Zagreus Vinica Mavrud 2008

Zagreus takes its name from the ancient Greek legends, Zagreus is associated with the god Dionysus, the offspring of Zeus and Persephone. He was later torn to pieces and eaten by the Titans. The use of his name for the winery is a nod to a recent discovery of an ancient tile in a nearby cave, thought to be from an ancient Thracian temple to the Dionysus cult.

The vineyards are in the Thracian Valley close to Plovdiv and Asenovgrad and were planted in 1998 by the Kostadinov family. They planted four grape varieties: Mavrud, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. The local area has a transcontinental climate with warm winters and hot summers, and has a long history of producing high quality Mavrud (a grape variety indigenous to Bulgaria). All of their wines are made from grapes that come from their own vineyards, which in 2010 were all certified organic. Whilst the vineyard may be their prime focus, they have not ignored the winemaking side and in 2004 built a thoroughly modern winery.

Zagreus have several ranges, but the Vinica is their top cuvée and is made wholly from Mavrud. So as to concentrate the sugar and acidity, the grapes have been dried for 3 months on straw mats before fermentation. Once the grapes have shrivelled, they press them and then make the wine conventionally before being aged for 7 months in new Bulgarian oak barriques (225 litre barrels).

Tasting Note Fruit DayFruit Day
As this wine is made with partially raisined grapes, you would expect this to be a powerful, maybe even overblown wine with high alcohol levels. There is no denying that it is full bodied, and whilst 14.5% may not be high in Californian terms, it is pretty high in alcohol. However, the alcohol is very well integrated (hidden) by the fruit, and the crisp acidity keeps it fresh and balanced. The colour is a very deep, almost opaque, purple colour. The nose is intense, with lots of aromas of plums, dark chocolate and peppery spice. The palate is rich with lovely ripe fruit and soft but prominent tannins. As I mentioned above, the relatively high acidity keeps the fruit and alcohol in balance, and helps lead this wine to a lovely velvety finish.

As someone who has spent a lot of time in Savoie, I actually find that this wine is somewhat reminiscent of a Mondeuse that has spent time in new oak, though obviously with a lot more body.

October 2011

Zagreus Vinica Mavrud 2008
Country: Bulgaria
Region: Thracian Valley
Vintage:  2008
Alcohol:  14.5%
Grape Variety:
Where To Buy:
Harrods, Swig, Theatre of Wine, Noel Young Wines, Wine-Searcher
Tags: Wine of the Week, Bulgaria, Thracian Valley, Mavrud, Vinica, Zagreus, Red Wine