A glass of wine in the town of Melnik
The “Precious” drink
"Wine of flesh and blood, that needs to be kept in a cloth, (a wine) to drink and grind!". The motto of the celebrated Melnik wine reverberates through history. For ages, the crimson drink has been valued far beyond the borders of our country - indispensable for the feasts of the Byzantine nobility, complementing the menu of the French counts, enriching the tables of the Doges of Venice and the Dukes of Spain. Passed down from generation to generation, Melnik’s wine making tradition dates back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance when ingenious merchants traded it all the way to Venice, Genoa, Dubrovnik, Trieste, Vienna, Budapest, Paris. Some say that Sir Winston Churchill himself always had substantial amounts of it.The unique wine grape variety Shiroka Melnishka Loza ("Broad -leaved Melnik Vine" or “Broadleafed Melnik”), the centuries- old skills of the winemakers and the region’s suitable climatic conditions are to blame for the popularity of the Melnik wine. The "Broadleafed Melnik" variety has rare biological properties and influences wine aging and maturation. In wooden barrels, the wine ages for decades in the cold and dark tunnels of the Melnik cellars.
Now, even though the wine is not as renowned as it was during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the town of Melnik is still a popular place for wine tourism. Dozens of local entrepreneurs have taken the initiative to preserve the former traditions in wine making and meet the increasingly more demanding taste of their guests.
In Melnik, you can stay in one of the houses, visit the cellar and taste a few selected wines. The owners will tell you about the winemaking technology in detail. There are wine tours as well. The cool cellars sheltering the large barrels are often cultural hubs and harbors of hospitality. A number of houses here have kept their authentic appearance and the labyrinth of cellars beneath them, creates a whole underground kingdom of wine. Contemporary wine producers have a complex task – to carefully preserve traditions, while seeking to meet the requirements of modern tastes.
Whether you choose to try a “barrel-aged” drink or the latter-day vintage, you'll leave feeling blissful. A lifelong memory for sure…