Melnik and Melnik wine

26.03.2003 00:00:00

Ancient Bulgarians related the name of MELON to the Slavonic word "mel" (white clay, chalk). The town attracts lots of Bulgarian and foreign tourists with its pyramids shining, golden-yellow, whimsical, shaped on the background of magnificent Pirin mountain. 380 m. over the sea level, MELNlK is rich in cultural monuments - pledge and tombstones, architectural details, coins, etc. During the Traction- epoch here existed a village of the Thracian tribe "mcdi" which gave the world the great leader of the Roman- slaves Spariacus. MELNlK is an old wine center Melnik wine was highly appreciated at the market of Thessalonica. The town has been popular as a wine-growing region since l346. The famous Melnik vine had been brought here from Syria in ancient times. During the first half of XIII century MFLNIK passed through a great political, economic and cultural upsurge, when despot Slav, a descendent of Assen dynasty ruler of the Rhodopes and Pirin mountain during 1209 turned the town into a capital of an independent feudal principality. Building developed to a great extent. Most of the house-building ruins are of that time. According to archaeological investigations data, residential quarters existed not only at the hill of St. Nicholas - the main center of mediaeval MFLNIK, but also at its foot in the North. Much representative was the Boyars House whose ruins may be observed at Chatala height in the Eastern part of the town

The climate of Melnik is favourable for medical treatment of chronic pulmonary, kidney and rheumatic disorders

In the Southmost part of Bulgaria - the region of MELNIK, summer comes just in the end of April and does away in October. The round shaped ridges of the mountains in the mind winds and the White Sea climate blown over the valley of Struma river have helped the vine-grower during the ages to cultivate the specific local sort "Wide Melnik Vine". It can grow only here and if carried to another place, it withers and fades away. Melnik wine received through the tradesmen from Dubrovnik (they had a special diploma from Ivan Assen II awarded for privileges all over Bulgarian lands) conquered yet in 13 century the dining tables of the aristocracy from Venice, Genua, Marseille, Barcelona, Paris, Liverpool. For its saturated ruby color, delicate fragrance and sweet astringency, the horse, mule and donkey caravans loaded with goat wine-skins full of wine, traveled days on end along the steep and narrow mountain paths, called even nowadays "wine paths", in order to reach Dubrovnik to the West, Salonika to the Sough, Danube river and Vienna to the North until they found its real connoisseurs. The caravan started on their way with splendrous and solemnity so that their travel marked the everyday life in all surrounding villages. They kept a watch on heavy-armed strong man because Melnik wine was appreciated just as silk, porcelain and Indian spices at the market of Venice.

Set in the sort of Meknik wine are its biological qualities for aging and maturing; thus - the older, the better. It suits strong men, raging passions, eternal feelings. Its taste and fragrance cannot be forgot or replaced by anything else which reminds of it.

The hill in this region turn hot from the scorching sun so fast, that the fermentation quickly starts and vigorously does on. That is way for ages on end the people here invented a way to preserve the cold and to retard the processes in wine formation. Thus were "born" the stony lyns (prolonged vessels for carrying and smashing of the grapes, carved out from a whole trunk of a tree, with a chute at one end, for the flowing down of grapes juice. A device, unchanged for ages) Their inside surface was coated with a special mixture of clay, mortar and olive oil. At that time appeared the first barrels for the preservation ion of the wine hollowed out of single stony blocks.

Another peculiarity of Melnik wine is the deep and cool tunnels dug out in the hills which put into final touch its aging and maturing with their constant low temperatures.

The glory and the sweetness of Melnik wine haven't remained only in the past. Nowadays it is produced according to all requirements of the modern technology and has its connoisseurs in many European countries but most of all in Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and England



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