ELEGANT WINE WITH FRUITY TASTE AND PLEASANT FRESHNESS
Origin: Struma Valley
Variety: Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay
Alcohol content: 13% vol
Date of harvest: 8th – 15th September
History: In the Northwest of Bulgaria, near the Danube River, lays the point where the borders of three countries meet. Away from tourist destinations and convenient roads, there is a wonderful place where wine history is being made. There is no industry and barely any people around. In the embrace of a beautiful oak forest, a small vineyard puts the creativity of the winemakers to a challenge. Formed on the main rock of limestone and mixed with sand and clay, the soil there is just unique with countless shells of mussels and crustaceans of ancient origin. What more appropriate appeal could be found for a variety whose inexplicably insufficient popularity, despite its uniqueness, makes it attractive to the connoisseurs?
Viognier. Defined as one of the most ancient varieties of our times, full of beautiful contradictions and veiled in chivalrous mystery. The variety of Viognier was miraculously saved from extinction by the winemakers at Condrieu in North Rhône in 1965. Surrounded by legends, Viognier embarks on its journey around the world. It also reaches Bulgaria on its way, where it is planted by wine enthusiasts looking for something different and extraordinary. The origin of Viognier, same as the origin of most of the ancient varieties, remains unknown. It probably dates back to Dalmatia, present-day Croatia, and was brought to the banks of the Rhône by the Romans. There are two main theories about the name of the variety. According to the first one, Viognier takes after the name of the small town of Vienne in the Rhône Valley, an important garrison for the Romans. The second theory states that the name derives from the Roman pronunciation of Via Gehennae, meaning the “road to hell”, a theory not so unbelievable, given the difficulties in growing the variety.
Viognier is an extremely sensitive variety, fragile and really vulnerable to diseases. However, it appears that it has found its natural guardians. The following might sound like a legend with no reliable explanation, but it is the truth. The forest surrounding the vineyard is a natural habitat for birds, many animals and insects. Small reptiles are not an unusual sight in the vineyards. Even so, something odd, mystical and continuous has been observed in one of the six varieties grown there. Vipers are found among the vines of Viognier. They are found only there and nowhere else in the vineyard. Vipers wrap themselves around the stems of the vines and merge with the color of the wood. They find their cover under the wine leaves which make them invisible. If vipers feel threatened, they attack. There are dozens of cases of bitten winemakers in the Viognier massif. Although we cannot explain their presence in the vineyard, they act as real guardians of the vines. Inevitably, the vipers bring us back to the legend of the ”road to hell” and the difficulties of growing the variety.
Good wine is made on the vineyard. It is where the magic begins. The vineyards define the character and build the style of the wine. When it comes to Viognier, the moment of harvest is almost magical. If the winemakers hurry a little, the aroma profile of the wine resembles the good green-grassy Sauvignon Blancs. When the grapes reach their maturity, the aroma profile of the wine shifts to the fruit range (peach, apricot, violets, hints of tropical fruits, honey and more). From this point of view, the creative choice determines the style of the wine. Then, the technological solutions shape and complete the wine.
After all, we did not become friends with the vipers, yet we managed to grow exceptional grapes. We blended the aromas of Viognier from our northern vineyard with those of Sauvignon Blanc from our highland massif in Smochevo. We added some Chardonnay from the same vineyard to complete the harmony. And without any stylistic conservatism we made Excentric Viper.
Vinification: The grapes of the three varieties were precisely selected on the vineyard. Back at the winery, after the second selection and 14-hour long cold maceration with the skins, the pure juice of each variety fermented in inox barrels at 14º Celsius for 25 days. After the fermentation, the wines were aged on fine lees, which were raised daily for a month (a technique known as batonnage). There is no oak interference. The blending of the wines was done 7 days before bottling. The cold stabilisation which is quite stressful for the wine was avoided.
Tasting notes: The wine holds an elegant unoaked style. A beautiful straw-yellow color. The complex fragrance consists of scents of citrus fruits, grapefruit, accompanied by hints of white peach, honey and mineral notes. Smooth and tender, but firm body. Delicate, compound and fruity taste with a pleasant freshness. The finish is long-lasting and fruity.