The red grape variety comes from Bulgaria, Synonyms are Chiroka Melnichka, Melnik, Shiroka Melnichka Losa, Shiroka Melnichka Loza, Siroka Melniska and Tajke e Zeze. The name means "the broadleaf vine of Melnik"; Melnik is the smallest Bulgarian town on the southern edge of the Pirin Mountains on the border with only a few hundred inhabitants Greece and known for its sandstone pyramids. Here the variety has been cultivated for centuries. After a no longer verifiable but unlikely hypothesis, it was allegedly already 2,000 BC. Imported from Asia and from the Thracians used for wine production. The exact parentage is unknown. The variety was crossing partner in the new breeds Melnik 82. Melnik Yubileen. Melnishki ruby. Ranna Melnishka Loza (with which she is often confused) and Ruen,
The very late-ripening, high-yielding vine is sensitive to frost, prone to both mildews and relatively resistant to Botrytis, She has very small berries with thick, dark blue shells. These yield extra-rich, acid and tannin-stressed red wines tobacco flavor and aging potential. According to popular opinion, the strong alcoholic wine attests such consistency that "you can carry it home in a handkerchief" . The variety is grown mainly in the southwest of the country in the Strumatal. The acreage in 2010 was 1,580 hectares with a strong decline (in 2000 it was 3,804 hectares).
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Bruehl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)