Sakar Mountain, Bulgaria
Terra Tangra- 2016
This fascinating and exciting red wine blend can claim to be the first wine from Bulgaria made 100% from organically grown grapes. Marrying international grape varieties (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) with the indigenous Mavrud grape variety, the result is unique and utterly convincing. Layers of dark brambly fruit vie with intense blackcurrant flavours with the whole medley being judiciously overlain by a classy sheen of vanillin from the French oak barrel ageing. The tannins are well-mannered, framing perfectly the deep, rich dark fruit. The purity of flavour clearly evokes the wine's origins on the slopes of the Sakar Mountain.
Gold Medal - International Organic Wine Awards 2016 (2015 vintage)
Many of us may remember the popularity of Bulgarian wines back in the 70s and 80s, which then suddenly disappeared once the government subsidies and communism collapsed. Nowadays there's increasing production again and some great quality starting to re-emerge. First established by two Bulgarians in 1999, Terra Tangra vineyards are located on the south-western slopes of the Sakar Mountain in south-east Bulgaria as well as along the banks of the Maritsa River in the fertile Thracian Valley. With total vineyard holdings of 400 hectares, all certified organic, Terra Tangra is a seriously impressive operation. Numerous sunny days during the year, the constant wind and scarce rainfall, allied to a fine southerly exposure, conspire to produce outstandingly ripe, healthy grapes. Internationally famed varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc whilst the indigenous varieties include Mavrud, Melnik and Rubin. When the first vines were planted here 18 years ago, the first plots included ten hectares up on a nearby hill where the clay/limestone soil is too poor for other vegetables to thrive. It is interesting to note that artefacts have been found here proving that vines were cultivated on this site some 3000 years ago! Terra Tangra is also a certified vine propogating nursery. Some of their work is focused on trying to restore ancient forgotten varieties to commercial usage such as Tamianka (a clone of Muscat) - a vine variety that had been almost completely forgotten - until now! Extreme care is taken at every stage of the viticultural/winemaking calendar in order to ensure that the end result in the bottle delivers a true reflection of its origins as well as the purity of expression of meticulously handled organic grapes. All fruit is hand-picked. The winemaking is the responsibility of Xavier Meade and his team. Xavier's family have long had winemaking credentials gained over several generations working in St. Emilion in France. His team's sensitive handling and tempered intervention combined with the use of the latest technology ensures that the end results are regularly successful on the international wine competition circuit. World renowned wine consultant Michel Rolland advises on vinifications.
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