When I think of different countries and/or regions known for wine production, I must be honest, Bulgaria isn’t one of the first that comes to mind. This week’s Wine Wednesday feature, the 2011 Bulgariana Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah Blend piqued my curiosity and caused me to do a little research.
In the 80’s, Bulgaria was the world’s second largest producer of wine, but the collapse of communism caused the industry to decline. However, it is on its way back to the extent that the Thracian Valley is one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top 10 Wine Travel Destinations for 2017. Who want's to go?
The Thracian Valley (Southern Bulgaria) produces Mavrud (a red varietal thought to be indigenous to the area) as well as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon among others.
Bulgariana is a 50%/50% blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It has an intense deep garnet color. On the nose, blackberry, cassis, very very ripe plum and coffee. On the palate, it wasn't as aggressive as I might have expected from a wine of 14.8% alcohol by volume. It started out very fruit forward, slightly sweet and sort of jammy in the middle with a welcomed peppery finish.
Incidentally, the wine wasn’t quite as sturdy the second day. It was a touch sweeter, though it kept its peppery finish, which made it a great pairing for barbecue and sloppy joes. We enjoyed this with Grilled Lamb Chops with Walnut and Herb Pesto the first night and Chipotle Chili Sloppy Joes the next. Try also with venison or bison. Click the links below to print or save the recipe pairing suggestions.