The wine guide Lidia Pelova presents us the destination for wine adventures Southern Black Sea.
Viticulture and winemaking in the region of the Southern Black Sea coast are one of the most ancient means of living of the locals. The Thracians considered wine a divine drink, produced it and drank it in honor of Dionysus, the Greek god of joy, fertility, grape harvest and wine. He was called Eleutherios (the Liberator) because he was believed to liberate people from their fears and worries through wine, music and dance. Gradually the traditions were further developed and modernized by Romans, Byzantines and Bulgarians, who finally concentrated the wine trade in the very old town of Pomorie. Founded under the name Anhialo in the 5th century BC, the town was an important center on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, almost entirely inhabited by Thracians. Thinking this way, in addition to the rich cultural heritage of the area, the sea and the sunny resorts, we could easily recognize the South Black Sea region as a wine destination. We define Pomorie as the starting point of our small wine route. Today within only a 35 km radius of it are located several wonderful wine cellars, revealing exceptional potential for wine tourism and tastings.
We will start from the heart of the region. We head to the first wine cellar that comes out to our minds, Black Sea Gold. The vineyards cover an area of 650 hectares and include a wide range of wine varieties. The winery has a huge and modernized production base and a special premises housing of several thousand barrels for storage wine distillate. It is famous for its copper “charentais” type “Alembic”from the Cognac region for distilling spirits. Also in the last ten years, the production team has paid special attention to micro-winemaking, as each process is done manually, which leads to the creation of short series of high quality wines. The first modern wine cellar in the area was built here, back in 1932
Over the years, it gradually lost its activity and today the building has been transformed into a large hotel complex, Via Pontica with a well-developed modern wine tourism, with a restaurant and a tasting room for 200 people.
(Via Pontica is the main migration route of migratory birds, whose diversity is one of the most amazing features of the resorts in the Burgas Bay). We taste wines in this exquisite hall, in which, just like in a wine museum, huge old but well preserved horizontal barrels are still to be seen. The complex is located in the town of Pomorie, in the hotel Festa Via Pontica and is open for visits. The most popular brands that the visitor can taste during a wine tour are Pentagram, El Mar, Golden Rhythm, Salty Hills, Vera Terra, Villa Ponte, as well as the spirits Alambic, Burgas 63, Burgas Muscat, Pomorie Grape. It is recommended to make a preliminary reservation for a wine tour on the website of Black Sea Gold – www.bsgold.bg.
We feel very pleased and ready for our next stop Dives Estate Wine Cellar, just 12 km north of Pomorie, very close to the town of Aheloy. It is located on Simeon’s hill, where in 917 King Simeon the Great commanded his troops during the hard battle at the river Aheloy, which led to the defeat of the numerous Byzantine army. From the hill we have the opportunity to enjoy an incredible view of the entire Pomorie Bay, the salt pans, the protected area Pomorie Lake, the mouth of the river and of course the vineyards of Dives. We are greeted by a polite and smiling guide who introduces us to the history of the wine cellar and shows us the path of wine. If it is grape harvesting season we can see with our own eyes the receiving and processing of the grapes.
The tour leads us to the tasting room, separated from the barrel room by a glass wall, where we taste five wines combined with five types of bites.
We start with Muscat, continuing with rosé, going through the local Pamid and the blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Grand Reserve series and we end with a wonderful dessert wine. They are all high class, an example of a perfect combination of natural resources and a demonstration of excellent wine skills. Dives Estate is one of the few wineries in the region that processes the Bulgarian red variety Pamid. The wine has a light ruby color, light and fresh, with a fruity aroma and juicy finish, and is consumed young. After our acquaintance with the wines we are invited to make a fragrant tasting of lavender. We walk around the cellar on a terrace like terrain, where each floor is planted with different varieties of lavender, and we have the task to find the aromatic differences in each of them. For reservations: www.divesestate-bg.com/bg/.
We take a short break for lunch and continue northwest. We are already in a great mood. Only 30 km from Pomorie, in the picturesque village of the same name, is located the Stratsin Winery. It was built in 2015, but the team considers the 2016 campaign to be their first real harvest. A few decades ago there were old vineyards and a small winery here, owned by the grandfather of the current owner. Nowadays the tradition has been renewed and the winery has its own vineyards covering an area of 30 ha, planted several years earlier with the red varieties Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and white Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat. The equipment is new, modern and entirely focused on high quality wines. The Black Sea breeze, mild winters and humid summers have a beneficial effect on the development of fruit flavors and individuality of wine. Our hosts are exceptionally hospitable and friendly and welcome us with a smile. During our wine tour we get to know every detail of the production and inhale the aromatic scent of a French oak barrel full of Chardonnay.
Then we are invited to a tasting that includes the Early Birds and Soulmate series, combined with bites of local dairy and meat products.Soulmate, or “the encounter of different souls united by a common good”, is the highest class of Stratsin wine series, which has won medals at various international competitions such as the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles , as well as the The Balkans International Wine Competiton.The range is complemented by a new series of Picky Magpie, elegant and fresh white varietal wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, rosé and red blend of Syrah and Merlot. In Bulgaria only here we can taste a rosé made of Sauvignon Blanc. The idea comes from New Zealand, and the technology is kept secret. The tasting room is lovely arranged and spacious, with a large veranda and has a capacity to accommodate up to fifty people. For reservations: www.stratsinwinery.bg.
After a long day full of emotions having visited great places it is time for us to rest. We spend the night in Pomorie, gain new strength and are ready for the next adventure, only six kilometers from the city- Tohun Winery. Tohun was built in 2009,it is fully equipped with modern technological machinery and produces high-class wines by processing hand-picked grapes from its own vineyards. The vineyards were planted after the year 2000, on a total area of 70 ha and are located in several sections in the region of Pomorie. They include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.Seven years ago some of them were restructured and planted with Semillon, Pinot Noir and Syrah. The estate emplaced a new beautiful and extensive tasting room, which was officially opened this year and has the opportunity to welcome large groups. Our tour includes a presentation of the production facilities, presented by a professional winemaker, who introduces us to every operation – from receiving and processing the grapes, through aging, draining the barrels and blending, to bottling and bottles storage. All this is followed by a tasting of three or five wines. We taste and enjoy the wine. The favorable climate and soil make Soroko, Greus and Tohun series leading brands in the region. The wines are wonderful, white varieties are fresh and fruity, with mineral notes, rosés are exquisite, fine and tender, and red ones – attractive, with long color, density, spiciness and long aftertaste. For reservations: www.tohun.bg.
НWe head to Boyar Pomorie Wine Cellar, just a jump from Tohun. It was built in 1998 with planting 35 ha of vineyards, thus reviving a family tradition from the beginning of the 20th century. The cultivated grape varieties are Chardonnay, Muscat, Uni Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as the old local Bulgarian variety Dimyat. Dimyat’s plantations are mainly in Southern and Eastern Bulgaria, but are also grown in Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Romania, Greece and Turkey, where it is known by other names. Dimyat is a late variety that reaches maturity in the second half of September. It produces an aromatic wine with variable sweetness degree, and is consumed young and chilled. The Dimiyat vines with golden honey-colored grapes are located around the wine cellar itself. Their two excellent series areTerra Anhialo with its delicate profile of young and fruity wine and Avludzena – an example of powerful and complex wines. In addition to wine, Boyar also offers spirits such as the aged Muscat rakia Anhialo and the wine brandy Aristocrat. A natural liqueur from cherries called Amarelle is the great surprise for us. Our wine tour is led by a specialist who shows us the production areas and reveals us the secrets of the offered wines and brandies. A restaurant and a hotel are also available on the site. For reservations: www.vinarskaizba.com.
Another great winery is located in the region – Santa Sarah Wine Estate. It is the most distant wine cellar, but still only 33 km from Pomorie. The road passes through beautiful villages leading to the foot of Stara Planina mountains. The charming village of Goritsa is close by, with its beautiful houses, some of which are owned by Russians and Englishmen who came to live in Bulgaria because of the mountains and the sea.The terrain is ideal for viticulture –elevated on a hill, windy, with an optimal balance of sunshine and rainwater. The vineyards surrounding the winery are new, covering a total area of 27 ha and include a wide range of grape varieties – white Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Traminer and Vermentino and red Grenache, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon , Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Carménère, Petit Verdot, Malbec and the Bulgarian Mavrud. The wine cellar is completely independent of external energy sources and relies on its solar photovoltaic systems built on the two production buildings. Most vinification processes are done manually, and the wines are of high quality and great success. The exquisite series Santa Sarah Bin, Privat, No Saints, Petite Sarah, One Good Year Privat have won awards from many international competitions. We wish they open doors for wine travelers soon so we have the opportunity to visit them as well.
We are satisfied with our colorful journey, but it’s time to go home. We promise ourselves that we will come again and continue to discover new wine paths, touching the taste of local valuable products.
Autor: Lidia Pelova
Винен гид към Wine Tour Maker