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Melnik grapes

The Melnik grape variant also known as Shiroka Melnish ka Loza is a broad leaved vine which produces grapes used in making quality red wines.

This grape variety is an Old Bulgarian variant that has been cultivated on the foothills of Bulgaria since ancient times.

Majorly, this grape is cultivated in south western region of Bulgaria called as Melnik and hence the name of the grape.

This grape variant is so related to Melnik and so endemic to it, that all the attempts which were made to cultivate this grape outside the southwestern area have failed.

Wine grape varieties

The wines made from the Shiroka Melnish ka Loza grape were so exclusive and so sought after that during the 19th century, the then rich European families were willing to pay a premium for it.

Also in the recent time, Winston Churchill the British politician who was known for his love for premium quality wines purchased around five hundred litres of wine each year and this wine was his favourite.

History of Melnik Grape

In the 19th century the wines made from Shiroka Melnish ka Loza grape were hugely popular. As the story goes, the wine making families living in the Melnik area were very good merchants and they also had an uncompatible skill when it came to wine making.

During one of the fairs in 1889 at the Exposition Universelle in the state of Paris, the Melnik merchants participated since they were quite popular and they were confident that their wine would better many famous wines of that time.

However, as the story goes, these people came a little late and hence they were given a stand in one of the corners of the fair.

Since in the exhibition a remote corner was given, not many people visited the stand and the winemakers were left with no choice. The turnout at their stands was extremely poor and they could not reach the masses at all.

The Bulgarian people, though, still adamant, wanted to bring their product in front of the world.

These guys approached a famous bagpipe player by the name Costa Radanov who was more than willing to offer his services.

What he did was he tucked a bag full of the famous Melnik wine into his gaida and started playing it in front of the landmark of Paris- the Eiffel Tower.

Whenever visitors would flock around him, he would fill up a wine glass from his bagpipe, take a sip himself and then offer it to the standing people.

This marketing by the Bulgarian group worked wonders and the wine bagpipe became an overnight sensation.

People simply loved the wine and they started flocking in numbers at the corner of the fair where the Melnik stand was located.

And it is said that the winemakers received so many requests from the people to make the wine for them that, to be able to serve them all, it was estimated that it would take close to 184 years.

Wines with Melnik grapes

Characteristics of the Melnik Grape

Melnik is also referred to by the other name of Shiroka Melnish ka Loza. This name basically means broad leaves.

And as the name suggests, this vine has leaves which are broad, large and rough surfaced.

The bunch of grapes is semi compact, medium to big when it comes to size, winged, sometimes double winged.

The Melvin grape is an oval shaped small bluish black coloured grape having a thick skin. The grape itself is small, oval with a thick bluish-black skin.

These grapes are extremely juicy but have a sour taste. When it comes to ripening, this grape is a late ripening variant having its ripening date close to the first half of October.

When it comes with the resistance offered, these grapes offer low resistance to winters and require a hot temperature for ripening.

Melnik Wine flavours and aromas

Wines from Melnik grape have special aromas and characteristics. When it comes to the colour, these grapes have a dense cherry colour while offering the flavour of cherry and strawberry along with typical spiciness.

These wines require considerable aging and when mature, they give out a rich and a complex flavour of tobacco, black pepper and leather. This wine is often used as a blending partner with other wines.

Food Pairings with Melnik Wine

This wine really goes well with the local and the English Cuisine. It can be paired with cheeses like the blue cheeses and roasted foods.

A photo posted by Loh Lik Peng (@pengloh) on


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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