You can read about the history of Bulgarian wine in "Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History" and read about what's going on with it today in "Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine".
I know my reviews are rather lengthy and I go on a bunch of tirades and I say crazy stupid things sometimes, but I've got a bunch of wine to review this month. An insane amount. I've already written about Bulgaria at length and most of these wines are international varietals, so it's not like I'll be telling you about something you don't already know, except if the wine is good or not.
I'm gonna keep it quick and simple. Domaine Boyar was established in 1991 and was the first private winery in Bulgaria to be founded after communism. Although the winery is based out of Sofia, all of the wines I'll be reviewing from them are from Thracian Valley. If I saw the label without a place of origin I'd guess they were from Chile, which is probably an intentional marketing strategy.
DOMAINE BOYAR SELECTION TRAMINER 2013
Traminer is also known as Gewurztraminer, which means Spicy Grape. Even with a German name and mostly French home, the grape originated in Italy. It's known as Gewurztraminer in Alsace and California, and Traminer in its newer locales such as Australia.
This one was fermented in cold temperatures in 100% stainless steel and kept on the leese to be stirred for more flavor. After that it was racked and filtered. It has a 13% ABV. The cork is synthetic.
If anything by this varietal doesn't show lychee nuts then it's an absolute failure, and this one aces the test on the nose and the palate. But that's really it. Other than a spicy finish it's very one dimensional. It'll be great for slurping down with a turkey dinner but all by itself it gets old fast.
I was excited to try this but was disappointed. It's not terrible but you can get much better from the varietal for your dollar.
Rating: 2/5 = Not Impressive. (what does that mean?)
DOMAINE BOYAR RESERVE MERLOT 2012
It looks like this Merlot is very high-tech. Check out these clippings from the tech sheet: "vertical fermenters and roto-fermenters" .. "sensory evaluation in conjunction with lab analysis"... "a Vaselin press"... "using selected malolactic bacteria". Hurray for science! It was also aged for eight months in oak, 40% French and 60% American. It has a 13% ABV and the cork is real cork.
The nose is immense and thick and Port-ish. Raisins, plums, maple and caramel. It sings to me like an evil temptress luring me into certain death. On the palate it's full bodied and the texture is kinda grainy. The mouth is more acidic than the nose would indicate with flavors of cranberries, plums and raspberries.
I'm gonna be honest with you, as I always am: what I loved most about this wine is that it was ALMOST appassimento style. If you told me this was from Italy I'd probably believe you. It's got that classy kind of touch of sweetness that I love, not the crappy touch of sweetness.
This Merlot is brilliant. The last Merlot I reviewed from Bulgaria I really liked but I had to give it a 3/5 because Merlot's quality in the $8-$12 price range is dominant right now and it blended in with the crowd, but this Merlot exceeds anything for the $11 it'll cost you. And it's different while still maintaining the attributes that keep it varietally correct.
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended. (what does that mean?)
YOU CAN BUY BOTH OF THESE WINES ON BULGARIANWINE.COM
The bottles used were supplied free of charge by BulgarianWine.com for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.