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Khan Krum, Traminer

Traminer is a hybrid grape variety that produces an aromatic fruity white wine. It’s high natural sugar content means that it lends itself well as both a dessert wine and an accompaniment to many main courses. Bulgaria offers the ideal climate and soil for Traminers and consequently they feature high on many leading white wine producers portfolio. If you are not familiar with this grape variety and are worried that it will be too sweet, give it a try, its fantastic with a curry and is more of a dry wine than overly sweet.

The Winery

The Khan Krum wine cellar opened in 1939, when the local vine growers in the village of Khan Krum decided to pool their resources and form a wine found their own wine – making cooperative. They built a classic style wine cellar with concrete reservoirs on 30 decares of land. In 1976, the wine cellar was reconstructed to include technology for high quality wines, a bottling line and a compartment for the stabilisation of the wine. During the Communist era the cellar was renowned for its elite high quality wines in particular its white wines.  The cellar underwent further reconstruction in 2005, which included the modernising of the vessels for preserving the wines and the bottling plant. The winery is located in Khan Krum village on the southern slopes of the Shumen Plateau, 9 km north east of Veliki Preslav.

The vines cover around 5,500 decares. In addition to Traminer, the winery also produces classic Chardonnay, Aligote, Muscat Otonel, Merlot, Rakatziteli, Riesling and Bulgarian Dimyat. The cellar’s capacity is 3,500 tons of white wine and 900 tons of red with a processing capacity of 4,500 tons of grapes.  Besides an equipped technological line for white wines, the wine cellar disposes of vessels for preservation and aging of red wines. Khan Krum wines are still renowned as high quality whites and are exported around the world to Russia, the UK, USA, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Malta, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The winery has also won numerous awards including several from the International Wine Challenge, the Winemaker’s Selection Awards, some from Bulgaria’s own wine exhibition Vinaria, where our featured wine Traminer vintage 2006 won a Silver Medal.

The Grape: Traminer

Traminer grapes are a purpley- pink colour. The grapes are grown in Khan Krum at an altitude of 200 to 250 m, on carbon rich black soil. The terrain here is particularly good for growing white wine grapes and this is helped by the moderate continental climate and the gentle sea breeze blowing from the coast along the bed of the Kamchiya River. The main growing period starts around April 15 and the grapes are picked by hand throughout September through until the beginning of October. After processing, the wine is matured in state of the art stainless steel tanks each holding 40 tons. Traminer is a vigorous growing vine that is particularly exacting about the climate and soil it grows in. It does not grow well in chalky soil and is vulnerable to disease, because it comes into bud early it is often susceptible to frost. If it is not grown in countries with a warm dry summer climate, the grapes will not ripen.  If the climate is too hot, then it becomes overpoweringly sweet and does not have enough acidity to balance the overly sweet taste.

The Wine: Khan Krum Traminer

Often known by the German name ‘Gewuerztraminer’, this refreshing white wine is known in Bulgaria simply as Traminer . It should be drunk early after bottling. It has a light sparkling gold colour and is a flavoursome wine with a strong floral bouquet almost like a heady perfume of violets, rose and lavender and a brusque but clean acidic finish. It also leaves a small trail of very fine bubbles on the glass. Khan Krum Traminer has an alcohol content of 12.5% and a residual sugar content of 4g. This wine must be served chilled and is an excellent accompaniment to spicy dishes, wild game, hard cheese, smoked salmon and desserts. At 6.60 lv. for a 75 ml bottle it represents excellent value.

Pictures courtesy of www.khankrum.bg