2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Thracian Valley) by Bulgariana

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Thracian Valley) by Bulgariana, Bulgaria

Good firm nose with dark plums, and dark cherries. This is very much a Cab. Swirl vigorously to release a damp grassy forest floor as cherries turn slightly sweet.

Body is nicely balanced front to back. There’s a hint of acidity. Plums are fairly dry and tart, providing good firm structure. As it breathes, a touch caramel softens the body ever so slightly. This is likely due to oxidation of those tannins since this wine is unoaked. A hint of leather carries over, as do slightly ripened dark cherries. This eventually subsides, giving way to a firm and ever tightening tannic grip. After a brief moment, a crisp caramel emerges before giving way to a gentle but firm spice heat over parched lips.

This is my second wine from the Thracian Valley. It is a classic, well built Cab. Great personality and value especially for the price. This Cab punches well above its weight. It’s always interesting to see this kind of execution from a region you seldom hear about.

Thank you Bulgariana Wine, G&B Importers

2018 Sauvignon Blanc (Thracian Valley) by Bulgariana

Tonight’s Occasion: 2018 Sauvignon Blanc (Thracian Valley) by Bulgariana, Bulgaria.

Clean, bright yellow gold color. Up front, passion fruit, cantaloupe and a subtle wet earthy leather. Swirling vigorously gently intensifies the nose, rendering it somewhat mineral in expression. Tart white, stone fruit emerges towards the back (mostly plum). The faintest honeysuckle you’d likely miss. Very classy.

Body balanced, front to back. Dry. Without attack, a soft, plush, slightly weighed, mild mannered body greets and slowly blankets the entire palate. I can tell it’s dry but yet it’s mineral underpinnings have a mouth watering effect. Stone fruit carry forward and linger in the back. Leather turns from slight wet wood to mineral as it falls into the background. Transition to finish with very little fanfare, marked by emergence of a warm gentle spice, mineral leather with long enduring moist lips.

What a class act. At around $13, this wine is proof positive, not all good wine is expensive and not all expensive wine is good. Like the Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc, it punches several levels above its weight for a fraction of the price. My first wine from the Thracian Valley, second wine from Bulgaria. It gives me pause as I sit here sipping – there is someone in Bulgaria making world class wines. I feel compelled to travel to Bulgaria.

Nicely done folks!

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2018 Pinot Noir by Bulgariana, Danube Plain, Bulgaria.

Tonight’s Occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir by Bulgariana (@bulgarianawine), Danube Plain, Bulgaria.

Not all expensive wine is good and not all good wine is expensive. This is one of the best things about venturing off the beaten path.

Dark intense color (for a Pinot Noir). Crisp, slightly warm and restrained nose with notes of black plum and a loamy wet wood leather. Swirl vigorously to unlock ripe dark cherries and subtle hints of licorice. A very distant floral/honey that you’d likely miss.

Body is dry, balanced. Crisp black plum and cherry carry through albeit even more restrained. This provides a thin, unobtrusive structure. Damp wood and a touch of crisp oak (guessing neutral French oak) bring good dimension to this otherwise fairly dry wine. Midway through a gentle but firm, warm heat emerges, quickly making its way down the chest. This marks the transition to finish, a graceful fade away leaving the palate parched with a gentle dusty tannic grip and subtle bitter cola.

This wine surprised me the first time I had it a couple years ago. I had the 2014 vintage and it was just as revealing. That vintage has aged very beautifully, revealing lots of all spice and earth notes. I can see this 2018 vintage showing even better a few years from now. Perhaps the best part about this wine is that it will set you back a modest $14 or so. What a great value for the intermediate to advanced palate looking to explore this lesser known region.

Nicely done!

2014 Pinot Noir by Bulgariana

Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir by Bulgariana. This one comes from the Danube Plain in Bulgaria. Yes, you read that right!

Wine is an art form. To truly appreciate it you have to constantly seek it out. You have to venture off the beaten path. You can’t just stagnate with what seems popular. You will miss out on some of the greatest wines you never knew about.

I’m impressed with this wine. It has an aromatic nose rich in cherry, plum, a hint of leather and tobacco. A subtle bitter reminiscent of cocoa. The body is fairly full for a Pinot, introducing more plum and a hint of licorice on the front. Earthy terroir and tobacco conspire to create an intriguing expression in the back. Once opened up, bold creamy tannins dominate a long lasting finish capped with a healthy note of spice.

I picked this wine up at out of curiosity. I wanted to explore that corner of the world and I certainly am surprised. Furthermore at $14 a bottle it definitely punches above it’s weight. This is how you find good value. It is far superior to some of the Pinot I had last weekend in Napa and Sonoma, for a fraction of the price.

What’s the most obscure region you have explored?