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Northwest Bulgaria and Gamza

Gamza or Kadarka is a wine grape variety grown in Bulgaria since ancient times. Plantations with Gumza in Bulgaria are mainly in the Danube plain.

Legends of Gamzata 

Many myths and legends are found in the north-west (what we call north-saved) as to where the variety originated. 

The inhabitants of Novo selo believe that this variety comes from their lands. According to the legend, several crusaders, on their way back from Jerusalem to their homes, decided to settle in Vidinsko and right there they planted this wonderful Gamza vine, which was brought from the south. 

According to another legend, the wine of the Gamza variety was already consumed at the time when the sons of Khan Kubrat came from Volga Bulgaria. It was believed to bestow magical power and help in battles. Excessive consumption, however, leads to domestic quarrels and drunkenness, as a result of which, a local – wealthy boyar, ordered to eradicate all plantations in this region, with this vine. He was famous for having an unusual guard – a lion that roamed freely at night and defended the palace. As a result, soldiers of the night watch were often found dead at dawn. Only one not only survived, but also fought off the lion. In response to a question to him, what his bravery and courage were due to, he explained the wine from Gamza, whose vine his family kept on their estate. Thus, the boyar canceled the ban and Gamzata began to be grown en masse, and he named her after his daughter – Gamza, in ancient Arabic: capricious.

The gamza these days

In today’s times, it seems that the chance to establish Gamzata as a flagship in our country, as the Hungarians are doing, is being missed. Gamzata is a regional variety, it is found both in our country and in the border areas in Romania, Serbia and in Hungary (under the name: “Kadarka”), Austria, Slovakia.

In the foreground in our country, the emphasis is on mavruda, crosses with a wide mill vine, even crosses like ruby are much more imposed and familiar.

We can divide the reasons into two main parts:

The first is in the plantations with Gamza and rather their absence. There is no science in this direction, it is very difficult to find planting material and the main reason for this is – the search. At the same time, consultants and pipinieri from Italy and France do not offer it, which is logical.

After 1989 very few vineyards were planted with Gamza, in general the projects with new vineyards in northern and in particular northwestern Bulgaria are much less than in the south and along the Struma river valley. Many of the old massifs are abandoned and there are few farmers who have taken care of their vineyards all the time, and the reasons for this are clear to everyone.

You can now buy Bulgarian wines from varieties such as Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Malbec and others, which speaks for itself.

The second main reason is in trade and supply.

Immediately after the transition, Gamzata was perceived as a synonym for cheap, table wine, and all good restaurants gradually removed it from their lists. Wines of “western” varieties, as well as imported wines, are quickly becoming fashionable. In this period, Gamza sounds “Provincial”.

There are hopes and predictions that the humpback will return to the scene, first in two years, then in another two years, but it never happens by itself. And so the moment comes when we take it as a personal cause, as year after year, things gradually start to happen. Currently, you can find Gamza in many of the wine lists of good restaurants in Sofia and in the country, as well as on the shelves of specialized stores, and more and more people are looking for it. It is true that they are mostly connoisseurs and people who drink wine and are interested in it.

Abroad, traders are massively looking for local and typical varieties, they have had enough of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah and other red varieties and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc from the whites. Everyone is looking for something different, something typical of the given country, and if the wine bears the character of the region, things happen quickly because those in this profession quickly recognize terroir wines.

Novoselska gamza

The Novoselska Gamza variety is the original and original Gamza, which is believed to have been planted in the Novo Selo area as far back as 1711. And while the Gamza variety grown in central northern Bulgaria has been relatively modified by wine and viticulture specialists, such as from denser wines are produced, the Novoselska Gamza variety is distinguished by far greater elegance.

The clusters of the Borovitsa winery from the Great Terroirs series are vinified from old vines – 45/60 years old, and those from the Borovitsa series from vines in their strength -16/20 years old.

Here you can see all the wines of the Borovitsa winery of the Gamza variety:

Gamza, Borovitsa Collection

Gamza (Grani), Great Terroirs

Gamza (Black pack), Great Terroirs

Gamza Rose, Work etiquette