FOOD – The Melnik Vine: Good genes run in the family



Wine is inherently connected with the region that it comes from, just as we are connected to our families and our roots.

Wine comes from grapes and they have genes as well! For example, the mother and father of Sauvignon Blanc are the Chenin Blanc and Traminer. Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, gave birth to Cabernet Sauvignon. These are just a couple of examples of what you can experience in a glass of wine. You may ask yourself, “How did this black currant get in my glass?” Or “why is this particular wine so fresh, while others are so juicy and full.” This is because each wine, like people, comes from a different family, a family that helps shape it.

Leaving the above mentioned international grapes aside, what is new on the wine market? The Balkan Peninsula is definitely gaining respect, not only on the restaurant stage in the D.C. metropolitan area, but also on the drink menus. The Balkan concepts are in the beating heart of the dynamic restaurant scene in Washington, D.C. Balkan Grill trucks are circling the streets, offering fast food and the taste of Eastern Europe.

Well, all this good food that you can find in the enclosed area between the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Adriatic is promptly accompanied by fine wine. Indeed, this piece of land has a very rich winemaking history and is the home of indigenous grape varietals. The southwestern wine region of Bulgaria is tucked between six mountains and open to the Mediterranean. Offering unique micro climates, this area is home of the indigenous Broadleafed Melnik vine (Melnik for short) and its close relative Melnik 55.

bmo-bulgaria-wine-art-wine-grapes-on-vineBroadleafed Melnik is a low extract local grape with a tricky character, much like Sangiovese in Italy, known as the “tricky child” by specialists. It is a late ripening and not easily vinified grape. This August, members of the promotional project “Fine European Wines” presented some really memorable Melnik wines to the Washington, D.C. area. If you get the chance to taste them, here is what you will remember, among other characteristics: spicy, herbal and earthy notes, topped by a pinch of berries.

Melnik 55 is a successful hybrid developed in the 70s. It is a cross between the Bulgarian Melnik and the early bmo-bulgaria-wine-art-pouring-wine-in-glassripening French grape Valdiguie. The wines come with more power and juicier fruity notes,

yet the earthiness is present and the spice and tobacco tastes develop with aging.

For the upcoming winter season, the wines from both varietals would go perfectly with Mediterranean cuisine, pasta with sauce, lamb tartare, tuna tartare, lamb kebab and grilled earthy veggies.

If you wish to taste some of our fine wines, please do not hesitate to contact us at: and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.









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