Tzveta’s and Katia’s compilation breaks ground for those interested in Bulgarian wines, wherever they live and whether or not they read Cyrillic. These two pioneers have, in one very concise book, compiled an impressive quantity of data quali- fied by smart opinions coupled with practical wine tips.

Before I get to the heart of the matter, their advice at the introduction of the book cannot be missed, even for the cynical wine lover who has already experienced...enough. Frankly, I’ve never see in any book - no matter how ambitious, pretentious, or laid-back - discuss how to choose wine glasses not to break your heart (when they actually break) and how to wash those that will, along with a hearty dose of other important tips. A fine one is how stemmed glasses can tip in the wind on a picnic outside...the suggestion being to get over your fingerprints on a stemless glass. I appreciated, and had never considered, the suggestion that the price of the bottle should be a baseline indicator for the price of the glass in which it is served.

This, of course, is not the most critical component of the book. The crucial elements are the inspirations of the tasters who offer comprehensive guidance, who are in turn working through the inspirations and dreams of those who work the land and craft the wine.

For those less - or entirely - unfamiliar with Bulgarian wines, a smart guide to labelling terms is provided. Frankly, and impressively, those labelling terms are much more helpful to the consumer than those in many other European countries.

And, by the way, I mentioned one does not need to read Cyrillic to appreciate this book. One half is in Cyrillic; the other portion, flipped over, is in English. But, it is more than English. The English version is clear, succinct and accessible in terminology and explanations. Frankly, with regard to these aspects, more than a few native English speakers should strive to achieve as much.

5 April 2013
Christy Canterbury MW