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Bulgaria’s Top 10 Wines

At The Bulgarian Wine of the Year competition organized last November by the Bulgarian wine and food magazine Bacchus, wine connoisseurs listed the following wine as Bulgaria’s finest. Quest Bulgaria gives a description of each wine based on the tasting notes made by the judges during the competition.

The Competition

Bacchus Magazine invited a selection of leading Bulgarian wine connoisseurs, which included wine traders, journalists and sommeliers to judge the country’s best wine from a shortlist of 50 Bulgarian brands. During the final round of the competition, an international jury headed by renowned wine authority Steven Spurrier, who is probably best known for organising the Paris Wine Tasting, headed up the panel, which ranked the Top Ten and gave out awards for the best in category.
Points were awarded for taste, bouquet, complexity and the wine’s individual character meaning its ability to stimulate the palate and be remembered. Additionally the judges took into consideration the wine’s quality, price and distribution capacity. Wines, which were produced in too large or too small quantities i.e. under 500 bottles were excluded.

1. Santa Sarah Privat 2006
Santa Sarah Privat, vintage 2006 tops the chart by winning the coveted title “Bulgarian Wine of the Year 2008” as well as “Best Bulgarian Red 2008.” Privat is believed to be the best wine from the Santa Sarah stable. The slow fermentation process, whereby the wine is matured in German oak barrels, followed by a 10-month period in new French barrels, creates its inimitable taste. It is a combination of Mavrud and Cabernet Sauvignon with a lively, dense, dark ruby colour, with shades of purple. It has s a juicy and attractive nose, with tones of plum jam, liquorice, dark chocolate, dill and bell pepper. The wine has excellent balance with a fresh juicy and pleasant taste, a hint of melted tannins, a smooth finish with a trace of ripe, fresh, black fruit. This wine will be at its best of it is left for a couple of years and uncorked in 2010. A 90 ml bottle costs 48 lv.

2. Terra Tangra Roto 2006

This wine carries all of the characteristics of the region it was produced in. It is a warm and agreeable wine, which was harvested by hand.The grapes were then put into French barrels, which rotated several times a day to develop the complex aromas characteristic of this brand. The wine has a lively opaque colour, with a brick red tone. It has a complex, complicated bouquet of mushrooms, smoke, minerals, roasted red pepper, cedar, coffee, ripe black cherries, olives and pipe tobacco. It also has a full body and concentrated flavour with soft velvety tannins. With a spicy and juicy finish it is a remarkable wine, which is best uncorked in 2013. A 91 ml bottle costs 57 lv.

3. Solitaire Elenovo Merlot 2006
From the ever popular Domaine Boyar Wine Cellar, this clear ruby red wine has a bouquet of peppermint, vinyl, minerals, fresh cassis, chokeberry, spinach, dock and an earthy scent. Its fresh flavour gives it a medium structure with a delicate taste of tannins and a long, thirst-quenching finish. There are hints of peppermint and chokeberry smoke. This wine is best uncorked in 2011 and costs 50 lv.

4. Maxxima Private Reserve Coupage, 2003

From the Maxxima Wine Cellars, this opaque, dark ruby wine is tinted with subtle hues of red cherry. It has a forceful, complex aroma with the hints of succulent Black Forest fruits, red pepper, piquant spices, asphalt tones, eucalyptus, cocoa, butters and minerals. Its powerful smooth, tight flavour has an alluring tinge of pepper, minerals, soil and juicy red fruits. Its finish is long and spicily dry, with tobaccos, sweet spices and minerals. It is best uncorked in 2011. A bottle costs 27 lv.

5. Nobile Rubin, 2006

From the Logodaj Wine Cellar, this saturated, inky coloured wine also contains shades of cherry. It has a controlled but extremely elegant nose of minerals, juicy fruits, exotic spices and some balsamic undertones. Its taste is lively, smooth, fresh and juicy with a very good balance and a coarse make-up. Its finish has a long, spicy, asphalt character with subtle hints of roasted meat. A bottle costs 20 lv.

6. Terra Tangra Cuvee Coupage, 2006
This delicious dark ruby coloured wine has glimmers of garnet. Its aroma is that of a medium intensity red fruit liqueur as well with earthy undertones of mushrooms, linden tree, tea and thick tar. Its taste is fresh with a medium body and delicate tannins. The finish is pleasing, fresh and spicy. This wine is best uncorked in 2010 and costs 17 lv. a bottle.

7. Question Mark Coupage, 2006

From the Katarzyna Wine Cellar, this intense, lively wine is a bright red-cherry shade. Its bouquet is a mix of black and red forest fruits, burnt sugar, butter, smoke, walnut and cocoa. It has a medium to full-bodied juicy taste with a good concentration of subtle tannins. This wine has a long spicy finish with hints of smoke dark chocolate and dry leaves. It is best uncorked in 2009 and costs v. a bottle.

8. Enira Reserva Coupage, 2006

An offering from the Bessa Valley Wine Cella, this highly saturated, dark garnet coloured wine has a rich aroma and all the characteristics of a classic cabernet. It has the aroma of black cherries, roasted bell pepper, dill, butter, vanilla and coffee with a soft, sweet, juicy taste highlighting delicate tannins and a good structure. The wine has a long, hard-hitting finish and costs 42 lv. a bottle.  

9. Terra Tangra Grand Reserva Coupage, 2006

Terra Tangra have scored extremely well in this contest and this wine represents excellent value from one of the country’s leading wine cellars. It has a medium cinnamon, intense ruby colour with soft cherry shades and a mature nose with an aroma of roasted plums, mulberry and coffee. Its soft, fresh taste is that of a sweet milk chocolate and sugar coated fruits. It has an average finish and costs 24 lv. a bottle.

10. Vinissimo American Barrel Cabernet Coupage, 2006

This is a wine from the Rachev and Son Wine Cellar. It has a saturated, clear ruby colour and an aroma of minerals, vinyl, peppermint, fresh black currant, spinach dock and earthy accents. Its flavour is fresh, with a medium structure and delicate tannins and a juicy and long finish with an aftertaste of aronia, smoke and peppermint. A bottle costs 18 lv.