THE ADVOCATE 695
VOL. 76 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
(pencil lead). The flavours are bright berries, more cherry, plum, and mulberry
with some licorice and mineral notes on the finish. The tannins are
light and it has good acidity. It can be consumed young and is an excellent
food wine that will pair with a wide range of dishes, including game or duck
or, as we had it, smoky barbequed chicken. Hard cheeses or a charcuterie
plate are also good choices.
MAVRUD AND RUBIN
Mavrud (from the Greek mavro, meaning “black”) is a red wine grape indigenous
to the region of Thrace in Bulgaria, used as both a blending grape and
for varietal wines. Bounded by the Black Sea and Greece, Bulgaria’s Thracian
Valley is considered to be one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world.
Mavrud has low yields of small-berried and late-ripening grapes, capable of
producing tannic, spicy wine with a potential for ageing.
Mavrud is literally legendary in Thrace, with the story being that, during
the reign of Khan Krum the Horrible of the Bulgars in the early 800s, in
order to abolish alcohol consumption, he ordered all vineyards destroyed—
along with much of the population in his purges and battles. (Supposedly
he had a silver-lined drinking cup made from the Byzantine Emperor’s skull
after he defeated and killed him.) According to one version of the legend, a
lion terrorized the area. A fearless young man named Mavrud confronted
and slew the lion. In another, Mavrud was a particularly brave and undefeatable
young warrior in the king’s armies. In both versions, the king summoned
Mavrud’s mother to learn the source of such courage. She said, no
doubt with some trepidation, that she had secretly saved a vine and made
wine, and that this was the source of Mavrud’s bravery. Khan Krum ordered
the vineyards replanted in his name. So Krum wasn’t all bad, just bloodthirsty.
Rubin is a hybrid between the grape varieties Nebbiolo and Syrah and was
created in 1944 in the Institute of Viticulture and Oenology in Pleven, Bulgaria.
However, it was not until the end of the 1950s that this grape variety
became more popular and was cultivated on a wider scale throughout the
As the name suggests, wines from Rubin have a deep ruby colour and a
typical aroma of berries. They can be consumed young, but when Rubin
wines mature, their tannins become smoother and their flavours improve,
while their freshness is retained. Rubin wines have gained considerable