Wine Tastings & Tours

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Friday, 6 September 2013

Wine, Art & Health - Todoroff Winery

The Wine Anarchist has made Bulgaria his base this summer, so here comes another post on another winery he had the pleasure to visit  Todoroff Winery with his friend Vasko of BuyVinaR.  This winery is located in the village of Brezovitsa in the Thracian Plain just on the northern foothills of the Rhodopi Mountains about 20km southeast of Plovdiv in Central Bulgaria.  Bresovitsa used to be quite a famous wine village with a good dozen wineries, however it has declined somewhat with only a handful of those still in existence today, amongst them Todoroff.

The winery itself was founded shortly after WWII and soon went into state ownership with the advent of Communism.  In 1990 under the land reform it was returned to the family of it's former owners, then bought by Ivan Todoroff in 2001.  It became known as Bulgaria's first 'Boutique winery', as Mr. Todoroff worked hard to improve standards, making small parcels of high quality wines under the stewardship of one of the best winemakers of the country from their own 70 ha of vineyards near the village.

Ivan Todoroff himself has come from a musical / arty background, having studied classical music and playing the flute, so he is still keen to combine wine with arts.  Apart from many pieces of art hanging around the premises, the winery regularly sponsors an art competition of young Bulgarian artists, the winners entry featuring on the labels of their 'Gallery' range of wines.

August is generally not the best month to visit a winery, as it is one of the few quiet months in the winemaking calendar and most people are on holiday, so the Wine Anarchist didn't get to meet either the owner nor the winemaker, despite making an appointment in advance, however as the place also doubles up as a hotel and spa resort, there was some staff on hand to take him around.

The old part of the winery contains the library of back vintages as well as their stock of Bulgarian and American which is used for the wines in the Galley series, which spends between 4-6 months in those barrels.  No wines are barrel fermented, just aged in oak for relatively brief periods so as to not mask the terroir characters of thos wines.

The new winery, which was built after Mr. Todoroff took over the winery, contains mostly French oak barriques, which is used to age the wines of the top range called 'Teres'.  These wines are aged for 9-11 months.  Between the 2 cellars is the modern part of the winery full of gleaming stainless steel.

The vineyards are on the flat or north facing gentle slopes, mostly to the east of the village.

The Wine Anarchist and his friends didn't have time to taste the wines on the premises, but they took away some samples to taste later in a restaurant in Plovdiv, while partaking in a good meal and watching some Balkan dancing (more of the latter below).

  • Gallery Muskat 2012: Pale straw, greenish tinges; good aromatic Muskat nose intermingle with typical lemon sherbet; the palate was medium dry, quite full with warm fruit and a touch of spice.  It had a decent length and quite low acidity.  At 13.5% AbV this was definitely a food wine, which would work well with Oriental food, Thai in particular, or Chinese Duck Orange
  • Gallery Sauvignion Blanc 2012: Pale straw in colour; the nose showed overripe gooseberries and ripe apples (Golden Delicious); the palate was a bit confused displaying tropical fruit flavours and bubblegum, the acidity was low and it kind of lacked definition, which the WA would have been hard-pressed to identify as a Sauvignon in a blind tasting.
  • Boutique Mavrud 2012: Mavrud is the speciality of the region, so the WA had high expectations on the 3 that were on offer at this tasting.  The Boutique was medium ruby in colour with a pale rim; the nose displayed blackberry fruit, a pleasant spicy touch combined with eucalyptus;  the palate was warm and rich with dark fruit and warm spice flavours.  Medium in body, the finish was reasonably long and left an overall positive impression.
  • Gallery Mavrud 2012: the next one up the scale was a lot more youthful with a deep ruby colour and purple hues; the nose showed intense ripe blachcurrant fruit, which carried through on the palate, where a touch of oak was also evident and some supportive backbone from the oak.  Long finish and very good indeed.
  • Teres Mavrud Special Selection 2009:  The colour was ruby with a garnet edge, showing first signs of maturity; also maturiy was evident on the nose with notes of leather, violets, sweet herbs, raspeberries and redcurrants; the palate was warm with mature, spicy fruit and eathy notes on a medium finish.  A pleasant wine, which may possibly be just over its peak.
  • Gallery cabernet Sauvignon 2012: Ruby with purple rim; the nose was slightly ethereal, even spirity with hints of water paint and some sudued blackcurrant; the palate displayed some more defined fruit but somewhat separate from the quite aggressive tannins.  It's not terribly well balanced at this moment in time, but might come together with time as evidenced by the 2007 the Wine Anarchist tasted recently and was very elegant and classy indeed.
  • Teres C abernet Sauvignon 2009:  Unfortunately this sample was maderized and almost undrinkable.  Must re-taste it on a different occasion.
As I mentioned the winery also functions as a health spa, where you can bath in grape skins to prevent you getting.  Personally the Wine Anarchist prefers imbibing the stuff, but if this your thing click on the link above.  For availability in the UK contact BuyVinaR.  

And finally as promised some Balkan dancing

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Oh and a nice little quote by Omar Khayam, which hung at Todoroff Winery: