Impressive boutique, terroir-driven wines from northwest Bulgaria
Located in Northwest Bulgaria, Borovitza is one of Bulgaria’s most highly regarded wineries. I tasted these wines with winemaker Dr Ognyan Tzetanov (above). During the communist era he worked as a microbiologist, and then in 2004 he decided to buy a rundown winery with a view to producing high-end boutique wines. His production isn’t large, but each year he’ll make maybe 20 different wines, some in small quantities. The goal is to express some of the special terroirs found here.
Vines are planted in two spots. There’s the home vineyard near the village of Borovitza (close to the town of Belogradchik), with 7.5 hectares of vines on 240 million year old red sandstone. And then the other is near the village of Gradetc, about 10 miles North-West from the Danube port town of Vidin, which is a 2.2 hectare plot, with a further 1.6 hecares of 60 year old Rkatsiteli.
The wines are available in the UK from www.vaskovino.co.uk and also some are stocked by Berry Bros & Rudd and The Wine Society.
I found some of the wines compelling, others a bit overdone. The style seems to jump around a bit from cuvee to cuvee. Still, the good ones are world class, and it’s so good to see wines like these coming from Bulgaria.
Canyon Park ‘The Guardians’ MRV 2011 Bulgaria
This is a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier that’s made by Borovitza. Rich and quite dense with nutty, spicy notes. Lovely weight and rich texture. Nice depth and flavours of peach, pear and nuts. 89/100
Borovitza Cuvée Bella Rada 2011 Bulgaria
This wine is a challenge to consumers because of the presence of Rkatsiteli, which isn’t highly regarded, but which makes up about 40% of Bulgaria’s vineyards. But it can make great wine. This blend is Chardonnay, Rkatsiteli and a bit of Sauvignon, mostly. Fresh aromatic nose of peach and pear with well integrated oak. Notes of white peach, spice and vanilla. Nice complexity but does show some oak. 88/100
Borovitza Chardonnay Cuvée Americano 2011 Bulgaria
Named thus because a sommelier once described it as a big fat American Chardonnay. It comes from 55 year old vines and is fermented and aged in Bulgarian oak. Very rich, aromatic nose of peach, pear and spice, with some nuttiness. The palate is rich, nutty, powerful and viscous, with a soft texture. No sulfites were added to this wine. It’s big but really good. 92/100
Borovitza Someno Rikat 2011 Bulgaria
Rkatsiteli fermented in new Bulgarian oak. Tight aromatic nose. Powerful, oaky palate but there’s freshness here too. Lively pear fruit with some citrus and spice. Complex, quite oaky, but precise. 90/100
Borovitza Pinot Noir Rose Garden 2012 Bulgaria
Very pale colour. Fermented in barrel. Warm, soft and spicy with a hint of oak. Nice spicy edge to the sweet, subtle cherry fruit. Some complexity. 89/100
Borovitza Orange Garden 2008 Bulgaria
This is a blend of Marsanne that spends 30 days on skins, and 44 months in Bulgarian oak. Amazingly textured, with power. Subtle toast notes, plus spice, pear and apricot, with a hint of tea. Lovely complexity and texture. 93/100
Borovitza Gamza 2009 Bulgaria
This region is known for Gamza (aka Kadarka) which is usually thought of as a quaffing red variety, with a lot of it being made into glugging wine by home winemakers. Wonderfully vivid, pure and fresh with red cherries, berries and some blackberries. Quite elegant with lovely weight and presence. Fresh with good acid: quite Pinot-like. 92/100
Les Amis Pinot Noir Cuvée Enrique 2010 Bulgaria
Lovely ripe, rounded cherry and berry fruit. Rich and ripe with subtle green notes and fresh berry fruits. Nice depth, with some fruit sweetness. 90/100
Borovitza Bouquet 2011 Bulgaria
Bouquet is a cross between Mavrud and Pinot Noir. From 44 year old vines. Ripe and sweetly fruited with some nice savoury grip. Lovely fresh but dense berry fruits here with some grip. Nice grippy tannins. Very attractive. 91/100
Borovitza Someno Buket 2011 Bulgaria
Ripe, sweet berry fruits with nice freshness and grip. Subtle green notes and some spicy, tarry oak. Lovely depth with a grippy finish. 90/100
Borovitza Merlot Pepper Garden 2009 Buglaria
From 55 year old vines, this spends 22 months in barrel. Sweet, warm, spicy nose with some herby notess. Ripe palate is berryish and spicy with nice depth to the cherry fruit and some grip. 91/100
Borovitza Sensum 2008 Bulgaria
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 60 year old vines. Very sweet aromatic nose. Powerful, ripe, berryish palate is dense and sweet with plenty of weight. 90/100
Borovitza Dux 2007 Bulgaria
The top wine bottled after 5 years in barrel. Concentrated and dense with good structure under the berry fruits. Ripe yet restrained with great intensity and depth. Quite serious. 92/100
Wines tasted 05/13
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