As with so many other Eastern European countries, Bulgaria has a long history of grape growing and wine production; some estimate that vines were already established in this area around 2 AD. During the years of communism the wine industry lost it's way as wine production was monopolized and consolidated into a state-run industry. The target market was also adjusted to be exclusively the eastern block socialist countries. As a result wine quality suffered severely.
Katarzyna Estate, equivalent to the English Catherine or Catherina, was established in 2004 with the goal to put Bulgarian winemaking back on the map. The site selected for the winery is located on section of no man's between Bulgaria and Greece where watchtowers that still exist give reminder of another era. Since 2002 350 hectares of wines have been planted here along with around 12 million investment in a modern winery.
The 2006 Contemplation Triple Red is the estates first release of this wine. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Mavrud (a variety indiginous to Bulgaria). Here is my summation:
Attractively dense and dark in colour. Upon opening delicious dark berry aromas really wafted powerfully across the room. The palate is very rich and full-bodied with smooth, spicey, black berry fruit, pepper and an earthy mineraliness/chalkiness. Nice tanninic grip in there too. Ends with some attractive, slightly bitter notes on a good length. This is a really impressive effort first up. Efforts such as this will go a long way to restoring Bulgaria as a wine producing country of note.