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21 January 2016

Orbelus Winery: Wineries of Bulgaria (4 of 7)

Just a few minutes away from Villa Melnik Winery, in the village of Kromidovo is Orbelus Winery. We made our way to Orbelus in the darkening sky with a beautiful yellow full moon guiding us. As soon as we approached the winery, we were all mesmerized by its peculiar shape. Right in the middle of a stretch of green hills popped out the winery shaped like a colossal barrel half-buried in the soil. It was an unexpected but aptly shaped architecture. Orbelus Winery will easily strike your memory because there is no other winery shaped like it.

Orbelus Winery is a small and young winery from 2004, having its first vintage in 2010. It produces organic wines in accordance to Bulgarian and European laws. Just a short distance away from the village of Melnik, its grapes celebrate the variety of soils, hilly terrains and distinct climate of the Struma River Valley. It is also the only region where Melnik (Shiroka Melnishka Loza) adapts perfectly bringing about its valuable characteristics.

The 20-hectare vineyards of Orbelus Winery are scattered in 20 different plots between 160 to 250 m. altitude in the territories of the villages of Kapatovo, Kromidovo, Marikostinovo and Harsovo. This diversity of the terroir contributes to the richness of the grapes cultivated in the vineyards of the winery.

The white grape varieties grown are Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Sandanski Misket and Assyrtiko. The red varieties cultivated are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache Noir, Petit Verdot, Primitivo, Rubin, Shiroka Melnishka Roska, Marselan and Mourvedre while the region's local grape variety, Melnik 55 remains at the heart of the cultivation in the vineyards.

Nikolay Stoyanov and Kiril Miladinov, both winemakers of Orbelus, work closely with Hristo Iliev, the supervisor of the vine growers' team in interpreting the style and harmony of each wine produced in the winery.

Orbelus Winery creates blends with the presence of Melnik 55 in all of of them. Being the heart of the grape varieties of their wines, their aim is to taste it in a new light and keeping the Melnik tradition. The series of red blend are Melnik, Prima and Getika while the white wine blend series is Orbelus Orelek. Hrumki is an experimental wine series that was started in 2012.

With wine tasting, you get to know the winery better because their wines are the souls of what they stand for and Orbelus opened seven bottles for us to try. It was a night of discovery of another interesting interpretation of the territory of the Struma River Valley in the hands of yet another extraordinary winery.

Orbelus Orelek Chardonnay & Viognier 2014 is a 50-50 blend of both varieties and is organic. It has notes of flowers and apple.
Orbelus Paril 2014 is a blend of 30% Melnik 55, Syrah, Merlot & Marselan. It's a floral and fruity rosè with medium intensity. 
Orbelus Hrumki 2012 is a blend of Melnik 55, Marselan & Mourvedre. It has a deep ruby color with medium body and notes of blackberries. Production was a limited number of about 4,000 bottles.
Orbelus Melnik 2013 is organic and composed of 85% Melnik 55 with a touch of Petit Verdot. It is a fresh red wine with a deep ruby color.
Orbelus Getika 2010 is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Melnik 55 & Syrah with Petit Verdot. It is unfiltered and aged in French oak barrels for 6 months. It is a full-bodied robust dark purple wine with notes of blackberries.
Orbelus Prima 2011 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Melnik 55 with a touch of Petit Verdot. It is unfiltered and aged in French oak barrels for 8 months. It has notes of blackberries and tobacco.
Orbelus Prima Special Selection 2011 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Melnik 55 with a touch of Petit Verdot. It is aged for 15 months in French oak. It is a full-bodied wine with hints of spices and leather.

The founders of Orbelus implement the idea of producing win, entirely in harmony with nature and the region where the vines are situated. Since then their priority goal is the preservation of this identity. For Orbelus' founders this is the way forward, toward real quality wines in Bulgaria 

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