15 Mar Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Bulgariana 2020 Gamza, Danube Plains, Bulgaria
Bulgarian wine? Gamza grape? Probably both are unfamiliar to you as they were to me. But I was recently introduced to Bulgarian wines and virtually met Robert Hayk who is the co-founder of GB Imports. His mission is to make Bulgaria a universally recognized wine region. Most of the wines he is importing from Bulgaria are international grapes that we are all familiar with. But Gamza is the primary indigenous grape from Bulgaria and that is what intrigued me. That is why the Bulgariana 2020 Gamza, Danube Plains, Bulgaria is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
What is Gamza
Gamza is a red grape variety that has been cultivated in northern Bulgaria since ancient times. In other Balkan countries, such as Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia, Gamza can be found under the name Kadarka. Gamza is a late-ripening variety that prefers cooler climates. It thrives on windy hills. But because of its thin skin, Gamza is prone to developing mold. This sounds similar to other thin-skinned grapes we love, like Pinot Noir.
Gamza is a medium-bodied wine with aromas of red fruits. It is soft on the palate with delicate tannins. Gamza is similar in style to Pinot Noir and Gamay.
Bulgariana is a brand created by GB Imports, champions of Bulgarian wines. Bulgariana was initially a brand exclusively for Total Wine & More but will soon be found in other retail stores. GB Imports believes in sustainable practices and all the farmers and producers adhere to GB Imports high standards. They believe in transparency and do not use any animal products, hormones, or unhealthy additives.
The fruit for the 2020 Bulgariana Gamza comes from vineyards in Balgarsko Slivovo in the Danube Plain in northern Bulgaria. The grapes are vinified in a reductive style in order to better express the wine’s aromas. After fermentation, the grapes undergo battonage for one to two months. The 2020 Gamza is a cherry-red color and has aromas of raspberry, cherry, and cranberry. The wine is bright on entry with fresh acidity and a hint of spice.
Like Pinot Noir or Gamay, Gamza can be enjoyed with grilled salmon, tuna, or chicken, as well as with pizza. I enjoyed this wine with Banitsa (a traditional Bulgarian dish made with filo dough, eggs, yogurt, and cheese), Shopksa Salad (tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onions, and Bulgarian Feta cheese), and Armenian style Tolma (meat stuffed grape leaves served warm with yogurt).
Where to Purchase
The Bulgariana 2020 Gamza retails for $15 and can be found at Total Wine & More.