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Michel Rolland in Bulgaria

By now it must be obvious that I will try any affordable wine such as today’s Bulgarian selection.  I was surprised by the quality of the fruit in this wine so I emailed John at MacArthur Beverages.  He mentioned that Michel Rolland had a hand in making the wine.  Indeed he does play a role in the revamped Telish Wine Cellar which was established in 1960.  In 1999 it was privatized and acquired by Jair Agopian.  He set about planting new vineyards in 2004 and in 2006 completed the new Castra Rubra Winery.  Michel Rolland was brought in as chief wine consultant.  Today there are wines produced under the Telish and Castra Rubra labels.  These wines use fruit sourced from some 200 hectares of estate and 350 hectares of controlled vineyards.

This is a well made, international wine which should have broad appeal.  It is actually a good amount of wine for the price and I suspect it should develop throughout the year.  It would be fun to serve this wine blind to your friends.  This bottle was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2009 Telish, Bulgariana, Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah, Thracian Valley – $11
Imported by G&B Importers.  This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light to medium garnet.  The nose was light but tight.  In the mouth this medium bodied wine offered up blacker and blue fruit of nice quality.  There was reasonable ripeness, weight, and depth at first but also some firmness indicating youth.  There were black fruits and graphite in the finish which left chewy, ripe tannins on the lips.  It tastes modern.  Already throwing sediment.  **(*) Now-2017.


  1. March 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Bulgaria has a huge potential when it comes to winemaking. I got to know the wines of Bulgaria a bit in 1996 to 1998, when I used to spend every other month a couple of weeks in Sofia . What they need is foreign human and financial capital. Another Bordeaux winemaker who is already there is Count von Neipperg http://schiller-wine.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-wine-empire-of-von-neipperg-family.html Cheers.

  2. March 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Nice article, Aaron. I’m with Christian here. Bulgaria is a really unique place, capable of producing really good wines. Yes, a lot of the wines are being made in an international style with new oak and lots of extraction, but the Thracian Valley also produces a lot of lesser known varieties like mavrud. If you ever get to try one, go for it. I’m hoping to follow Bulgarian wines over the next ten years, maybe they’ll get a bit more recognition. Cheers!

    • March 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

      Christian, Isaac,

      This wine has strong QPR, tasted blind I would have simply guessed New World. At this price point I do not mind that it is a Cab/Syrah blend made in an international style. It is the sort of wine you do not need to think twice about opening, it is comfortable, tasty, and affordable enough to be a daily drinker. As you pointed out, their vineyards are also planted with Rubin and Mavrud. Neither of which I have tried. I’ll email G&B Imports to see if I can try a bottle. I often turn to France, Spain, and Italy for my daily drinkers but more frequently I go further east. I am glad to add Bulgaria to that list.


  1. April 18, 2013 at 9:05 am
  2. October 1, 2013 at 7:47 am

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