A wine’s aroma is one of its most important characteristics. It depends on the grape variety, the vinification techniques used, the style of the wine, its age, the contact it has had with oak or other types of wood and a few other factors. A wine’s aroma is often a reflection of its condition at a certain moment. It reveals whether it is ready to drink, whether it needs to age more or we have been too late to drink it at its peak condition. In terms of pleasant aromas, the diversity is great and consumer choices vary depending on their individual preferences.

Qvevri - what it actually is?

“Qvevri” is a Georgian word meaning a big clay vessel. In Armenia, they use the word “karasi” for the same vessels, while in Europe we simply call them amphora, in Spain and Portugal “tinajes” etc. They have many names, but one thing in common - they are made of clay and since ancient times they have been used for the production, storage and transport of wine. Ancient Greeks and Romans already used them for same purpose. Unlike amphoras which served for transport and storage of wines, qvevri were used exclusively for vinification and ageing, being fixed in the cellar. The shape of a qvevri is oval, the size can reach up to 5000 liters and according to the Caucasian tradition the vessels have to be buried into the ground in order to have the vinification at a constant temperature. Qvevri can only be crafted by hand which requires a lot of patience and hard-work. The qvevri making craft is passed down from father to son, from generation to generation. Nowadays in Georgia only few families are still practicing this ancient craftwork.

The bio movement in wines cannot be viewed separately from the trends in agriculture where number of scandals concerning the proper labeling and the purity of the foods made many people ask the honest question “What do we eat?” and to demand a sincere answer from the producers. In the soil and water we can find various types of chemicals accumulated during the treatment against diseases and pests. Do you believe that the products grown on such soils are good for you?

The response of the wine and grape producers is the organic method of cultivating the vines as an alternative to the conventionally used fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides and in the wine industry – the introduction of number of mild practices. The organic production methods turn into a way of thinking where the health of the soils and biodiversity are of higher priority as compared to the marketing strategy. Did you know that Château Margaux uses grapes cultivated organically? No? Well, this is true belief in the ”green movement”.

Shapes

Bottle shapes give informed wine lovers an idea of what may be inside the bottle without having to look at the label. These shapes exist because of history and tradition. They are meant to reflect a sense of place and identity in a wine. However, the shape of the bottle is increasingly becoming a way to differentiate one product from another in a highly saturated market and many producers choose the bottle shapes they use based on very different factors and portfolio concerns such as originality, feel and, inevitably, price. The colour of the glass is also used to distinguish between grape varieties and styles of wine. This may not simplify things for us as consumers but it definitely makes a wine display more exciting to explore. Here is a brief list of some of the most common bottle shapes you may fi nd.

As a wine producer Bulgaria has always had a special place on the international wine map. For starters, with its territory and climate, the country has been the fifth largest wine producer in the 70’s of the last century. The trade monopolist of that time, Vinimpex, was the largest wine seller in the world with annual production exceeding 300 million bottles, which equals approximately 1 million bottles per day. This, of course, was in an entirely different political and economic environment and with an artificially sustained exchange of commodities within the framework of the former COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance).

Bulgarians used to name the wine Cherven Petko as it is a drink they consider sacred for it is immanently present at all their family feasts and rituals. The wine of Bulgarians is like a genetic code speaking about the nation’s formation, enclosed within wine containers of pottery, leather, wood and metal. It is like a herald through times immemorial telling about Bulgarian wine skills and knowledge.

Grenache Noir

Grenache Noir is a red wine grape variety. It is considered that it originated in Spain but there is a recent popular hypothesis that it may have originated from the island of Sardinia, Italy. It is an early budding but late ripening variety, making it suitable for warmer climates and guaranteeing its popularity in the context of global warming. Grenache Noir is widely planted in Spain and Italy but it is especially popular in France where it is the main grape variety in Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. It is used for both rose and red wines and it is often blended with other varieties in diff erent parts of the world. Varietal wines are full-bodied, with aromas of ripe red fruit and high in alcohol.

My first encounter with varietal Cabernet Franc wine made in Bulgaria was at the beginning of the new millennium. It was “Dzindzifkite” by “Damianitza”. I was fascinated. This handwritten label set the begging of my curiosity to these Bulgarian made varietal wines. I have also been curious for all other varieties that courageously entered the Bulgarian wineries since 1990, such as Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Mourvedre and many others.

Attention! Contains sulfites!

What are sulfites?

Sulfites are chemical compounds containing sulfite ion. They are often used as preservatives in the production of wine, dried fruits, dried potato products, beer, carbonated soft drinks, etc. Their aim is prevention of product spoilage and oxidation. They are natural ingredient in almost all wines.

"Everything new is actually well-forgotten old" – this maxim is valid not only for the haute couture, but for every other fashion trend as well. This is how in the past 5 years on a global wine scale somewhat suddenly everyone began to talk and write about wines and the method of their vinifi cation, actually known to humanity for centuries but well-forgotten.