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by Fred McMillin
Another Bulgarian Bargain
...World Atlas of Wine, Hugh Johnson
The Rest of the Story
We've got a Sliven Cab for you, a Bulgarian bargain. Bulgarian wine?? Huge exporter?? Let's see how it got that way.
8000 B.C.—Wine is fermented west of the Black Sea in what is today Bulgaria. Hence, Bulgaria may have been the first place man made wine.
The Wine God Dionysus appears. Homer mentions the area's wines in both the Iliad and the Odyssey.
However, the vine has had its opponents. Legend says that during the reign of Khan Kroum all vineyards were ordered destroyed. Later, a lion escaped from its cage and terrorized the city. However, a fearless young man named Mavrud (now the name of a wine grape) confronted and slew the beast. The king summoned Mavrud's mother to learn the source of such courage. She said she secretly saved a vine, made wine, and that was the source of his bravery. Khan Kroum ordered the vineyards replanted.
A more modern opponent was the Soviet's Secretary General Gorbachev. As part of his program to reduce alcohol consumption in the USSR, he also ordered the uprooting of large tracts of Bulgarian vines.
However, you can't keep a good vineyard down. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the vines were back. I've seen Sliven Cab production figures in the range of a million cases a year.
The Sliven winery making today's selection is named Vini. We reviewed their Merlot in the April 7, 1998 WineDay, "A Bargin from Bulgaria". Today's wine picks off bronze medals, which is no easy feat for a seven dollars Cabernet. Here are the details.
Vini 1995 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
You may recognize a familiar influence in Bulgarian wines. Sliven benefited when Pepsicola helped upgrade Sliven winemaking by having a pretty good outfit guide them...University of California—DAVIS!
Credits: The Wine & Food of Bulgaria, Don Philpott
03/21/00—Feast of St. Benedict
03/20/00—A Divine Ice Wine
03/16/00—A Cab From Puckerville
03/15/00—The Peju Debut...Doom & Gloom
03/14/00—Birth of a Blanc
03/13/00—A Bargain Hunter
03/10/00—Hogue's in Vogue
03/09/00—Unordinary Fred Cherry
03/08/00—It Was Quite a Fight
03/07/00—The White Zin Cash In
03/06/00—Ah-Mah-Row-Nee is No Phony
03/03/00—A Medoc Moment
03/02/00—Take a Pott Shot
03/01/00—The Wrong Name: Women & Wine
This page created March 2000