The Bacchus Report: Bulgarian surprises

Until recently, Balkan wines didn’t have the reputation they could have because quantity outpaced quality.

Large foreign investments, the purchase of modern technologies, the arrival of young, well-educated specialists and traditionally favorable climate and soil conditions – these are factors that currently favor the formerly undervalued Bulgarian wines. Above all, red Bulgarian wines are scoring big at international wine tastings, and Czech and Moravian wine-lovers are once again returning to Mavrud, Melnik, Gamza and Dimiat. From the vineyard point of view, Bulgaria is divided into five main regions. In the north, there are fertile lowlands along the Danube (Dunavska ravnina). Here we find very interesting red wines from the vintner’s village of Suhindol. This region continues into the east and the Black Sea region, which extends from the borders of Romania to the borders of Greece. For now, this region does not make wines of a very high quality, but fortunately they distill these into brandy. The narrow strip in the center of the country around the town of Karlovo is called Podbalkanski rajon, and it is located between Stara Planina and the Sredna Gora mountains. The interesting aromatic white wines Misket and Muscat originate in the famous Valley of Roses. In Trakij lowlands of the south, with the capital Plovdiv, the layout of the vineyards offers great prospects for red wines. Original wines are also born in the southwestern region, mainly in the valley of the Struma river, where the town of Melnik, with its distinctive wood houses and unique wines, is located. Experts insist that Bulgarian wines produced from traditional varietals cultivated in Bor-deaux, France, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, can be of the same quality as the originals if they are carefully processed and treated. But it would be a pity if truly original wines such as Mavrud or Melnik were not produced here, because no one else in the world is capable of doing it quite the same.
The author is the editor of Hospodářské noviny’s IN magazine.


Opening a bottle of wine has never been as simple as with this technically and designwise almost perfect screwdriver Vigneto with a cutter. Available as gift package in silver tin box for CZK 5,705

Available from: shops La vecchia bottega

Upcoming tastings

Výstaviště Praha Holešovice, Praha 7
19-21 May, 6th international trade fair of beverages and gastronomy “Wine and distilled liquor 2003” with tastings of exhibited samples. The first day, at 6 pm, an auction of rare archive wines and distilled liquors will take place.


Noman’s land, Damianitza Winery, Melnik 99
Struma Valley region – varietal Široka Melniška Losa. High quality branded red wine, dry varietal. Bright ruby in color, full bodied, rich grape aroma with smoke, or even tobacco, undertones. From vineyards in the border area, which was inaccessible during the communist regime.
Exclusive importer: BGK & T Praha
Available at: Wine Shop, Havelská 27, Praha 1
Price: 150 Kč.

Domain Menada Cabernet 1998, Special reserva, Belvedere Group Domain Menada (vineyard, Orjachovica vintner’s area, Stara Zagora region)
Dark ruby-red wine aged in barrels of Californian oak for 20 months. Coffee tones, with the taste of ripe black cherries and caramel. Harmonious, with a full body and sweet undertones of vanilla.
Imported by: Belvedere s.r.o, V Sadech 4a, Praha 6
Price: 189 Kč

Domain Menada Cabernet 1998, Premium reserva, region Stara Zagora
This wine, which is also aged in barrels of Californian oak, but only for 16 months, has the color of ripe dark cherries, an intensive aroma and a fresh piquant flavor.
Imported by: Belvedere s.r.o., V Sadech 4a, Praha 6.
Price: 156 Kč

Gamza 2000, region Vidin, Magura Winery Bulharsko
A nice example of original Bulgarian varietal, returning to the Czech market in a new form after many years.
Harmonious wine, with gentle tones of tannin.
Imported by: BGK & T Praha
Available at: Wine shop, Havelská 27, Praha 1.
Price: 199 Kč



WIN a bottle of red Bordeaux from Vins de France by answering the following questions:

1. The varietal Cabernet Sauvignon moved out into the world from which country:
* France
* Bulgaria
* Italy

2. Blue varietals create what colored wine:
* red wine
* white and red wine
* exclusively port

3. Fortified wines are made stronger by adding:
* spirits
* extract
* sugar

Send answers (and a phone #) on a postcard marked QUIZ OF THE MONTH to: The Prague Tribune, Na Maninách 7, 170 00 Praha 7. The first six correct entries drawn will win. Winners will be notified by mail and announced in the subsequent issue of the magazine. Winners from last month’s quiz: K. Vítek (Praha 8), Z. Miklas (Praha 4), O. Pačesová (Kostelec nad Černými Lesy), M. Holubová (Vyžlovka), V. Vítková (Praha 10).

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