Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Tasting the glass

I hate to write about a company but I can’t escape it here. I went to an event organised by Riedel, the glassware maker, in Sofia’s Grand Hotel on this pleasant October Wednesday. What captured my attention in the promotion email was that by signing in for the tasting at the price of 15 levs (€7.50) I’d get attractive discounts for buying three of my favourite wines from a favourite wine retailer. It’s Burgundy, Washington State and Australia, geographically. The wines which Riedel chose were: Joseph Drouhin Santenay 2009; Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2009; Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz 2010.

But this thing grew to something bigger than the wine. I admit I never expected the shape of the glass can have such a profound effect on the sensual perception of the drinker. Maybe there is also the marketing and the psychological tricks, but I definitely believe Riedel has a point. No wonder their glasses cost a fortune (€85 for the set of three used in this tasting, regular price; sold at discount at the event for €30). These people made their glasses as the wine itself would want them to be made, as they like to boast. Mr Riedel had that idea back in 1973 and tested it among the most renowned wine producers in Italy. It was them who chose the form of glassware for their own wine. And it’s not only wine. Riedel has glassware adjusted to enhance any imaginable drink, even Bulgarian rakia. But enough about the company, let’s shift to the event.

                              Glass 1 - Pinot Noir; 2 - Syrah; 3 - Cabernet Sauvignon

Friday, 4 October 2013

A meet with the Prokupac

Time has come for my serious meet with Prokupac. It is a native Serbian red variety mostly grown in the central part of the country. In Bulgaria, we never associate Serbia with wine, and when we do we think white: Smederevka or Karlovački Rizling at the Exit Fest in Novi Sad, or Krstač  for those spending more time in the country, for that matter.

I tried a number of Prokupac wines in my Serbia travels over the last year. I was impressed by the combination of vigour, elegance and rusticity. Of course, it's different when you're home and the wine you chose to buy is all now at your disposal for a serious scrutiny.

I am trying the 2011 Prokupac by Vinarija Ivanović, Aleksandrovac, 14%. I bought the wine in Belgrade in May of this year but waited for the autumn to settle over the Balkans in order to try it in the more appropriate of atmospheres. This is medium to light bodied and quite the choice for September or even August, if we have to fall for those season/wine considerations. But it's 6 degrees centigrade in Sofia now, and the juice is just perfect. It displays wild plum, raspberry and redcurrant on the nose, and a bit of oak. I decanted it and waited for only half-hour for this, but for a 2011 Prokupac I think it's okay. On the palate the acidity is pleasing; it's again the redcurrant. What makes this special is the saltiness and the coffee nuance in the aftertaste. Rustic, red Balkan openness on a powerful display.