Sunday, August 14, 2016

Wine Review: Ivo Varbanov Chardonnay "Clair de Lune" 2013

August is The Return of Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to, following up last year's original Bulgarian Wine Month!

Ivo Varbanov Chardonnay 2013

To read about the fascinating history of Bulgarian wine, check out Bulgaria - Part 1: Three-Thousand Years of Wine History. To learn about the grapes, wine regions and Bulgarian wine's place in the market, read Part 2: The Current State of Bulgarian Wine. And if you'd like to see what Bulgaria's national drink is all about, find out in Part 3: Invincibility of Rakia.

This is the second of six reviews of Bulgarian wine this month, and the second of three by Ivo Varbanov. Those wines by Ivo are his 2011 Merlot-Syrah "Sheherazade", this 2013 Chardonnay "Clair de Lune" I'm reviewing today, and his 2011 Syrah "Feux d’artifice".

Ivo Varbanov was born in Bulgaria in 1972, and he started playing piano at the age of six. He grew up to become a famous, award winning concert pianist in his home country. In 2004 he started his own winery in Thracian Valley, in which he himself is the winemaker. After taking time off to battle and defeat leukaemia from 2009 to 2012, he got back behind the piano. And back into winemaking.

Ivo calls this Chardonnay "Clair de Lune" after the symphony piece by Claude Debussy. "Clair de Lune" translates from French to "light of the moon". Listen to it on YouTube:

The wine is 100% Chardonnay that was fermented in Bulgarian oak for a year. Filtering and fining were minimal. Of course I'll be listening to the song while I taste this wine, and you should too.

The color is a light gold. There's aromas of white flowers, kiwi, ginger and oak. It's medium bodied, creamy in mouthfeel, has a slight touch of sweetness, and there's some expressive acidity on the swallow. There's flavors of vanilla pudding, ginger, and kiwi and melon. It finishes with kiwi, spicy ginger and an uplift of acidity.

The reasons why I like this Chardonnay are 1) it's yummy 2) the kiwi and ginger qualities 3) it seems to meet the Chardonnay styles right in the middle. By the latter I mean it's not full bodied but it's still creamy in texture, it's not overly malo'd and not annoyingly lactic, you can taste and smell the oak but it's not like biting into a 2x4, and that oak is clearly the real deal instead of oak staves or oak essence.

So it's incredibly versatile. You can drink this with anything, with anybody, at any time, or by itself, with yourself, and still enjoy every sip. I bet it would be at its absolute best with sashimi, nobody else, and a whole world of quiet. Or a soothing piano like in "Clair de Lune".

Price: $17
Rating: 3/5 = Satisfying (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


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