Bulgarian wine areas?
In all geographical ares where wine is being made the link between territory, variety, climate and human factor ( in sense of history, culture, traditions and winemaking methods) is fundamental and determines the character of the wine. The specific link between these complex and interconnected factors is what in French is called Terroir.
This is true also concerning Bulgarian wine areas, in a country with an ancient wine culture and with climatic conditions very suitable for the cultivation of both ” international grapes” as Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay etc and “autochthonous” varieties, term which we have deified in a previous post.
Leaving for a moment a part the international grapes and focusing our attention on Bulgaria, which are actually the regions where vine is being cultivated and which reflect the uniqueness of the local culture? The country is divided in 5 wine areas which we are going to examine below:
The Danubian plain wine area (North Bulgaria)
This wine area includes the territory between the coast of the Danube river and the Stara Planina mountain chain and is generally flat or slightly hilly and very fertile. A typical indigenous grap is Gamza, known also in the other Danubian countries as Serbia and Hungary under the name Kadarka. Gamza is a red variety and is mostly diffused in the the areas of the towns of Vidin and Pleven. The variety matures normally end of September and gives fresh, fruity and spicy wines with a characteristic aroma of raspberries.
Black Sea Coast wine area (Eastern Bulgaria)
The Black Sea Coast is the region where are concentrated about 30% of the Bulgarian vineyards. The climate is characterized by a warm summer and a mild winter and is suitable for the cultivation of white varieties. Characteristic for this wine area is the ancient local variet Dimiat suitable also for the production of desert wines. In the wine area of Varna it is also used to pruducer quality brandy.
The Rose Valley Wine area (Podbalkan)
The region is known mostly for the cultivation of roses (the famous Bulgarian Rosa Damascena, considered among the best in the world) and includes the territory between the mountain chains of Stara Planina and Sredna Gora. A typical local sort in Red Misket ( Misket Cherven). The grapes have a red color, but are actually used to make a white wine with a characteristic aromatic profile.
Thracian Valley wine area (Southern Bulgaria)
This wine area includes the southern part of the country, the climate is moderate continental. The region is protected from the cold north winds by the mountain chain of Stara Planina, the rain distribution is very good. The excellent climate conditions permit the cultivation of the indigenous variety Mavrud, considered among the most important and prestigious Bulgarian grapes. The bunches are small, the yields are low and the grapes mature late- generally harvest is done end of October. The Mavrud wine has a rich red colour, deep nose with notes of plumes, cherries and spices, soft and firm tannins. It is a variety with a long ageing potential. The Neragora Mavrud is an authentic expression of this great Bulgarian variety.
Struma River Valley wine area (Southwestern Bulgaria)
Southwestern Bulgaria includes the valley of the river Struma and the Bulgarian part of the Macedonia region. The climate is specific and is under the Mediterranean influence. In this area is cultivated the indigenous grape Broadleaf Melnik ( Shiroka Melnik)- a late maturation indigenous high quality grape with a long ageing potential. It is also famous for being Winston Churchill’s favorite wine, it is said that he used to order 500 liters of Melnik wine each year!
The autochthonous Bulgarian grapes does not end here, we are going to talk about them in the following articles as well. Variety is richness, and in this sense Bulgaria is a rich country!
And you, have you discovered any other ” wine treasures” in Bulgaria? Tell us about them!