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Sunday, August 4, 2019

Wine Review: Minkov Brothers Cuvee 2016

It's the Fifth Annual Bulgarian Wine Month thanks to BulgarianWine.comYou can read all of the content and reviews from Bulgarian Wine Month under the Bulgaria label.

That's right! Half a decade! August is my favorite month of the year because of this annual event and it really is the most special thing about this wine blog. I'm so proud to bring Bulgarian Wine Month to you for this long and to have a great working relationship with Vance, even if it just once a year. Thank you, buddy! Cheers to many more!

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.

Minkov Brothers 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.

The 2013 vintage of this wine ranked in my top five wines for the summer of 2018 and even though we're only skipping one year ahead on the blog, we're skipping a whole three vintages ahead for the wine. Will the 2016 vintage perform just as well?

Elderwind, The Colder The Night
So it's time to put on some music and start tasting some wine. I've decided to go with atmospheric black metal tonight, a genre introduced to me by a former fellow employee years ago, and Elderwind has since been my favorite band in that genre. There is no better music for gaming or solo wine tasting than atmospheric black metal. It's called "atmospheric" for a reason, as it goes from these beautiful melodic spans into powerchords and screaming in such a way that actually makes you want to walk through a winter storm or fight a massive onslaught of swarming enemies just listening to it. Go and give Elderwind's 2018 album The Colder The Night a try via the music selection playlist on my YouTube channel.

This vintage is 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, and 20% Merlot out of Thracian Valley, Bulgaria. It was hand harvested, cold maceration, saw controlled fermentation at 25-26°C, went through malolatic fermentation in the barrel, and spent 14 months aging in new American and French oak. Previous vintages have won the Gold medal at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2013 and Mondiales des Vins Canada 2014.

The color of the wine is a beautiful cherry red. At first there was strong pencil shavings on the nose but as it opened up that receded back as cherry sauce, strawberry licorice, peppermint, and popcorn came forward. On the palate it's more lighter bodied and more acidic than I remember the 2013 being, but the tightly grained tannin holds true. There's flavors of cherries, blackberries, black table pepper, and Fruit Roll-up. Then it finishes with cherries, black table pepper, and tightly grained tannin and acidity battling it out between producing saliva or sucking it away.

For $17 the 2016 is good to drink right now, but if history repeats itself then it's still very young and it will be outstanding in a few years like the 2013 was last year. I'd give it a drink-right-now rating of 3.5 but I'm gonna bring it up to a 4 due to potential.

Price: $17
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)

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

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