Thursday, August 30, 2018

Distill Wars Episode VII: Rakia Rumble


It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016)the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

The last Distill Wars was in November of 2017 so we're due for another one, and it just so happens that that I've got some of that rakia (Bulgarian brandy) from BulgarianWine.com to turn myself into an unstoppable and fearless warrior!

All three are produced by Burgas 63, come in 375ml bottles, have a 40% ABV, and will cost you $14. Unfortunately there's not a lot of information available on these three contestants, which I guess is normal for rakia. Why is Pearl called Pearl? I dunno, but I know it's made from Muscat Otonnel and Hamburg Misket and spent three years in barrels. It appears the Barrel Aged is just Pearl that spent five years in barrels instead of three. The Traminer is obviously made from Traminer. But that's all I really know! So ring the bell and let's get it on!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Wine Review: Minkov Brothers Tradition Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Syrah 2014, Cuvee 2013

Wine Review: Minkov Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Syrah 2014, Cuvee 2013

It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016)the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

After this I've got some rakia to review on Thursday, so this is the last of the wine reviews this month! Thank you, Vance, for another great Bulgarian wine month. It's always the highlight of my summer getting to dig in to a bunch of Bulgarian wine.

I've got three wines by Minkov Brothers, which was founded in 1875 by Ivan, Vasil and Nikifor Minkov. Soon after getting off the ground (or in it?) they started winning awards at wine fairs. In the mid-1890's alone they won Brussels Wine Fair, the London Wine Competition, and the Plovdiv International Fair. They're still raking in those medals today. The winery property itself also features two museums: one about the family history and their wine, and the other about the winemaking history of the Thracian Valley.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Wine Review: Villa Yambol Mavrud 2016 & Domaine Boyar Royal Reserve Mavrud 2015

Villa Yambol Mavrud 2016 & Domaine Boyar Royal Reserve Mavrud 2015

It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016)the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

Mavrud is a native Bulgarian varietal named after a (probably mythological) drunk man who killed one of Krum the Fearsome's tigers when it got loose and started slaughtering peasants in town. During Mavrud's trial, his mother begged for her son's freedom/life by swearing that the illegal wine is what gave him the ability to kill a tiger. Not only did Mavrud's mother's claims set him free but it ended the prohibition. Krum liked his citizens as strong and as fearsome as himself. The Mavrud grape is small, low yielding and late ripening but it makes the #1 top selling local wine within the country of Bulgaria. It's inky in color, tannic, spicy and normally sees a lot of oak aging.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wine Review: Domaine Boyar Selection Traminer 2016 & Domaine Boyar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015


It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016)the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

Today I've got the middle two of four wines by Domaine Boyar that I'm reviewing this month. 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.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Wine Review: VINI Rosé 2017 & Domaine Boyar Reserve Merlot 2015

VINI Rosé 2017 & Domaine Boyar Reserve Merlot 2015

It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

Today I've got the last of seven wines by VINI that I'm reviewing this month and the first of four wines by Domaine Boyar. VINI was created by Vance Petrunoff, president of Bulgarian Master Vintners, as an affordable introduction of Bulgarian wine to the American mainstream market. 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.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Wine Review: VINI Chardonnay 2016 & VINI Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

VINI was created by Vance Petrunoff, president of Bulgarian Master Vintners, as an affordable introduction of Bulgarian wine to the American mainstream market. Today I've got the 3rd installment out of 3½ for VINI and it's for their new vintages of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, both are out of Thracian Valley.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Wine Review: VINI Sauvignon Blanc 2016 & VINI Merlot 2016


It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

VINI was created by Vance Petrunoff, president of Bulgarian Master Vintners, as an affordable introduction of Bulgarian wine to the American mainstream market. Today I've got the 2nd installment out of 3½ for VINI and it's for their new vintages of Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, both are out of Thracian Valley.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Basics of Home Wine Storage

(Post sponsored by WineRacks.co.uk)

Anybody with even a basic knowledge of wine will know that the way in which we store our precious bottles can certainly affect aroma and taste, which is why understanding the correct way to do so is essential. I outline the key factors to consider when storing wine at home, including location, ideal conditions and the different wine racking options available.

ATMOSPHERE AND LOCATION

Where you choose to store your wine is an essential factor, particularly for those amongst us who have been building up a valuable collection over many years.

A lot of people just starting out make the easy slip-up of assuming the best location for their wine is in the kitchen, for easy access. However, the overwhelming majority of us will not have a temperature-controlled kitchen, which causes problems as the natural sunlight enters this room of the house, changing wine temperatures and spoiling it.

Instead, ideal wine storage conditions are lying horizontally, with cool, humidity-controlled, dimly- lit space that is not predisposed to to fluctuating temperatures or vibrations. The basement is the preferred choice, as it is below ground and, therefore, typically cooler than other parts of the house.

CELLAR COOLING UNITS

Fondis C25 Wine MasterIf you can afford to splash the cash, investing in a cellar cooling unit is well worth it. These are different to typical home air conditioners, as they are specifically designed with wine storage in mind, and work to cool the air more gradually, while maintaining the humidity in the room. Humidity means the corks on your beloved bottles will not dry out, oxidise and eventually spoil the wine.

Be sure to seek advice from fellow wine enthusiasts, who can steer you in the direction of a good quality cellar conditioner which will be worth the investment.

Experts generally advise against using wine fridges as they can produce heat and the constant opening and closing may cause bottle vibrations.

Ensuring the correct conditions are present is perhaps the single most significant aspect when it comes to wine storage – why build up an impressive collection only to cause taste and aroma spoilage?

WINE RACKS

Wine Bottle Storage CubesInvesting in high-quality wine racks or kitting out a whole wine cellar, is surely the dream of any serious wine collector. However, you must think carefully about this, as the wine racks you pick will surely depend upon the types of wine you prefer to keep in your collection.

Standard wine racks are customarily 3.5 inches wide, fitting in regular Bordeaux bottles (750ml), but if you are someone who has a lot of champagne bottles, magnums, half bottles and split bottles within your range, you might want to consider getting a tailor-made wine rack fitted instead. These can be built to include larger or smaller openings, which are able to comfortably fit your entire, collection.

When seeking out bespoke wine storage, always be sure to hire a specialist provider, as they are the most knowledgeable when it comes to bottle size specifications and are capable of creating storage solutions that can accommodate a diverse range of bottles in various shapes and sizes.

MATERIALS USED

Now that you have decided to invest in your wine racks, you need to decide which material to use, which depends on several factors, including the cost, durability, and whether it matches your interior style.

The most common material used for wine storage racks is wooden, particularly pine or oak. These are good because they can withhold their durability under humid conditions and do not crack or form mildew. However, wooden racks are only worthwhile when the material is thick enough to be able to handle the weight of a large number of bottles. Wooden racks loo fantastic in both contemporary and traditional interiors, however, they may not be practicable in particularly damp-prone spaces, which is where a metal wine rack would instead be beneficial.

Metal racks are great in modern homes and are simple to transport. However, it can sometimes be hard to get an exact fit when using metal, especially where the space you want to place the wine rack is strangely shaped.

Cheaper materials made from wood like cedar, poplar and fir are to be avoided because they are known to taint the wine’s aroma. Likewise, a finishing paint may make a wine rack look more attractive, but for similar reasons, need to be avoided. Instead, use a non-smelly Danish oil or coloured stain to achieve the look you are going for.

OTHER KEY FACTORS

Image result for broken wineThere are several other vital considerations to take into account when storing wine. The areas holding the bottle in place should be smooth, so as to not cause damage to labels when removing wines for inspection, since this can decrease a bottle’s value and will look shabby in front of guests. Always be sure to have your wine racks or cellars fitted by a professional, who will work with stability a the forefront of their mind and understands the dos-and-don’ts of wine storage.

It would be an absolute disaster if the racks were not sturdy enough to handle the weight of your collection and one or several of your expensive bottles smashed!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Wine Review: VINI Pinot Grigio 2016 & VINI Pinot Noir 2015

VINI Pinot Grigio 2016 & VINI Pinot Noir 2015

It's the Fourth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.com! You can read all of the reviews from the first year (2015)the second year (2016), and the third year (2017), and this year (2018) by following those links.

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.

VINI was created by Vance Petrunoff, president of Bulgarian Master Vintners, as an affordable introduction of Bulgarian wine to the American mainstream market. Today I've got the 1st installment out of 3½ for VINI, which I haven't been able to get around to in a few years due to always having so many Bulgarian wines to do in one month. But I've got the new vintages ready to go so let's get into them with their Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir, both out of Thracian Valley!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August Wine Pick: Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina 2017

Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina 2017

Founded in 1986, Feudi di San Gregorio is located in the tiny village of Sorbo Serpico near Mount Vesuvius in Campania, Italy. I'm reviewing two of their wines. The first was their 2015 Aglianico. The second, which your reading right now, is their 2017 Falanghina and it's my Wine Pick for the month of August!

This is 100% Falanghina from the Sannio Falaghina DOC of Campania. The grapes were hand harvested and delivered to the winery in refrigerated trucks, then hand selected and soft-pressed. The juice sees a cold settling for twenty-four to forty-eight hours at 58°F, cold-fermented in stainless steel vats between 61°F to 64°F, and is denied malolactic fermentation. Then it spends five months in stainless steel on the lees, and one month resting in the bottle.

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