Peter Kirilov, a native of Bulgaria, honors his heritage with the newly launched Kukeri Wines Cabernet, named after a traditional Bulgarian ritual to scare away evil spirits. What better way to get in better spirits than with a glass of fine wine?
Kirilov, who is based out of Sebastopol, sourced the grapes for his 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Veeder, which slopes steeply from the ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains that separates Sonoma from Napa. The clay and volcanic soils that are characteristic of this area produce small, intense fruit. Like the label, the wine is robust, colorful and tasteful. A rich, ruby red color, the wine is remarkably smooth and balanced considering its relatively young age. The tannins are robust but not overpowering and the finish is long and inviting. It’s very drinkable now but is expected to mature nicely over the next 20 years when it will develop more structure. After fermenting for two weeks it aged in French barrels (50% new oak) for 36 months.
Though Kirilov has just recently launched Kukeri he’s no stranger to wine making or the wine industry. He’s a full time wine-maker for two other wineries and founded VinoEnology.com, an industry website that offers wine-making solutions for vintners, including calculators, tools and marketplace. The landing page of the website is clean and uncluttered but packed with information including news, a jobs board, classifieds and all kinds of calculators and conversion tools.
The Kukeri ritual that inspired the label is traditionally performed by costumed men wearing sheep or goat pelts and large wooden masks representing fearsome animals. Sometimes the costumes and dance can get downright racy as symbolic romantic acts are interpreted to usher in the metaphorical events of spring such as seeding. The ancient ritual dates back 8,000 years to Dionysus, the god associated with grape harvest, wine and ritual madness. That’s quite a history for a bottle of wine to carry.
Kirilov’s first offering under his own label is a tantalizing teaser, bringing together his winemaking skills with choice grapes and a twist of Bulgarian whimsy.
2010 Cabernet Sauvingon
Mount Veeder, Napa Valley