Mavrud is mainly found in Bulgaria making tannic wines that take well to ageing. The wines are said to have character but little elegance.
But what the heck! Escape the rabbit hole of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Gamay, Pinot Noir and the usual red wine suspects and jump into Groundhog Day with a Mavrud.
Way back in the day I spent a month in Bulgaria. Great people living unhappily under the yoke of Communism. Line ups for food. No shower in my bathroom at a low-end hostel so it was off to a public bath house for the proletarian and not the LGBTQ community. I must have been a strange character with a ponytail particularly if you arrived in Bulgaria by land the border guard would shave your head like you were joining the Marines! Stop that Western decadence and corruption. Yes I had many a people stare at me with my long hair and Romanian shepherd vest. But they were all good and hospitable people perhaps because my presence was a quasi celebrity one. Outside the capital city of Sofia I was an object of disbelief and viewed like an alien.
I arrived in Sofia from Athens on a Balkanair flight. Refreshments were sparkling water and a quasi edible sandwich served Alcatraz style but customs were so awed by the spectacle they saw I escaped without a haircut!
On the nose there is some black cherry and it is indeed charming mixed with chocolate, blackberry, pomegranate, blueberry waffles and cassis. The nose reminds me of a Tawny Port in a straight jacket but there is none of the neutral spirit sweet heft to it. The tannins are moderate. On the palate a very earthy wine but concentrate hard enough there is some fruit lurking on the fringes mostly blackberry and some juicy cherry. Generally speaking an unimpressive finish. However the lurking fruit and moderate tannins hint that the wine might mature over the next few years.
Quite frankly readers often organic wine has a certain purity and vibrancy to it. Sorry to say this wine tastes like it was from grapes grown in overworked and lifeless soil.
No the wine isn’t going to bite you and will suit, as they politely say, a Friday night dinner of pasta, wings or burgers.
I say bring on the Bulgarians! They have been making wine for centuries so there must be some gems out there still in Bulgaria as the Iron Curtain fell decades ago and there has been time for wine to escape the Politburo’s 5 year economic plan as a commodity.
(Zagreus Reserve Mavrud 2018, Zagreus AD, Parvomay, Bulgaria, (organic), $15.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 21275, 750 mL, 14%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 87/100).