Drawing on fruit harvested from vines originating as French root-stock, coupled
with the relative softness imparted by a collection of 400 French oak barriques,
this neo-Bordeaux blended red of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc
nonetheless does impart the unique character of Bulgaria’s verdant vineyards.
Here in the Danube Plain wine growing region west of Sofia, in the tiny village of
Nisovo with its diminutive population of 120, the impressive underground cellar
of this vintner vies for attention only with a nearby rock monastery and 70 large
stone crosses of the reputed Templar graves mixed into the Roman cemetery.
It’s a historic and colourful context for what quizzically remains undiscovered,
yet very rich and prolific wine country. This is partially explained by the reality
that Bulgaria, being a key component of the former Soviet Union, directed most
of its premium exports to Russia and only now is gaining an improved reputation
in western markets for offerings other than the unfortunate flood of inexpensive
and unremarkable bulk wine that it released in the 1980’s. Fortunately for us,
this changing attitude of quality vs. quantity consciousness by Bulgarian vintners
continues to translate into modest price-points for their much more exceptional
wines – a case in point is the week’s DéClassé featured, Reserve Grade offering.
Having mostly been planted in the 1960’s to replace less-remarkable or archaic
varieties, these vineyards, blessed with some of the geographic benefits of being
situated on the same latitude as Bordeaux and Tuscany – are now fully mature.
Coupled with updated wine-making techniques that includes planned reduction in
yields in favour of more-concentrated fruit, the revitalized and dynamic wineries
of ‘Thrace’ are now creating modern wines that fully deserve the attention, the
appreciation and the votes of confidence by discerning buyers like you!
HORSE VALLEY SINGLE VINEYARD RESERVE RED 2011
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #363929 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 16.95
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD
Made in: Danubian Plain, Bulgaria
By: Wine Union JSC
Release Date: Feb 15, 2014
This is a medium-bodied, smooth and fulfilling red with some classic flavour and
aroma notes of cherry, vanilla and spice. Try serving with heartier food fare such
as roasts, game, ratatouille and gnocchi with meat sauces.