Tuesday, November 24, 2020

2016 Bulgarian Heritage Dimyat: An Excellent Value Wine

Wine making in Bulgaria has an ancient history, extending back at least a few thousand years to the Thracians. What might surprise you is that during the 1980s, Bulgaria was the second largest wine producer in the world! However, with the collapse of communism, their wine industry took a heavy hit. In recent years, the wine industry has been rebounding, and the quality of their wines has been improving. As such, you may soon start seeing more Bulgarian wines on store shelves and restaurant lists.

I've only tasted a handful of Bulgarian wines, though much of what I've tasted I have enjoyed. Recently, I opened a bottle of 2016 Karabunar "Bulgarian Heritage" Dimyat with dinner and was intrigued with its taste. 

The Karabunar Winery was established in 2008, and then expanded in 2010, and is located in the middle of the Thracian Valley near the village of Karabunar. The region is said to have some of the best soils for vineyards and over 80% of the arable land is planted with vines. One of their main brands is Bulgarian Heritage, which includes only wines made with native varietals. They also grow some international grapes. 

Dimyat is an old white grape, that potentially originated in Bulgaria although there is a legend the grape began in Egypt and traveled to Bulgaria with the Crusaders. However, the evidence does not seem to support the validity of this origin tale. Dimyat is said to be a fairly neutral grape, with good acidity, and which is used to produce dry wines, sweet wines, and even sparkling wines. 

The  2016 Karabunar "Bulgarian Heritage" Dimyat ($12-$15) is from the PGI Thracian Lowlands, made with 100% Dimyat, and has a 13% ABV. I found some contradictory information about the aging of this wine, one source stating it spent no time in oak, and the other than it spent one month in a large new Bulgarian oak barrel. On the nose, there were intriguing spice notes that reminded me a little of Gewurtztraminer. There were also some notes of pear and citrus. On the palate, I was again reminded in part of a Gewurtztraminer, with a nice spice element, along with tasty notes of pear, citrus and toasted nuts. Very crisp and with a moderate richness, it was a pleasant and refreshing wine. At this price, it's an excellent value, over-delivering for this price point.

So now I need to seek out more Bulgarian wines, made from indigenous grapes.

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