The Northern Wine Region stretches between Balkan Range (Stara planina) and the Danube. It is very large and extensive and includes many smaller regions with specific microclimates and different soil and climatic characteristics. Good conditions for growing primarily red grape varieties are found in this area - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pamid, Gamza and Pinot Noir. However, some white varieties with very good quality are also represented, these include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Aligoté, Tamyanka and Muscat. The region produces good dry white wines, naturally sparkling wines using traditional technology, high-quality red wines with rich fruity flavours. Here the traditions of viticulture and winemaking are highly respected and some of the oldest and largest winemaking centres in the country are in this region - those in Russe, Svishtov, Vidin, Lyaskovets, Suhindol and Pleven. The only Wine Museum in the country is located in the region of Pleven
The Eastern Wine Region comprises three sub-regions – the Black Sea, Dobrudzha and Ludogorie. The mild climate is favourable for the cultivation of white grape varieties. These include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, Dimyat, Rkatsiteli, Traminer, Aligoté and Riesling. The long warm autumn is conducive to the production of excellent semidry white wines. Some micro regions also create suitable conditions for cultivation of red grape varieties - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc. The largest wineries in the region are found in Varna, Pomorie, Burgas, Targovishte, Shumen and Preslav Khan Krum.
The Sub-Balkan Wine Region includes the territories south of the Balkan Range to the northern slopes of Sredna Gora Mountain and the largest wineries are located around Sliven, Karnobat, Karlovo, Slavyantsi and Sungurlare. The Balkan Mountains create a barrier to keep out the colder northern weather. This generates exceptionally favourable conditions for the cultivation of many grape varieties. The local variety Cherven Misket is typical of this region and produces good white wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shevka, Pamid, Chardonnay and Merlot also thrive here. The region is known for its excellent dry and semidry white wines and to a lesser extent for its red wines
The Southern Wine Region includes the districts of Plovdiv, Haskovo, Pazardzhik, Stara Zagora, Lyubimets and Harmanli, this is the Upper Thracian Plain (Gornotrakiyska nizina) and part of Sakar Mountain. The Balkans provide protection against the extreme cold and high winds from the north. This creates good conditions for the cultivation of red varieties with excellent taste properties - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rubin. Soil and climatic conditions are also suitable for the cultivation of some white varieties. The districts of Asenovgrad, Pazardzhik and Perushtitsa grow Mavrud - a unique Bulgarian variety. The more important wineries of this region are located in Asenovgrad, Haskovo, Brestovitsa, Stara Zagora and Lyubimets.
The South-western Wine Region is relatively small and includes the land along the Struma River south of the town of Dupnitsa. The larger wineries of this region are located in Damyanitsa, Sandanski, Blagoevgrad, Petrich and Harsovo. The climate here is very similar to the Mediterranean. The climatic conditions around Melnik and Sandanski are most favourable for growing grapes. The variety Shiroka Melnishka, which grows only here, is important for wine production in the region. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and other varieties are also cultivated.
UNIQUE LOCAL VARIETIES OF GRAPES
Gamza is a local red variety, which thrives best in North-western Bulgaria - Suhindol, Vidin and Pleven. The grapes of this variety mature late and produce red dessert and table wines.These have a clear bright raspberry colour and a fruity, prevailingly raspberry aroma. They are fresh, light-bodied and should not be flavoured with oak. Gamza wines are usually consumed young. The variety is grown in Macedonia, Romania and Hungary, under different names.
Cherven Misket is an old Bulgarian variety, mostly cultivated in the Sub-Balkan region. It is the Bulgarian grape variety that is most highly resistant to cold. Wine made from it has an interesting pink tint. It is known that the variety is a hybrid created from Riesling and Dimyat. Its aroma is a bouquet of herbal nuances, quince and honey. Cherven Misket wine can be sampled in wineries in the regions of Straldzha and Sungurlare.
Shiroka Melnishka is a local red variety which grows only in the regions of Melnik, Petrich and Sandanski, since it is vulnerable to low temperatures. The colouring of the wine is medium deep. The wine produced from this grape variety is of excellent quality, with ripe cherry and herbal aromas, and in the presence of oak it develops undertones of tobacco and leather. The flavour of the young wine is fresh, with pronounced tannins. With maturity its taste becomes softer but retains its spicy finish. The unique flavour of the wine from grape variety Shiroka Melnishka can be experienced in the wineries in the region of Sandanski and Melnik
Rubin is a local variety created by cross fertilization from two varieties - Nebbiolo and Sora. Its wines have a deep colour and a full-bodied flavour with a soft aftertaste. Its aroma is intense, fruity, with a predominance of ripe blackberry. In contact with oak it develops a hint of fruit jam. Rubin wines can be tasted at wineries in the region of Plovdiv and Septemvri.
Dimyat is a typical Bulgarian white grape used for production of dry white wines as well as aromatic wines and brandies. It develops a fruity aroma with hints of ripe peach. Its flavour is mild with a pleasant freshness. It grows best in the region of Varna but is also grown in other parts of the country. You can sample it in the wineries in the region of Evksinograd Varna, Shumen and Stara Zagora.
Mavrud is a very old local variety grown mainly in the areas of Asenovgrad, Plovdiv, Pazardzhik and the foothills of the Rodopi Mountains. Wine produced from Mavrud is a saturated ruby purple and has an excellent flavour. It has a pronounced rich texture and a luscious aroma with strong overtones of ripe berry and spices. It ages very well in contact with oak. Several wineries in the region of Asenovgrad, Plovdiv and Pazardzhik offer tasting of Mavrud.
Pamid is one of the oldest varieties grown in Bulgaria. It is widely found throughout the Balkan Peninsula under different names. It is suitable for wine production and fresh consumption. Wine produced from Pamid has a light red colour. Its aromas are fresh, with fruity notes, elegant body and soft finish. It is consumed young due to the low content of phenolics and does not respond well in contact with oak. It is often used in blends. Pamid can be sampled at wineries in the region of Pazardzhik, Pamidovo and Plovdiv.