Sliven.

February, 2013.

11.11 am.

Enter Enosiasti and Peter Georgiev. Rossˑidi. Black on white.

We decided to give a little twist to this material on Rossidi, because they are definitely different, they have a unique style and are not afraid to experiment. Moreover, one can tell that they are having real fun while making wine and quite consciously allow themselves some widely unpopular things. You can miss them for the world.

We promised ourselves to find out who’s behind Rossˑidi when we opened our first bottle of their Pinot Noir, 2009. The winery hasn't stopped moving forward ever since and we are happy that we were able to visit them at a very interesting point in the development of their 2012 wines and have a look 'behind the scenes' in casual company of Peter Georgiev part of the winery's young team.

So, as the saying goes ... "everything starts in the vineyard." Well, Rossidi's story starts in the village of Nikolaevo (about 10 km south of Sliven) and their 40-hectar vineyard. Varieties include Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Currently, Rossidi don't grow Bulgarian varieties, but are planning on working with Rubin soon enough.

Rossidi are not your average boutique winery. Indeed, there is nothing average about them. Peter Georgiev and Edward Kourian (winemakers) rather embrace micro-production. All wine labels are their own creation, glued on manually so you can imagine the limited nature of their wines. But go on, try them yourselves. According to Peter Georgiev, this is Rossidi's goal. "The end client is the most important measure of quality", he says. If you want to visit Rossidi, definitely call them in advance. There will be someone to talk to you about wine and let you taste all that's new and interesting in their winery.

Rossidi work with French oak only but they tend to avoid overworking their barrels. According to Peter, Rossidi are striving to make "more elegant and not so expansive wines".

The winery itself is located in the town of Sliven and has two main halls: one hosting the stainless tanks and all the machinery and another one for the barrels (right behind this branded door).

Our attention was immediately drawn to the concrete vessel affectionately called "The Egg" (for obvious reasons).

Besides its attractive appearance, The Egg has an actual applicability. Rossidi use it for their Chardonnay, but unfortunately at the time of our visit it was empty. The signatures on its surface belong to everybody who had worked there: a fresh feature, which automatically makes the visit to the winery somewhat more personal. It was hard, but we managed not to succumb to the impulse to have our pictures take with The Egg like Japanese tourists.

As we walk among the tanks, however, we get the impression that not only The Egg has its own personality. Almost every tank had a different content. Rossidi love to experiment with different styles. For example, their Gewürztraminer was divided into three batches: one without yeast and two with two different strains and over 50% wild fermentation. This gives a number of options for the final blend, perfected by the team with the help of countless tastings.

The impatiently anticipated special limited edition of Gewürztraminer with higher sugar content adds to the endless surprises. While we were on the topic of Gewürztraminer, Petеr explained that they prefer to leave the aromatic varieties in the vineyard as long as possible.

We also enjoyed the mini-lab of their micro-production facility…

Despite their small scale, Rossidi have everything necessary to make memorable wines. It was wise of us to take notes, as we tasted almost everything in the winery. We tried two Gewurztraminers, 2012, and a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot of the same vintage. It is too early to say what the final blend will be, but can not wait to see it in a bottle. Rossidi's wines can be bought in Vinello: one of the specialized wine shops in Bulgaria.

Rossidi are definitely not going down the beaten tracks. Experimentation and innovation are key for the unique products of the winery.

”Many people tell us that is not right, but we do spontaneous malolactic fermentation and we don't use bacteria. Usually, you'd put selected bacteria and yeast whose role is to see the process completed. We leave this entirely to the bacteria in the wine itself. That's one of the reasons we sometimes face more challenges, but it is our call. That's how we did things last year and we'll continue to do so. We'll also have barrels with nothing added to them. As an experiment... Just to see how the vineyards react and behave in such case. This helps us decide on the yields, the nuber of sprayings and when to pick“, says Peter.

We have no additional advice to offer on the malolactic fermentation but we can say that we liked Rossidi's attitude towards their work. We asked them what can be expected from their wines this year.

”We typically produce more acidic reds and we like it; we won't not run away from this style. Currently, we are not striving for volumes. We want people to start knowing the winery and consciously seek after its wines. Then we can expand our production capacity. There is a way to produce larger quantities with this team with good organization. What we value the most is that people can recognize our style. We are entirely dependent on our own vineyards. We do not buy grapes. We work with what is in the vineyard. That's also our own choice and challenge to face“, admits Peter.

At the end of our visit, we asked if the winery is interested in international competitions. To our delight, Rossidi are one of the bearers of "the good news" for Bulgarian wine abroad, as we are told by Peter.:

”We were at the Merano Wine Festival in Northern Italy where the participation is based on the rating of the wines sent for evaluation. The wines that receive 86 points and above have the right to participate along with one additional wine of the winery's choice. Our Pinot and Merlot received good ratings and we used the opportunity to present the Chardonnay, which obviously stole the show. Other than that, we sell our Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer in London. We also intend to send wine for Decanter in May.“

That sounds good both in theory and in practice because the international appearances allow Bulgarian wineries to break out of the vicious circle of local competitions, giving them a different perspective on their work and the results achieved.

Finally, Peter asked us what we want to taste from the 2011 vintage. After a moment of hesitation we ultimately chose Syrah.

The truth is opening a bottle, knowing that there's only 399, 799 or 1999 of them is part of the charm and the "WOW" effect of Rossidi. They challenge us to enjoy every sip and think about how little time we have. Well, we admit that other thought might also come to mind... such as the number of people around you who are worth it or the times when you cried from happiness. In fact, all our lives we are handling limited series, be it of friendship, joyful moments or bittersweet feelings. Do enjoy them to the fullest.