Southern wine region
22% of Bulgaria's vineyards lying in this region.
It is in the South that one can enjoy the endless beauty of Bulgaria. The southern region envelopes the Plain of Thrace, stretching from east to west along the River Maritsa, which is cradled between the Sredna Gora in the north and the Rhodope Mountains in the south. The rich vegetation in the Plain is evidence of the fertility of the land which feeds off the tributaries of the Maritsa.
The region has long and dry, hot summers and mild, humid winters. This region is both drier and hotter than north of the Balkan range. Approximately eighty percent of the soil of this region comprises of the leached black earth dating to an age when deciduous forests covered the land. These soils are rich in colloid, humus and have sufficient levels of nitrogen and potassium. For this reason a wide range of crops is grown in this region.
Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, is located in the Thracian Plain in this region. Plovdiv was built on seven hills along the Maritsa River, and its ancient history and especially its picturesque old town, lend the city a characteristic charm.
Although the Assenovgrad winery produces some notably good Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots, the true speciality of the Assenovgrad region is the indigenous Mavrud grape. It produces good robust wines with fairly high acidity and plenty of character.
At the Assenovgrad winery the Mavrud wines are often aged in oak, which complements the style of this varietal. The Assenovgrad Mavrud Reserve 1993 has been immensely popular on the UK market and is a delightful alternative to the standard international grape varieties.
Over the years Haskovo has gained the honored reputation as the Merlot specialist in Bulgaria, with over 90% of its production being from this one variety. Inherent soil conditions, the aspect and position of the vineyards and the prevailing climate in the Rhodopes render it a natural home for the grape and combined with the vision of Elena Petrova, head winemaker, they have succeeded in producing a stunning series of Merlots ranging from the juicy rich to the seductively mellow. Prominent amongst these new top quality Merlots are the Azbuka Stambolovo Merlot 1996 and the Musika Sakar Merlot 1995.
Domaine Boyar Iambol
The majority of wines produced are single variety or blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The recent style emanating from this winery is an increase in single varietals in the New World style as displayed in the Premium Oak and Premium Reserve wines. The Cabernet Sauvignons tend to be fruit driven with soft noble tannins which characterize the Iambol region. The Merlots are filled with ripe fruit with a long finish . The Domaine Boyar Iambol Merlot 1997, winner of a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge 1998, is but one example of the numerous award winners in the Domaine Boyar Iambol portfolio.
Menada Stara Zagora
The red wines of this winery are rich, packed with currant flavours. The wines have balancing tannins and on the whole, a dry finish. The trait of many of these wines is the greengage aromas and flavours, which is typical of this area. The Oriachovitza Merlots tend to have a medicinal quality with an earthy flavour on the palate. Some wines are aged in new American oak barrels lending vanilla aromas and flavours to the wines.
Domaine Sakar Liubimetz
Domaine Sakar Liubimetz lies in the hottest part of Bulgaria. The sun ripens the grapes two weeks earlier than elsewhere e in Bulgaria, to provide rich ripe fruit to be used in the production high quality red wines. The ongoing aim of Domaine Sakar Liubimetz is to keep in touch with the taste of the consumer markets. To this end, reflecting the popularity of the Merlots from this winery, there has been an increase in Merlot production and there is a desire to plant more Merlot as it is also best suited to the region and the climate.
The wines of Perushtitza are full bodied with plenty of rich, ripe fruit. The team enjoy experimenting with different styles of winemaking and with a range of grape varieties. The Rubin grape a crossing of Nebbiolo and Syrah established in the 1960s in Pleven is grown exclusively in this region. This grape variety has the full body of the Nebbiolo and the spicy pepper flavours of the Syrah. Smela Lulova, Chief Oenologist at Perushtitza, finds that Rubin is not only successful as a single varietal but particularly so in a Cabernet Sauvignon blend.