Gamza Grape

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The Gamza grape variety is also known as Cherna Gidza or Vidin in Bulgaria, Skadarka, Mekish or Chetereshka in Macedonia and Kadarka in Hungary and Romania. It is a traditional Bulgarian wine grape classified in the Black Sea cultivar group: Proles pontica. Airy hills with rich soils and suitable exposure are preferable for Gamza cultivation. This vine is very productive, especially in years with long, dry autumns that produce the highest quality grapes. Southern and southeastern slopes are ideal for Gamza vineyards. The ripening period is in late September. It is mainly found in northwestern, and to a lesser extent in northeastern Bulgaria, and in small quantities in parts of Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Germany. An exceptional ecotype called “raven eye” (garvanovo oko) is found in the areas of Novo Selo and Florentin in northern Bulgaria.   Grape bunches are large, semi-compact, cylindrical-conical in shape, and generally one-sided. The grapes are round in shape and medium-large (15-16 mm) in size. The thin skin is tender and dark blue to bluish-black when ripe. They are susceptible to Botrytis cinerea, which can damage whole harvest in very damp autumns. The variety prefers colder climates but is not frost-resistant. Gamza is an old Bulgarian variety that used to be the main grape crop in the Danube valley for centuries. The name Gamza is attributed to one of the daughters (Gamza, Kula and Vida) of medieval landlord from northwestern Bulgaria who left them his lands and the traditions of wine making. The word could be also related to a Turkic word, gamza, meaning dimple.   Gamza wines are medium-bodied red wines with a ruby color. Their aroma is berry-like, resembling strawberry or raspberry. The wine matures relatively quickly, in about a year, but can be consumed as a young wine as well. When bunches are not fully ripened, the presence of green berries can diminish the wine quality completely. Gamza wine pairs well with vegetables and dishes with peppers, tomato and eggplant, many cheeses and light meats. Several cellars are producing Gamza wines and sustaining this grape’s cultivation in northwest Bulgaria, but in comparison to other varieties, Gamza vineyards are relatively few. Gamza growing has been considerably reduced in the last decades due to its complicated cultivation: its late ripening, preference to a specific micro-climate, susceptibility to frost damage, and very tender berries susceptible to Botrytis. 

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Wines and grape varietals

Nominated by:Veselina Marinova Marinova