ALL-IN ON BOOK REVIEWS: Do you have a (non-fictional or fictional) book related to wine, spirits, or beer that you'd like reviewed? Contact me!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wine Review: Villa Yambol Merlot 2013 & Villa Yambol Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

July is Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to!

Villa Yambol Merlot 2013 & Villa Yambol Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

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'm keeping this month's reviews quick and simple because I've got A LOT of them to review and plenty of other things going on! Usually you'll see stupid stuff like a monkey flipping you off with his arm around a woman in a bikini, but the chances of that are slim this month. Sorry. Getting right to the point. Alright, maybe a little bit of messing around.

Villa Yambol (AKA Vinprom Yambol) was founded in 1924 and is the oldest winery still standing in southern Bulgaria. Here I have the two varieties that made Bulgaria such a great buy for wine in the 70's and 80's: Merlot and Cabernet. They're both from Thracian Valley and have strange, indented, wavy loops on the shoulders which make it look like cheap swill. We'll see if it's of swill quality.


The grapes for this wine were grown in the Valley of Tundzha River, where there's moderate maroon-forest soil. More than 102 sunny days a year is seen here and the autumns are mildly warm. The final wine has a 13.35% ABV.

It's 100% Merlot and sees no oak. Let's dig in! The color is a purple-tinted garnet. And clarity? What clarity? It's dark as the darkest pit of hell. I can't even see light come through from the other side!

Ahhhh yessss. That is the smell of Merlot. Blackberries and blueberries. I love it so much that it kills me when people still cling to their refusal to drink Merlot. The first thing to hit your mouth is bright acidity and freshly picked blueberries. The mid-palate has juicy plums and blackberry. It has a medium body and smooth tannin. Soooooo smooth. As soon as you swallow the flavors pick up with intensity, and once it's settled down the finish goes back to the blueberries it started with.

As I said in my review of VINI's 2013 Merlot, the varietal is the clear king of quality in the $8-12 price range. VINI's Merlot was really good but it blended into the crowd of other Merlot's in $9 price so I gave it a 3 out of 5.

Villa Yambol's Merlot, however, is exceptional. Seriously exceptional. For $11 it's an outstanding deal. Earlier this month I sang the praise of VINI's 2013 Rosé and last week drooled over Domaine Boyar's 2012 Merlot, but this is the one that makes me want Vance from to find a distributor in Massachusetts. Because I would be ordering this in a heart-beat. In a friggin heart-beat. No lie.

THIS is what Merlot is all about and it makes it clear why Merlot from Bulgaria was so successful 30 years ago. If you're a Merlot hater and I sat you down and put this in front of you and you didn't like it then you're full of shit. You gotta be.

Price: $11
Rating: 5/5 = Highly Recommended. (what does that mean?)


These grapes were grown in Topolitsa Village at the foothills of Stara Planina Mountain, and its vines were planted in 2007. The soil is fertile sand and loam, and sees over 102 days of sun with warm autumns (just like where the Merlot is from). There's a 13.84% ABV.

Villa Yambol Cabernet Sauvignon 2013This is 100% Cabernet and sees no oak. It's cold macerated with its skins for three days and it shows because when I took the cork out my very first thought was "WHAT THE???" Just take a look at how black the wet end of the cork is. The wine really is that dark and inky of a ruby red.

It smells of cigar box and wild red berries. I even got a little bit of watermelon on the nose. On the palate there's tart cherries and red cassis. It finishes with super spicy black pepper.

The acidity and structure is a little off-balance and needs a few years to mellow out and fall into place, but once it does this'll be a beauty of a Cabernet. But for right now I've got to give it a 3.5 out of 5, between "Satisfying" and "Recommended".

Price: $11
Rating: 3.5/5 = Satisfying / Recommended. (what does that mean?)

The bottles used were supplied free of charge by for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

Newer Posts Older Posts Home


  1. Hey Joey,
    How are you?

    Out of the 3 red wines by Villa Yambol - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Mavrud could you recommend one to use for a sangria cocktail?
    I had my first sangria last night and I was fascinated. I am not a red wine guy but something happened last night :D



*SPONSORED* ABriefHistoryOf Abruzzo Agiorgitiko Aglianico Airen Albarino Aleatico Alentejo Alexander Valley Alicante Bouschet Alsace Apothic Argentina Armagnac Arroyo Grande Arroyo Seco audio article Australia Austria Baco Barbera Barrossa Valley Batman Beaujolais beer Best Of biodynamic blend blog Bogati Bonarda book Bordeaux bourbon box wine Brachetto brandy Bulgaria Burgundy Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Cahors Caino Blanco California Campania Canada Canaiolo. cans Cape Cod Captain America Carignan Cariñena Carmenere Catalonia Cava Central Coast certification Chablis Chalk Hill Champagne Chardonnay cheese Chenin Blanc Chianti Chile China cider Cinsault Clarksburg cocktails Cognac Colombard Columbia Valley comics Cotes-du-Rhone Counoise Croatia CSW Dane Cellars DC dessert wine Distill Wars Dona Blanco Douro Dry Creek Dunnigan Hills Edna Valley Falanghina February Felix Hart Fer Servadou Fiano fiction Finger Lakes Folle Blanche formulas France Franciacorta Frankovka Frappato Furmint Galicia Galilee Gamay Garganega Gascony Germany Gewurtztraminer gin Glera Godello Graciano greco di tufo Greece Grenache Grenache Blanc Grillo Gros Manseng Gruner Veltliner GSM guest blog Heroes history horror how to Hungary interview Israel Italy Japan Jerez Kansas kosher Lambrusco Languedoc-Roussillon Left Coast Leyda Valley Lisboa Livermore Lodi Loire Loureira love letter Macon Madeira Madiran Malbec Malvasia Marcillac marijuana Marlborough Marsanne Marselan Marvel Massachusetts Matchbook Mavrud Mazuelo McLaren Vale mead Melnik Mencia Mendocino Mendoza Meritage Merlot Mexico Michigan mixology Monbazillac Monstant Montecucco Montepulciano Monterey Montery Moscato Mosel Mourvédre Muscadelle Muscat mythology Napa Navarra Nebbiolo Nero d'Avola New York New Zealand news non-alcoholic nonfiction Norello Mascalese North Coast Oakville Oregon organic original meme pairings Palestine Pecorino Pedro Ximenez Perricone Petit Verdot Petite Sirah Petite Verdot photo gallery phylloxera Picpoul Piedmont Pinot Blanc Pinot Gris/Grigio Pinot Meunier Pinot Noir Pinotage Pliny podcast Port Portugal Press Release Primitivo product Prosecco Provence quickie quote rakia recipe retail problems Retsina review Rheingau Rhone Rias Baixas Ribera del Duero Riesling Rioja Rondinella rose Roussanne Rubin Rueda rum Russian River Sagrantino Sake Salta Sandanski Misket Sandeanski Misket Sangiovese Sangria santa clara Santa Lucia Higlands Sauvignon Blanc science scotch Sekt Semillon Seyval Blanc Sherry Sicily Somontano Sonoma South Africa South Australia Spain spark Sparkling Spider-Man spirits stemware storage study sulfites Superman sustainable SWE Syrah Tannat Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Temecula Tempranillo Tequila Texas thc The Flash Tinta Amarela Tinta Caiada Torrontes Touriga Nacional Traminer Trebbiano Trincadeira Turkey Tuscany Ugni Blanc Umbria USA Valdiguié Valiant Valpolicella vegan Veneto Verdejo Verdicchio Vermentino Vermont Vermouth Vernacca Vidal Blanc video Vinho Verde Viognier Virginia Viura vodka Walla Walla Washington State whiskey White zinfandel Wildstorm Willamette wine Wine Bloggers Off-Topic wine club Wine Pick Wolverine Wonder Woman Zinfandel Zweigelt