CEE Red Wine over £10

Forget all that very basic easy drinking Bulgarian Cab Sauvignon so beloved of the chattering classes in the 1980’s...

DWWA Reguional Trophy

Minkov Brothers “From the Cellar” Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2008, Thracian Valley, South Eastern Bulgaria

Forget all that very basic easy drinking Bulgarian Cab Sauvignon so beloved of the chattering classes in the 1980’s.

Here was a flight of elegant, balanced, sophisticated wines with some real charm and length on the palate; deftly made with just the right support of spicy, aromatic, clean oak, there only to lift and show off the lovely blackcurrant, and blueberry flavours and, best of them all, was this utterly delightful Cabernet blend. It had a silky, almost floral style, enough to make us all smile at the end of a long day.

Not only did I have the pleasure of seeing Bulgaria finally beginning to realise its true promise but also I still had the fun of finding out whose wine this was.

Even more fascinating….it was someone I’d never heard of. The Minkov Borthers turned out to be some 19th century heroes who’d won one of the first ever international medals given to a Bulgarian wine. The new owner’s ambitions are clearly indicated by their choice this title …they too want international recognition.

I was surprised and delighted to see cabernet Franc, a grape I’d never associated with Bulgaria. It’s one of an astonishing selection of no less than 12 different classic grape types from Western Europe, half of which most Bulgarians had never seen before.

The vines were planted from 2003 onwards and the winery started producing in 2008. Ivan Bakalski, their winemaker, recognises fully that the company was taking a huge risk in abandoning the comfort of tradition for varieties and blends their customers had never seen before. However, it is already paying off nicely.

Minkov Brothers has not yet started to export. Let us hope that this well deserved award will encourage them to do so before too long.

Panel tastings

Wine labels from some of the world's most famous wines