Edoardo Miroglio, an Italian textile magnate,first came to Thrace in southeast Bulgaria to sell fabrics and set up his own textile and wool factory in Sliven. As his family originated from Alba in Piedmont, where they own Cantina Tenuta Carretta with vineyards in Cannubi in Barolo as well as Malgra winery in nearby Asti, it seemed natural that he would also explore the local Bulgarian wines. “I was really inspired by the Thracian tradition, wine was considered a divine drink and ancient recipes have been handed down the generations”, says Miroglio.
Miroglio saw potential in the Thracian Lowland’s terroir and climate with its diurnal temperatures, cooling winds from the mountains in the north and warm dry summers suitable for organic viticulture. After a two year search for the ideal site, he planted 220 hectares in 1999 on Saint Ilia hill at the far end of the Thracian valley above the village of Elenovo, south of his factory in Sliven in southern Bulgaria. His first vintage in 2005 in his new state-of-the-art winery with all the latest Italian technology was overseen by Italian consultant Marco Monchiero. Even at this stage they saw potential for Pinot Noir for both still and sparkling. “Bulgaria has no history of quality sparkling wines, but with Monchiero’s experience in fizz, we decided to break with tradition and make quality sparkling using the Champagne method”, says Miroglio.
He also focused on organic wines. His current vigneron, Alberto La Rosa who used to work in Barolo for Luciano Sandrone, has converted Miroglio’s vineyards to organic certification and launched three new organic wines. This year they will launch their first organic sparkling EM Bio Traminer. Like many Bulgarian wineries today Miroglio specialises in international varietals Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. But he is now turning his attention to indigenous grapes: Melnik 55, Mavrud, Rubin and Bouquet some of which have been planted in Thrace for 5000 years. As of 2013, Edoardo Miroglio winery obtained certification for organic vineyards (Bouquet, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Mavrud and Rubin) and started producing 3 new organic wines. – thanks to Rose Murray Brown MW