T’ga za Jug,” which translates as “longing for the south,” is taken from a historically significant poem by Konstantin Miladinov, considered to be the founder of modern Macedonian poetry. Miladinov wrote the poem while living in Russia. “He was disappointed and nostalgic in Russia and obsessed with the idea of going back (to Macedonia). The "south" in the poem is Macedonia. Stambol is Istanbul, then a significant cultural center in the "south," and Kukus is a city that today belongs to Greece. Ohrid is the most significant cultural and historical city of Macedonia to this day, as well as Struga (where the writer was from).” Every year the large poetry festival held in Struga in honor of Konstantin and his brother Dimitar is kicked off by a ceremonial reading of “T’ga za Jug.”
Longing for the South (T'ga za jug)
by Konstantin Miladinov
If I had an eagle's wings
I would rise and fly on them
To our shores, to our own parts,
To See Stambol, to see Kukus,
And to watch the sunrise: is it
dim there too, as it is here?
If the sun still rises dimly,
If it meets me there as here,
I'll prepare for further travels,
I shall flee to other shores
Where the sunrise greets me brightly
And the sky is sewn with the stars.
It is dark here, dark surrounds me,
Dark covers all the earth,
Here are frost and snow and ashes,
Blizzards and harsh winds abound,
Fogs all around, the earth is ice,
And in the breast are cold, dark thoughts.
No, I cannot stay here, no;
I cannot sit upon this frost.
Give me wings and I will don them;
I will fly to our own shores,
Go once more to our own places,
Go to Ohrid and to Struga.
There the sunrise warms the soul,
The sun gets bright in mountain woods:
Yonder gifts in great profusion
Richly spread by nature's power.
See the clear lake stretching white-
Or bluely darkened by the wind,
Look at the plains or mountains:
Beauty everywhere divine.
To pipe there to my heart's content.
Ah! Let the sun set, let me die.
As for the wine itself, T’ga za Jug is a deep purple-red in appearance with a bouquet of red berries, cinnamon, and subtle oak. Reminiscent of an Italian barbera, T’ga za Jug has a good acidity, strawberry and cherry flavors, and a touch of black pepper on the finish. Great choice with food or poetry!!!
Author: Laura McGough