If you are holding this catalogue in your hands or you are browsing through the online version of it, chances are that 1) you love to read about wine, in which case we have a lot in common and 2) you prefer to get the best available wine for your money and in this case too we share a common ground. This choice means that you may well be interested in learning more about wine and there are some excellent resources that can make your journey in its world a remarkable one.

The vintage stated on the bottle is the year when the grapes for the wine have been harvested. This information is important, and perhaps the most important, because vintages differ in quality and generally we rate them as poor, average, good, very good and excellent/ out- standing. Of course, we should know that there are exceptions ie one can find high-quality wines in a vintage, defined as poor. The quality* of the last twelve vintages in Bulgaria is rated as follows:

A good wine is any wine made from good grapes and with oenological discipline. A big wine is an interesting and specific wine. A wine of individuality and unique character. Multi- layered, compelling, with an opulence of aromas, flavours and colours. Expressing at most the variety and the origin of the grapes.

Every time I hear or read the word Beaujolais, what comes to my mind, is the image of a dry, fruity wine with soft tannins, which can be drunk all year round, and in the summer even slightly chilled. Very often, people that I talk to, always add the word Nouveau after Beaujolais – literally translated “new” or “young” – believing it is the only Beaujolais that exits. The truth is that Nouveau stands for a hugely successful campaign that was once carried out to promote these wonderful wines but I think it only brings harm and underestimation to them.

Sommelier

The sommelier is a skilled and experienced wine special-
ist, usually working in upscale and elite restaurants. Being a manager of the cellar in a restaurant, the sommelier should be familiar with available wines and their vintages. When should the wine be sold, when is it at its peak of development, which specific vintage is good to be purchased and left to age in the cellar. A sommelier knows many wine areas and knows how to pair wine with food and vice versa. Therefore, in addition to wine and beverages, he must have knowledge in the field of gastronomy or at least be familiar with the food served in the restaurant. The job of a sommelier in fine dining nowadays 
is as important as that of the chef. Sommelier is a profession that demands time to acquire information and techniques, a lot of travelling and tasting.

For the past few months, I have been trying to start writing this essay about corkscrews but somehow it would not work. What should I write? After all, everybody enjoying this book use this tool (almost) every day. Then suddenly it became clear to me. The corkscrew is actually a tool and should be regarded as such.

Have you heard of the “French paradox”? Although the French have quite of an unhealthy diet, with lots of wine and rich
in saturated fat food, the incidence and mortality rate from cardiac diseases in the country is very low. After the “French paradox” was described in the 80’s, it was followed by a real boom in research that traces the connection between wine consumption and maintaining good health. Indeed, this is the beneficial factor, responsible for the health and longevity of the French.

View of an Austrian connoisseur

It must have been in 1993, at the Austrian Wine Fair “Vinova” in Vienna, when a rumour started spreading among wine connoisseurs that there are in Bulgaria “Bordeaux-quality” wines that would be in the price range of “Brünnerstraßler” wines (Brünner Straße is a region north of Vienna, famous for its cheap but sour wine). The only problem here was that this rumour could not be confirmed as there were no Bulgarian wines to taste at the entire Wine Fair and moreover, unlike for example the UK, there were no or very little Bulgarian wines available on the Austrian market. However, the interest was awakened and Bulgaria as wine country stuck into the minds of Austrian wine consultants.

The Support Programme has been drafted jointly with the inter-profes- sional organisations in the wine sector in Bulgaria and with State Fund for Agriculture through consultations in the Executive Agency on Vine and Wine – the official supervisory and control body of the Minister for Agriculture and Food, and administrator of the support measures within the sector according to the provisions of the Wine and Spirit Drinks Act (promulgated State Gazette, issue 45 of 16 June 2012, in force as of 16 September 2012)

1. Choose a reliable supplier or buy your wine only from specialized shops.

2. One of the key elements for serving wine is the right temperature. It is often the subject of discussion among wine-lovers and quite often people drink their white wine too chilled, and the red – too warm. Serving wine at the perfect temperature is crucial if you want to reveal its best features and to help your guests appreciate and enjoy its qualities at their highest; of course, you should also pair it with the right food.