Eastern European Wines
Where does one start with Eastern Europe. Perhaps Bulgaria is the best place - because it is symptomatic of the malaise that has hit this relatively large, disjointed wine-producing collective of Eastern Europe.
It used to be a fantastic source of great-value, easy-drinking wines, particularly the reds. Lovely ripe fruit flavours, a little bit of body, not a lot of money. More or less the perfect combination for the consumer. So how did they manage to screw it up? Well, in a nutshell, capitalism. When the Soviet bloc fell in 1989, it may have meant the ultimate creation of a belt of billionaires across the former Soviet Union's various states, but it meant disaster for the likes of Bulgaria.The wine industry may have been run by the state monopoly, but it was fairly efficient in distribution terms and had some key markets, one of which was Russia.That imploded with the fall of the Soviet bloc, and the hiatus between the loss of major export markets and private investment arriving on the scene meant poor investment in vineyards and lack of direction.The results were that the wine got worse, and getting hold of it became difficult. Disaster ensued. And the story isn't that much different for Romania and Hungary, the other two big hitters in the region. So, if you ever wondered what happened to that lovely little Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon you used to knock back a decade ago, now you know.