Fresh | Crisp | Perfumed
Sandanski Misket is a cross of Broad-leaved Melnik (red grape) and Tamianka (white) that produces soft, but highly aromatic and accessible white wines. It can be confused for Muscat, but it's frequently without the same level of phenolic bitterness.
Very small plantings remain in the southwest corner of Bulgaria, but plantings are increasing all over the country. This grape faced extinction but is now gaining more attention.
Aromas & flavors typical of Sandanski Misket include citrus such as mandarin, grapefruit, and meyer lemon, and yellow flowers. They tend to be powerful on the nose yet refreshing on the palate.
Characterful | Spicy | Structured
Mavrud is an ancient variety indigenous to the regions of Southern Bulgaria. The name Mavrud derives from the Greek word ‘mavro’, which means black (most likely because of its bluish-black skin). Over the border in Greece it is sometimes grown (called Mavroudi).
Mavrud is a late ripening, low yielding grape of small thick-skinned berries that can produce tannic, spicy wine that is age worthy. It is susceptible to mildew, but resistant to grey rot. Also, it tends to have good color and extract, but retains acidity. Mavrud is versatile in making both red and rose, with or without oak.
Mavrud's aromas & flavors typically include cherry, cocoa, green tea, boysenberry, sweet & sour, juniper, thyme. It is sometimes likened to lightly oaked Malbec, often having the same magenta rim.
Complex | Aromatic | Balanced
The Rubin grape is small, bluish-black with thin skin. It ripens around September, is sensitive to low temperatures, and develops well on hilly terrain with deep soil.
This variety has all the qualities to become a favorite. The wines are intensely colored with pronounced aromas. They are full bodied with tight tannins which soften quickly through the process of aging.
Rubin's heritage as a cross of Nebbiolo and Syrah gives notes of candied red cherry, strawberry, hibiscus, lavender, roses, gunflint, and leather.
Textured | Peppery | Powerful
Wines from Melnik were the most popular Bulgarian wines in Western Europe
during the 19th and 20th century. Sir Winston Churchill was known to be big fan of Melnik wine, purchasing 500 litres of the wine annually.
The Melnik variety matures late, typically around mid October, but sometimes later. It enjoys the high temperatures of southwest Bulgaria during the growing season, which is why it doesn't tend to ripen elsewhere.
The Melnik grape ripens to high potential alcohol while retaining good acidity. The skins are rich in extract. The wines tend to be full-bodied, tannic, with good aging ability.
There are many different ways Melnik is being made, with blends becoming popular. There have been many crossings and hybrids as viticulturists have explored ways of making the grape easier to grow. Broadleaved Melnik is the parent grape and the ancient cultivar. Early Melnik/Melnik 55 is Broadleaved Melnik x Valdiguie (French grape). Rarer crosses include Melnik 1300/Melnik Jubilee, a cross of Broadleaved Melnik & Saperavi (Georgian grape), as well as Melnishki Rubin, a cross of Broadleaved Melnik & Cabernet Sauvignon (unrelated to Rubin despite the name)
Aromas for the more popular Broadleaved & Early Melnik typically include tobacco, black pepper, blackberry jam, blueberry, plum, violets, overturned earth, and baking spices.
Delicate | Fruity | Easy Drinking
Pamid has a long history, as it was at one point the most widely planted grape in Bulgaria. Traditionally, it has been used in the production of light red wines that are easy drinking, but with the limited character and a lighter concentration, the grape started to fall out of favor in the export market. It remains present predominantly in Bulgaria, with small amounts in the neighboring countries of Romania, Albania, and Hungary.
The grape is easy to cultivate and not particular to any specific soil types. The style of the wine tends to be light, and typically drunk when young, with lower levels of acidity. It’s become a popular grape to make into rose, often having a slight bit of residual sugar. It’s sometimes thought of the Bulgarian version of Beaujolais.
Fruity | Versatile | Vibrant
Gamza wine is produced by the red grape variety known more widely as Kadarka in Hungary. In Bulgaria it was particularly popular during the Soviet years and is now found mostly in the northwest of the country near the Danube River. It may have a comeback with new winemakers looking to revive this historical grape.
Similar to Pinot Noir, there is versatility in the way the wine is produced. While it was more commonly made into a full bodied wine, it is seeing a softer and fruitier style emerge especially from younger plantings.
Preferring cool but not too cold temperatures, Gamza does well in rich soils near the north of the country. It is late ripening, and needs a warm autumn to achieve ripeness. The skins are thin, but it manages to make a full-bodied and balanced wine. It’s extremely dependent on climatic conditions, and a poor autumn can be problematic.
Flavors and aromas are similar to Pinot Noir, such as raspberry and red cherry, with fine, soft tannins and fresh acidity.
Citrusy | Perfumed | Fresh
One of the most widely planted white grapes in Bulgaria, Dimyat is found almost exclusively on the Black Sea Coast. Traditionally made into dry whites, some examples of Dimyat are made into unique orange wines as well. Yields are high. It prefers warmer temperatures and thrives on limestone soils.
The wines made from Dimyat are light, fresh, and herbaceous whites that have a floral undertone in addition to aromas of quince, apricot, and lemon. It also has an ability to merge with oak in unique ways that provide some vanilla notes.
Exotic | Vibrant | Historical
Is Tamianka a Bulgarian grape or not? Tamianka is Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains. Muscat is a huge family of grapes found all over the Mediterranean. This particular cultivar has been present in Thrace for thousands of years. Bulgarians proudly choose to honor its history and heritage by calling it by its native name, Tamianka.
Tamianka has a great balance of aromatics, not too intense and not too faint. It tends to be dry, and sometimes is included in blends.