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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! 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!


This wine has an 11.5% ABV and the color is a light straw yellow. My daughters love these little cups filled with diced peaches floating in peach juice, and that is exactly what this smells like. There's also the faint aromas of almonds and vanilla, but those peaches are very dominant on the nose. It's light to medium bodied with a rich mouthfeel and a nice acidity that's rather mellow for a Pinot Grigio. And again the peaches in peach juice are all over the palate, but there's also flavors of grapefruit and lemon. Then it has a big finish with a super assault of lemon and mint candy.

I really friggin' love this! It's delicious and it has character, rather than being the lemon-water that floods the Pinot Grigio market. If I sold this at work it would be among my top suggestions for a $10 Pinot Grigio, no joke. You can buy it here:

Price: $10
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)


This wine has a 12.5% ABV and the color is brick red. Right on top there's a cloud of shaved pencil, graphite and all, hovering over the glass. Then there's aromas of black cherries, red apple, violets, and a tiny hint of licorice that pops up every once in awhile. The nose is simply outstanding. On the palate it's medium bodied with finely grained tannin and an acidity that brings a "Swiss-cheese twang", as I described it in my review of the 2013 vintage. There's flavors of black cherries, blackberries, and stewed plums. Cola rushes in on the finish, and those finely grained tannins get grippy.

The $10 price range is a tough one for Pinot Noir, but this is one of the good ones. It's a bigger-bodied, warm-climate Pinot that brings the mass-appeal fruit that $10 Pinot consumers want... and it beats the living snot out of Mark West and Dark Horse for sure. For price vs quality, I recommend it.

Price: $10
Rating: 4/5 = 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.

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