Gorchivka Merlot from Vinprom Svishtov – the tender wine with bitter name

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We have to admit that we were skeptical about this wine. Who would name his wine Gorchivka (Bitterness)? Well, we knew that there must have been some game of words in the name but we decided first to taste the wine and then to investigate the name.

We lit the barbeque in the garden, put the meatballs to roast and in the golden hour, under the settin sun, we filled the glasses with the deep ruby-coloured wine.

Anna helps us arrange the table
Anna helps us arrange the table

Where the Bitterness comes from?

Until recently we had a very modest experience with the wines from Northern Bulgaria. We had never tried Vinprom Svishtov (Svishtov Winery) wines and maybe we had never been to the town of Svishtov either. None of this was by purpose. But for some reason, most of our trips happen in Southern Bulgaria and we rarely had the opportunity to explore the North. However, during the social distancing this spring, we decided to change this, after we found out that we have tasted everything we have on our 45-bottle wine shelf in the cellar. We quickly ordered a delivery from the North. We asked Vinprom Svishtov (Svishtov Winery) to send us whatever they decide because we were unfamiliar with their production anyway. And we received several very interesting bottles, one of which is the Gorchivka Merlot 2017.

What about the Gorchivka? It was named after the famous vineyard from where the grapes come. Gorchivka is one of the most famous vineyards in Bulgaria, planted in 1878 with merlot and cabernet sauvignon. It is a memorable experience to try wines from such vineyards. They bear the spirit of the terroir and the love and care of everyone who worked on them for so many years. It is true that the wines from old vines are different, deeper and more intensive. And the old vines are charming and easily recognizable when seen. Another such old vineyard in Bulgaria is the Kolarovo vineyards in the South Sakar mountains, but now let’s talk about the Gorchivka.

The glasses with Gorchivka Merlot by Svishtov Winery
The glasses with Gorchivka Merlot by Svishtov Winery

GORCHIVKA Merlot by Svishtov Winery – tasting notes

We swirl the glass and an explosion of aromas flies out. Flavours of cherries and other fresh red fruits. Intensive, enchanting, a little spicy. The feeling from the first sips is unexpected. Somehow, with so much fruit in the nose, we expected something like a wild young wine. But we were met by velvety softness and fullness, some romance and tenderness no one could resist to. The Gorchivka, opposite to its name, proved a tender wine with soft final that accompanied us through the whole evening.

Pairing Gorchivka Merlot with food

Our dinner that evening was simple and traditional Bulgarian – meat balls on barbeque and French fries with samardala (a local Bulgarian herb). They paired flawlessly with the wine. However, with its softness and aromas, the Gorchivka would also go perfectly with more delicate dishes like oily fish, aromatic yeloow cheeses and almost any meat.

Gorchicka Merlot from Svishtov Winery with traditional Bulgarian dinner
Gorchicka Merlot from Svishtov Winery with traditional Bulgarian dinner

What did we not understand about the Gorchivka?

The label did not say whether this wine had matured in oak. With such fresh aromas it sounded unlikely. But it was so soft and intensive that we were in doubt. We asked the winery and it appeared that Gorchivka Merlot 2018 had matured 8 months in French oak barrels. But this did not actually matter because the wine was amazing anyway. We really have to taste its “sibling”, the Gorchivka Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine:Gorchivka Merlot
Country:Bulgaria
Grape:100 % Merlot
Vintage:2017
Winery: Svishtov Winery
Location:Svishtov
Price:9.90 BGN from the winery
Barrel:8 months in French oak
Serving temperature:16-18°C
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