Four thousand years ago merchants from Troy came to the West of the Black Sea, in the Land of Thrace to purchase the most famous ancient drink. Those were magical times.
Thracian Kings went hunting for wild bulls and lions. The vine-growers from the Rhodope Mountains were enchanted by young Orpheus’s harp.
3 500 years ago, this was the valley of the Bessians, the most rebellious of Thracians. They safeguarded and kept the sanctuary of the God of wine and were known as the most competent in his cult’s rituals.
Hellenes from the south polis called it “Twice born”, Dionysus. Could that have been a prophecy about the revival of the Valley and its wine?
After the Great Migration of the People, the bloodline in the valley changed and different people came. The wine however, remained. It was praised in the songs of the Bards from the West and the poems of the East poets.
The terroir of Bessa Valley
The soil is the source of all great wine. This concept, paramount, is defined as the complex interaction between soils and climates. This same concept has naturally led us to Bessa Valley. Located about 150 km southeast of Sofia, near Plovdiv, the terroir of Bessa Valley is based on clay and limestone soils.
This valley, bordered on the south by the Rhodope Mountains, and north by the hills of about 230 m above sea level, offers an ideal location. The winds are rushing offset the excess temperatures, hot or cold, continental climate related. It also benefits from the influence of the Maritsa River, which flows some kilometers away.
The wines from these great clay-limestone soils provide power and structure, but also acidity and minerality. By soil type, some particular attention was paid to the selection of rootstocks, very qualitative and productive. Merlot is the majority (53%), as based on the terroirs. Other varieties (Syrah 25% Petit Verdot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon 10%) occupy the upper parts of the hills.
Bessa Valley is located on 250 ha, of which 140 have already been planted.
The main cellar forms an arc dug in the hill. The Rotunda is next to it, a place, where the fermentation is carried out. A Pergola connects the cellar with the administrative building. The walls of the buildings are faced in limestone, in which different sea inhabitants have left their traces.
Facts about the winery
The project started in 2001 by purchasing lands from around 800 people in the area of Ognianovo village (region of Pazardzhik).
Part of the cellar is dug in the rock, which is of a great significance for the preservation and maturing of the wine in oak barrels. The rock allows the maintenance of a constant temperature and humidity of the air.
Only acacia sticks are used for vine support.
Currently the yield from the Valley is around 650 000 kg of grapes. About 720 000 bottles of wine will be made from those. The grapes are picked manually by trained personnel and sorted twice during grape picking. The pickers collect only the best berries; the berries undergo a secondary sorting before being transported to the fermentation tanks.
The winery is 3 555 m3 in area and has a capacity of 2 500 barrels. Bessa Valley Winery is using only French oak barrels – barriques. Each one costs around €570 and is used only three times. After the third use, the barriques stop influencing the aging of the wine.
Alcohol fermentation and maceration take place for about 30 days.
The malolactic fermentation takes place into the tanks, and partially into some new barrels.
Enira Reserva ages on sediment for 16 months, 35% in new barrels and 65% one-year old barrels.
About 80% of the production is for export. The largest markets for the wine from the Valley are Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, USA, and Russia, and since recently – China, Japan and Hong Kong.