Just back from holidays in Poland, I really felt like opening something Eastern European ... and so down I went to my vinous stash and brought up this Bulgarian Chardonnay that I had bought quite some time ago. This is an oaked Chardonnay made in a much more quality-oriented style than many of the bare-bottom offerings that Bulgaria has unfortunately been known for in our part of the world. The bottle, for example, is closed with a high-quality, solid, respectable cork. No agglomerate/cork-bits/cork-dust nonsense here.
12% alc./vol. Rich, light-straw colour. A tiny bit of pétillance inside the glass. Crisp, bright pineapple/coconut nose; prominent oak, but in a way that adds to the fruit and creates a rounded impression. Excellent, crisp, dry entry with excellent balance and verve; the oak is certainly "spice, not sauce" in this wine. Very dry and well balanced on the mid-palate; truly a fine Chardonnay with a dry, pleasantly minerally finish.
I have always desired that Eastern Europe go this route with its wines, and this one certainly shows what's possible - even at a large outfit producing large quantities of wine. Targovishte is not some tiny, obscure region; the name shows up on many Bulgarian labels. The grapes for the Tuk Tam were, however, hand-harvested. I would love to see private estate wineries putting out indigenous wines of high quality (e.g. Gamza, Melnik, Pamid and Mavrud) and seeing these names alongside the world's great Chiantis and Burgundies.