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What came first - Elvis or the Egg?

If I were to ask you, dear reader, to describe an idyllic location for a winery, I’m sure you would wax lyrically about sun kissed, south facing slopes, shiny new buildings containing the latest in vino-tech with perhaps a 5-star Euro-funded hotel and spa perched precariously on top of its sprawling underground caverns. 


But some brave souls dare to let their wines rather than their wineries do the talking. That’s why we find ourselves dodging death in the goods yard of a cement works staring at a drab, windowless hut seemingly just waiting for demolition probably by the next cement mixer cocking up it’s turning circle.


This winery - for this is indeed what this is - is like visiting Comicon dressed as a Klingon but insisting on wearing a light grey onesie the whole time - you somehow fit in, but you have so much more to give.                                                                                                                 

Photo by Maria Gray

Edi and his hairstyle

With equal measures of assuredness and humility, Edi summed his winery up in a few words “nothing much out of the ordinary here” - pointing randomly around the room like a tour guide on his 39th visit to that shop selling fridge magnets in VT.

“Nothing much but this?”, I said pointing to something almost hidden from view by hoses and buckets.

The door opened and out stepped a cool dude. Some people just exude equanimity (Google it!) and Edi, co-founder of the winery, has it in bucket loads.

As we warmly shook hands, I couldn’t help but marvel at how cool you need to be to pull off an Elvis hairstyle in 2018. But he does.

“Welcome to Rossidi”, he said and ushered us in.

Immediately I tripped over someone slumped over the tiniest bucket of grapes. 

He was methodically, some might say tediously, crushing them between his hands. Is this the way they do it here? I was just about to comment that this is indeed one of THE MOST boutique wineries in existence when Edi helpfully explained they were merely sampling sugar levels and led me to the winery proper.

The tripping hazard

Photo by Maria Gray

The Eggsperiment

Photo by Maria Gray

“Ahh the egg”, he said, as if it was as common as the German beach towels staking their place on the loungers at Sunny Beach.


Indeed, it looked like an egg, if the chicken had been a stunt double on Jurassic Park, or Miley Cyrus had been swinging around on it trying to wreck another one of her relationships. 


Edi explained that the egg- or more properly the vertical ovoid tank- was shipped in from France. Only 3 are in Bulgaria (we found the other 2 but more of that another time) and he uses it solely for Chardonnay.

 

Seemingly, when confronted with a bottle of “Egg Fermented Chardonnay”, I was not the first lamebrain to imagine him opening up his tank and cracking some eggs in, giving it a good whisk around for good measure.  Wine experts would be swilling it around their glass, swooning at each other “Ohh I’m getting a touch of frittata on the nose.”


But that would be stupid - and I’d been told!

 

 

So why use the egg?


Well for one it’s cool, both literally and thermodynamically.

 

For another there is a sort of natural circulation of the wine and lees that creates something very different to fermenting the same grapes in steel or oak.

 

Some say it creates a better mouthfeel - hopefully I will find out.

Edi led us through an impressive door into the tasting area nestled amid many barrels which, like us, were aging quietly.

I commented on the exquisite labels on the bottles presented before us. “Thank you”, he said, before explaining he used to be a graphic artist and that he designs the labels himself. Kind of the Lenny Kravitz of the wine world.

Designer labels

Photo by Maria Gray

So what about the wines? Well they were all wonderfully crafted. The egg is just a perfect summing up of these winemakers. Experimental and artistic in all that they do. And a bit like the winery their work holds surprises in every corner.


If someone was to put a metaphorical gun to my head and force me to choose some favourites I would suggest three outstanding examples of their art.


Firstly, the orange wine- perhaps Bulgaria’s first true orange wine - made from Gewurztraminer and playfully served in clay bottles, perfect for that Sunny Beach lounger. Second, the Chardonnay from the concrete egg, as promised one of the most sublime mouthfeels I have ever experienced in a Chardonnay, and finally the bold Syrah - a berry-fest of a wine, so honest you could leave it with your infirm elderly aunt on pension day.


All in all, if you want wines that make you think, and perhaps dare I say in this smartphone world, start a conversation, then any wines with the Rossidi label should be one of your starting points.


And with that, our visit was over. Elvis had left the building.

© 2018 VinoZona / Tom & Maria Gray