Nestled along the banks of the Danube River, Bononia Estate is named for the ancient Roman Fortress that occupied the spot now known as the town of Vidin, where Roman armies brought vines for the cultivation of wine grapes. After careful soil analysis, the area was re-planted to grape in 2013 and the first vintage was produced in 2016. The Danube River appellation of Bulgaria is a moderate to cool region, with warm, dry days and cold evenings during the growing season. This large diurnal shift, coupled with breezes from the Danube, allows for ecological viticulture. Utilizing organic practices in tandem with technological advances and a keen eye for sustainability, Bononia Estate crafts nervy, fruit-forward and balanced wines, focusing on Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and the exciting, vibrant, autochthonous local varietal, Gamza. Bulgarian wine has long been eschewed by “serious” wine drinkers as cheap, cheerful and forgettable. However, Bononia Estate is part of the modern landscape of Bulgarian winemaking, with a focus on fine wines as opposed to bulk production. The wine world is beginning to take notice!
There are only two wine growing regions in Bulgaria: the Thracian Lowlands and the Danubian Plain. The latter lies south of the iconic Danube River, with the Black Sea to the East and Serbia and Macedonia to the West. The region enjoys as many sunlight hours during the growing season as Northern Italy and Portugal, allowing for full ripening of both international and indigenous varieties. The movement of the Danube River, as well as the influence of the Black Sea, moderate heat during the day and keep the evenings cool, ensuring brilliant acid levels in the wines. The yields are remarkably small in Bulgaria, with an average of only 4.3 tons/ha. By comparison, the US averages 18 tons/ha. Jancis Robinson has noted the exceptional potential of this northwestern part of Bulgaria and the wine world is starting to pay attention.
Planted in 2013 utilizing the Guyot training system, these vineyards are strategically placed just south of the Danube, along its banks. The fast flowing water accompanying breezes keep the grapes cool and dry during the growing season. The soil has great drainage and is composed of dark loam created by the ancient forests surrounding the region. These are true cool climate vineyards, so canopy management is key to ensuring the grapes get enough sunlight.
Sauvignon Blanc originates from the French regions of Loire Valley and Bordeaux. The grape most likely gets its name from the French words sauvage (“wild”) and blanc (“white”) due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France. Sauvignon Blanc often buds late but ripens early, which allows it to perform well in sunny climates when not exposed to overwhelming heat. Sauvignon Blanc grows in nearly every wine making region on earth and is produced in a variety of methods resulting in a wide spectrum of styles that range from lean to bountiful. It is a popular and unmistakable white that is loved for its “green” herbal flavors and inherently high acidity.
Hand-harvested grapes are gently pressed off the skins where they are fermented with selected yeasts in stainless steel. The wine is racked off of its lees and aged in tank before bottling young and fresh.
This is more Loire Valley than New Zealand in style, with aromas of green pea, white grapefruit and lemon zest. On the palate, it is light and crisp, with tingling acidity. Flavours of lemon-lime, Bosc pear and kiwi are all underpinned by a bit of that telltale Sauvignon Blanc grassiness. Enjoy chilled on a patio or paired with Mussels in white wine or spring salads.