Monday, September 17, 2007

2005 Balkan Hills Muscat

The Muscat grape is the world’s oldest known grape variety. Over 200 different varieties and derivatives to the Muscat family exist today. These grapes are planted around the world in every continent. The color of the grapes can range from white to almost black in color. They are eaten as table grapes, sun-dried as raisins and processed to make unique wines.

The unique thing about Muscat is that it is the only grape that produces wine that tends gives its particular flavor to its wine no matter where it's planted. To put it another way, it's a vine that doesn't reflect its terroir. White Muscat wines have a signature floral and slightly orangey aroma. When make into fortified wines, they have rich noses of dried fruit, raisin and orange. It is also made into a unique brandy popular in Peru called Pisco. To the Americans, the most well known (and heavily marketed) Muscat wine is probably Asti Spumante, a sugary Italian sparkling white wine.

So it is Sunday night and a light dinner affair of salad and
pineapple fried rice is served. The wine pairing is this bottle of 2005 Balkan Hills Muscat made by LVK-Vinprom AD Targovishte winery from grapes grown in the northeast region of Bulgaria adjacent to the Black Sea. The grape varietal planted in this region is most likely Muscat Ottonel.

Price paid: $8.50. ABV: 13% .

Tasting notes:

Color: Pale yellow with a greenish hue.

Nose: Pleasant aroma of wild flower and honeysuckle. Slight hints of minerality. The floral aroma fades a bit as wine warms.

Palate: Refreshing and crisp. Very focused floral notes accompanied by lemony flavor. Hints of honey is also noted. However, the acidity can be a tad higher.

Body: Medium.

Finish: Medium but clean. Lingering notes of lemon and honey.


For the price from Bulgarian Master Vintners, this wine is worth every penny. (Shipping from this merchant is a very reasonable $1.50 per bottle at the time of writing). This Muscat should perform well when paired with light seafood dishes or with spicy food. It is a nice alternative to the 'usual' wines such as Chardonnay or Riesling.


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