This lineup from Targovishte, and its sister winery, Vini, some drinking values that consumers should find attractive as it is hard to play in this price category these days. As a bonus, they are generally relatively low in alcohol, usually around 12%. What don’t they do? First, I think all of them will tend to drink best on the young and fresh side, however long they hold, which is not a major criticism in this price range. Second, they do sometimes have some typicity issues—that is, they do not always remind me much of the most common styles for which the grapes are best known. Once past that, though, they hold up quite nicely as wines.
Vintage Wine Name Rating Maturity Price
2009 Targovishte Sauvignon Blanc 86 Mature $9
The 2009 SAUVIGNON BLANC from Targovishte has more intensity and solidity than its sister Sauv Blanc reviewed this issue from Vini,but, while hardly reticent, is not quite as aromatic and exuberant, not quite as obvious. Laced with lemons and evolving quite nicely as it warms, this bottle has a crisp and flavorful finish. They are both pretty nice deals, but I would give this the nod, although Sauv Blanc fanatics might well prefer the grassier Vini. This Targovishte bottling should hold a little better, too, though, and make no mistake—as it warms up, it is clearly Sauvignon Blanc. Drink now-2012.
2009 Targovishte Chardonnay 85 Mature $9
The 2009 CHARDONNAY back label announces that this is a crisper, leaner style of Chardonnay, and while that is a mostly accurate description,it has a certain subtle richness with nice texture on the finish, while remaining crisp and focused, with a considerable hit of acidity. It does round nicely into form, proving that it has tasty and lingering fruit, not just acidity, as it warms up. It is a nice value for early consumption. However long it holds, it will be at its best on the younger side. Drink now-2012.
2009 Targovishte Muscat Ottonel 85 Mature $9
The 2009 MUSCAT OTTONEL is charming, fruity and fragrant, flavorful and sunny, with hints of mint. The exuberance and eccentricities of this bottling and grape will not to be everyone’s liking, but this is a distinctive bottling that will make its fans quite happy at a very modest price point. It should make an invigorating warm weather sipper, too. Drink now-2012.
2009 Targovishte Riesling 84 Mature $9
The 2009 RIESLING is a bit unusual for Riesling, with a grassy note that originally made me wonder if I’d confused it with one of the Sauvignon Blancs reviewed this issue from Bulgaria. As with the Traminer, it showed a bit more typically as it warmed up, but it always had that herbaceous touch. That said, and in its own right, it is solidly constructed, with good acidity, invigorating aromatics and a respectable finish in its price range. It does provide some fun for the price. Drink now-2012.
2009 Targovishte Traminer 85 Mature $10
The 2009 TRAMINER, like the Riesling in this lineup, will not always remind people of what it is supposed to be. Initially, it seems wholly dominated by its acidity—not something one says often with this grape. As it warms up, it shows more and more typically, though, and you can then enjoy the acidity delivering flavor to the palate and gripping it. It is quite crisp for the grape, a wine that offers some value. It will show best on the youngest side. Drink now-2012.
The 2009 SAUVIGNON BLANC is proudly Sauvignon Blanc—for all that implies for enthusiasts, who often revel in the grassiness and herbaceousness this grape can show. There is not a lot of depth here, but it is open, fresh and exuberant, a charming warm weather wine at a very nice price. Drink it as young and fresh as possible for best results, as this is the type of wine that may decline rather quickly, however long it holds. Drink now-2011.
2008 Vini Cabernet Sauvignon 83 Mature $8
The 2008 CABERNET SAUVIGNON, like its Merlot sibling, has evolved and opened since I last saw it, but it still impresses me as a wine with more structure than fruit, being rather powerful but a bit hollow in the mid-palate. It seems bright and tannic, a bit rustic and a little charmless. The mid-palate concentration and finish are not there to provide balance for the power and make this a complete wine. That said, it has earthy flavors and a “real wine” feel, pointed and focused, which in its very low price range makes it worth a look. Drink now-2012.
2008 Vini Merlot 83 Mature $8
The 2008 MERLOT has changed significantly since I first saw it, at a time when the producer says it was in a very awkward stage. Although it still has limitations, it is more attractive now in light of its modest price point, a bit more evolved, laced with a lush touch on the texture, and an herbal nuance on the finish. Its structure pops up with air, and it does still have quite a bit of tannin—probably more than its modest mid-palate can absorb, as it is lacking in mid-palate concentration. It does flatten out significantly with a bit with more aeration, becoming a bit lean and mean. In its price range, where it is hard to find a lot of reds that taste like real wine, this is a pretty decent deal, though, as it is at least a wine that tries to achieve something with structure rather than trying to become a cloying fruit bomb. Although there are no signs of decay, there are those tannins, and the lack of mid-palate concentration would still make me want to drink this sooner rather than later, when it still has some fruit. If not quite as intense as its sibling, the Cabernet also reviewed this issue, it is probably a bit better balanced. Drink now—2012.