Katarzyna Estate is an investment of 12 million euro, launched in 2007, in the classic Bulgarian way - with the traditional horo dance and blessing priests. A Pole Mr. Krzysztof Trylinski, who is better known as the managing director of the French alcoholic beverage giant Belvedere, is the power behind Katarzyna!
The first vineyards were planted in 2003-2004 - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Mavrud, Tempranillo, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Viognier on practically virgin lands that were previously non-utilized in the no man’s land between Bulgaria and Greece. Turkey's border is also not far away from the Katarzyna estate.
Wines of Balkans had a pleasure of speaking to the general manager of Katarzyna Estate Madame Tsvetelina Nikolova and the famous Twins: Ivan and Svilen Kisyovi, in order to learn more about the winemaking philosophy of this great Bulgarian wine estate!
15 Questions for the Twins: Katarzyna Estate, Bulgaria
Q1. What is your winemaking philosophy?
The first and most important thing for good wine is grapes. In the cellar we just shapе its character and potential to carry over into the final product. The purpose and understanding depends on a good balance between ripeness, concentration, volume, length, texture, richness and elegance. The combination of all this is a clear handwriting of the oenologist and nature of the micro-region.
Q2. Do you have favorite cultivars, wines, wineries or wine regions in Bulgaria, our region or elsewhere?
Each region in Bulgaria has its own character, distinct from all others, which is a prerequisite for the production of quality wines. All kinds of wines combine hard work, energy and devotion that reflect the work of a cellar and character of the region. Surely the area where we work is exceptional. We can definitely say that South Sakar region - i.e. Harmanli to Svilengrad is a part of the best region in Bulgaria for the production of red wines. White wines are emerging in southern, warm style that has been recently adopted in Bulgaria. Worldwide this style is well known and appreciated.
Q.3 Could you please mention a few of your best and most interesting wines you have recently tasted?
We like the wines of Argentina, Chile, South Africa and certainly the French wines.
Q.4 How do you find the quality of Bulgarian wines in the context the Balkan region?
Bulgarian wines are at a very high level, not only in the Balkans but globally. Moreover, at this stage Bulgarian wines have a great advantage - incomparably better quality/price ratio. Bulgarian wines are with very good quality. You can find most of them in the international wine market. We popularize and promote wines of Katarzyna Estate at some festivals.
Q.5 What is your favourite Iocal wine and food and why?
Bulgarian cuisine is a rich and interesting one. We, personally, prefer roast lamb with some great Bulgarian red wine.
Q.6 What are the greatest challenges that you face as a winemaker and/or a viticulturist?
Everybody wants quality, better integrating in the wine market, and we are no exception. As oenologists, we always want and strive for more and more. Perfection does not exist. But your goals and dreams keep you going and searching for the perfection!
Q.7 Your wine marketing ideas are interesting and original. How would you promote wine scene of your region in terms of wine marketing?
The correct approach is to always treat a region as a whole, rather than individual wineries. Let's follow the example of countries of the New World and a need to be united in promotion of our wines.
Q.8 What wines (labels) are produced at Your Winery and do you plan any new labels in the near future?
Portfolio we have is not a small one. Mezzek series includes four reds, two whites and one rosé. Middle class is quite diverse, so everyone can find their wine. Stake in a class of white and red wines, clearly describing the nature of the region, the winery style and handwriting oenologist.
Despite the variety, the new brand is a must. This approach keeps cellar level and interest profile tapers.
For us, as oenologists, success of a winery is achieved by maintaining the quality of the manufactured brands and also by gettng a new, different and challenging customer.
Q.9 How you define wine tourism and does Bulgaria use its potential effectively? What should be done in a short-term to develop wine tourism as much as possible?
Wine tourism is an important part of educating the consumer in the region, winery and of course a good business. Bulgaria does not use its full potential, but I think in the last few years we have been working in the right direction. Sick truth is that the living standard in Bulgaria is very low and this is a major obstacle for the further development of wine tourism.
Q.10 Which are the most important tasks of your Winemakers Associations (if you are a member) in terms of further support of the wineries?
Sector Organization of Bulgaria is a wine sector. NLVC tries supporting their impressive performance in the cellars of various international exhibitions to enhance the image of our country as a winemaking country, and also protecting the interests of producers etc. To what extent it succeeds - it is completely another matter.
Q.11 Which food do you find ideal match to all your wines (please special attention pay to indigenous varieties that you cultivate)?
Our white wines from chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, which are fermented in oak barrels - Chardonnay Les Fleurs, Les Amandiers Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc, Le Voyage Sauvignon Blanc, Twins Chardonnay, Contemplations Chardonnay - pair very well with fish and white meat. As fars as more aromatic wines are concerned - Der Traminer, Smaraida & Semillon Sauvignon Blanc & Muscat Ottonel, Contemplations Sauvignon Blanc, Les Cailloux Chardonnay Viognier - they are great partners with fresh salad, light appetizers and fruit.
Our red wines Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc blended and presented in spill brands are a very good in combination with red meats, heavier fish (salmon), while our aged wines pair beautifully with chocolate-based desserts.
Q.12 How do you define 'success'?
Being satisfied with what you do and achieve.
Q.13 Which are the best methods of promoting local wines in Bulgaria, our region or elsewhere?
Promotion of Bulgarian wines must be made as the united project. Personally, we think it should happen right through the appropriate state mechanisms.
Q.14 What do you think about various wine closures? What is your preference? Why?
If wine is intended for a quick consumption, than screw caps could be used, but we must often use closures made of natural cork. Why? Well, because this is the best way to correct wine and also a better way of a long-term storage of wine in the bottle is still not invented.
Q.15 What does wine mean for you?
Wine for us is like a little innocent child. It is a combination of a voluntary work, positive energy, talent, life and something that cannot be explained in a few simple words.