Friday, 13 January 2012

Bulgarian Wine history from the back garden of a home in Bulgaria! Part 1

Romans and Greeks grew vines and transported wine around their respective empires in Amphora dating back to BC.
Bulgaria holds a very important position in the European history of wine. Wine played a major part in the Thracian ancient culture, as important as their Gold and Silver which adorned their chariots and wine goblets alike. Bulgaria is reknowned for its Thracian gold jewelry but Homer's Iliad refers to the "honey-sweet black wine", which ships brought from the Thracian city of Ismarus (South Bulgaria) to the camps of the Achaeans outside Troy.
Since Bulgaria was a predominant landmass in the "Palaeo-Balkan-Western Asia Minor"community, the Thracians undoubtedly played a significant role in the Greek culture, especially since the Happy God of Wine, Dionysus, originated from ancient Thrace, again according to Homer's writings.


It would appear that some of these popular Thracian wines were in fact some of the native varieties of Bulgarian wine still to be found in Bulgaria, such as; Red Misket, Dimiat, Gamza, Mavrud and the broad vine of Melnik.
Gamza is particularly prevalent around my town of Veliko Tarnovo, and many Bulgarian village houses have gardens containing vineyards of Gamza.

Bulgaria continued producing wines and even the Bulgarian Khan Krum from the 9th century, who supposedly uprooted all of Bulgarias' vineyards, was found with vast cellars of wine in his possession by Nicephorus I and seized all of it, however Khan was not to be outdone and captured Nicephorus I, killing him and encrusted his skull in a silver goblet drinking fine wine from Bulgaria out of it!
When Bulgaria was converted to Christianity, the development of vine growing took a new turn and the "Anonymous Bulgarian Chronicle" of the 11th Century noted that "an abundance of everything - that is, wheat and butter, yoghurt and wine" in the reign of Tsar Peter (927 - 969).

Indeed, when you have bought a home in Bulgaria, you will get to taste the quality of the Bulgarian food which particularly goes well with a Bulgarian red wine such as the locally produced Gamza in the Veliko Tarnovo region, or perhaps a fresh cold white muskat, from Lyaskovets.
"The blog writer looking happy with his own produced Gamza in his barrel!"

Cheers!! & наздраве !!

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