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The Mavrud Grape

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About Mavrud

(Synonyms: Kachivela, Mavro, Mavroud, Mavroudi, Mavroudi Boulgarias, Tsiganka.)


Map showing Bulgaria

Mavrud is a red-wine grape originating in Bulgaria, probably in the vicinity of Asenovgrad (in the West Thracian Valley of southern Bulgaria); it appears to be quite an ancient grape (and wine-making in that region is well established as quite an ancient art: roughly 50 centuries’ ancient). The wine’s name derives from the Greek word mavro, meaning “black”, which gives a clue as to its appearance. Mavrud remains today a virtually exclusive product of Bulgaria.

Mavrud is considered to be an excellent grape, and is slowly starting to become better known in the West (as is its Bulgarian stablemate, Melnik). Mavrud wines are big, dark, tannic and acidic; they are thoroughly age-worthy, and are usually barrel-aged in oak, though by report unoaked renditions are also quite successful; oak-aged wines reputedly acquire overtones of chocolate and cacao. The aromas and flavors are typically of dark fruit: blackberrries, mulberries, and prunes are often cited. There are often also herb/spice qualities as well. The wine itself is medium- to full-bodied, sometimes said to be almost viscous.

Factoid: Mavrud, like many wines, comes with a legend, too silly and tedious to repeat here, but see Wikipedia.

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Some Descriptions of Mavrud Wines

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Some Mavruds to Try

(About this list.)

Mavrud is apparently not on anyone’s “hot wine varieties” list. We found a mere 16 bottlings under $20; only 2 are carried by more than one shop (findable by Wine Searcher), and those only at two shops; and only 2 had even received any reviews at all, pro or amateur. (And opening up to all prices only added 2 more one-retailer Mavruds.)

A cursory review of CellarTracker’s Mavrud reviews shows those with any rating at all running in the high 80s, say around 88 average, with some into the low 90s (and CellarTracker user reviews are typically a point or three lower than those of professional wine critics).

Thus, the paucity of decent Mavrud bottlings in the U.S. retail market strongly suggests a definite timidity on the part of those retailers—especially now that Bulgarian wines in general are staring to draw real attention (as here and here).

The simplest source of these (and other Bulgarian wines) is BulgarianWine.com, who have a decent selection and low or no shipping costs (6 bottles ship for $1 each, 12 for free). As we write this, they have three Mavrud bottlings from the Asssenovgrad winery, and have had (and probably will again when shipping is less jammed up) the nice Villa Yambol Mavrud. But there are other retailers who carry the occasional bottling of Mavrud, so keep your eyes open.

Owing to that paucity of retailers and ratings, we present no list for this variety. Sorry: it deserves better.

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This page was last modified on Monday, 22 November 2021, at 1:33 am Pacific Time.