WINE OF THE WEEK #068
Let’s kick off the Nebbiolo theme with the odd bottle.
I am going for a couple of days to Turin, Piedmont to indulge myself in the heritage of the Nebbiolo grape, so I only want to taste the “real” nebbiolo wines with my trip in the back of my head. Hence, this wine goes first.
UNIQATO (Damianitza winery) - Rubin 2007
I call this the odd bottle because of the grape : Rubin.
Rubin is a cross between Nebbiolo and Syrah and was created in 1944 in Bulgary, and officially recognized as a grape variety in 1961. It’s a grape that combines the body and ability to age of Nebbiolo the spices & fruit of Syrah.
Therefor, Rubin is known for the high quality wines in Bulgary. It can also develop relatively high sugar levels, so the grape is also used to make dessert wines.
Looks interesting to me.
The wine is from the Damianitza winery. A family owned winery that, due to political history of Bulgary, reinvented itself in 1997. New equipment, a new vision and a modern approach.
They are located on this map in the south-western part of the country.
I’ve found this description about the wine on the website of Damianitza winery :
The process of grape harvesting was delayed until there was partial withering. This was a way to attain better concentration and easier body and color extraction from grape skins. Varying fermentation regimes were followed by each individual fermentor. The wine aged in various styles of French and Bulgarian oak barrels for ten months. The malolactic fermentation took place in the barrels. Combining various vinification and ageing approaches contributed to a balanced and sophisticated complexity of the wine.
And now, I just want to dive in to get my first Nebbiolo impression. Or will Syrah be the strong grape here?
This wine is very dark. I cannot see anything through it.
The colour has lost all of its purple, young edges and this gives a very classic red. It looks quite dusty and unfiltered. A bit more wine polish would have been better I guess.
This nose feels very Syrah to me.
I get a great black pepper cloud in combination with plum, dark berries and pomegranate. But wine would not be wine if 60seconds later I am starting to smell completely different stuff.
Those first crispy notes make place for more round, developed and funky notes: I definetely get furry mushrooms, a bit of dry mud and a hazelnut. (And I’m not making a rhyme! )
So all in all, the nose feels very Nebbiolo :)
Tasting this wine is a big struggle.
The initial attack of acidity that I was hoping for wasn’t there. Because of that, the tannins grip way too early and this prevents me from tasting fruit.
My mouth went dry after 3 secs and this does not enable the wine to develop juicyness and fruit on my palate.
It is crystal clear that the wines needs more acidity.
(sidenote : drinking this wine at 14°C instead of 20°C adds a lot more fruit and floral notes and covers up the dryness. I really suggest to drink this wine “cold”)
In contrast to the taste, the finish surprisingly does work!
Because of my very dry mouth right now, I am making my own juices and little by little I am discovering new flavours.
It feels like I am chewing on the soil of an autumn forest. Dry leaves, twigs of berry plats, and a mushroom here & there.
I am enjoying this wine from a nerdy point of view, but the middle part is just very awkward and does not make me want to refill my glass straight away. I really think this wine scores bad on the most important aspect : acidity (equals flavour).
Won’t be buyig this bottle again, but I am not giving up on the rubin grape. I think there is more to discover here.