Dilyan’s recommendations for best enjoyment this season:
Prepecenica Plum Rakija, Bukovo Monastery, Serbia
My attention to this rakija got caught by the story of the monks in Bukovo monastery making it for their own consumption (and a tiny quantity allowed to be sold externally) from the fruits of the plum orchards of the monastery in the most traditional double distillation process. And when I tasted it – wow, what a distillate, and what a natural product, one of the best I tried, with its complex rich plum aromas discreetly enriched by the ageing in Serbian oak barrels. A great accompaniment for the autumn-winter evenings to a mixed charcuterie and cheese board and long conversations with your friends and family around the dinner table.
H’s Kaylashki Misket 2019, Haralambievi Family Winery, Danube Plain, Bulgaria
A great example of the indigenous Bulgarian Danube plain local Kaylashki Misket, coming from the Mogilite single vineyard near the village of Petarnitsa which I had the pleasure to visit in August and spend time with Tsveti and Mitko Haralambievi, a lovely family really dedicated to their vineyards and wines. I can confirm that the wine is drinking at its peak at the moment with a lovely typical expression of this grape variety – toned down and well integrated perfume of quince and geranium flowers, fresh and zingy palate with notes of grapefruit, pineapple and a touch of lychee, a style reminiscent of a good Alsatian white. Good as an aperitif, but even better alongside smoked salmon, shellfish and Thai dishes.
Concordia 2015, Alira Winery, Dobrogea, Romania
A fantastic red by one of our newest additions from Romania – Alira winery, whose wines we have just listed but know of the high quality standards and style of their winemaker Marc Dworkin for a while through the wines of our long standing partners Bessa Valley winery. In ancient Roman religion Concordia is the goddess who embodies agreement in marriage and society. In blessed years such as the vintage 2015 the winemaker wanted to symbolize the harmony between their signature local Romanian grape Fetească Neagră and the international Merlot. The wine boasts an abundance of red and black fruit notes, in particular black cherries and blackberries, “married” beautifully with secondary notes of dried spices, mint, aged balsamic and dark chocolate. Full bodied and powerful, with well integrated and mellow tannins. Beautifully aged in the bottle red to enjoy with your red meat mains or matured cheeses.
3 Blend Red 2015, Bratanov Family Winery, Sakar Mountain, Bulgaria
Another great example red of the drinking at its peak 2015 vintage, made by our good friends Bratanov family winery. A blend between their 3 signature red grape varieties - 50 % Cabernet Franc, 35 % Merlot and 15 % Rubin, the latter a local indigenous Bulgarian grape created back in the 1970s by crossing Syrah and Nebbiolo. The winemaker Maria Stoeva and Bratanov’s team aged the 23 Hungarian, Bulgarian and French new and used barrels of this red for 3 years aiming an optimal balance and structure of the wine. Now, with a further age of 3 years in the bottle, I believe this is one of the star reds at The Old Cellar’s selection, with its intense crimson colour, plenty of ripe red fruits and dark chocolate on the nose, rich juiciness on the palate and further notes of tobacco and leather balanced with velvety tannins. Amazing match to beef but in particular to wild game such as venison and wild boar.
SKUDilyan’s Seasonal Favourites 4 Bottle Mixed Case