Misket Cherven Grape

Wines and grape varietals - Bulgaria

This grape variety’s name translates to “Muscat red,” but it is also known as Romanstina in the district of Veliko Tarnovo and Sinya Temenuga  in the district of Vratsa. In Serbia it is called Turska Rudzjica. Misket cherven is a Bulgarian local red grape variety, used for production of white wines. The variety is indigenous and belongs to the Black sea eco-geographical region species (Proles pontica Negr.). Misket cherven cultivation dates from pre-historic times, and a lack of similar varieties and synonyms in the Balkans (except the Serbian Turska rudzjica) verifies its local origin.   The grapevine leaves are large and very bright. Young shoots are hazel-colored, and spread sideways. Grape bunches are big, cylindrical-conical in shape and semi-dense to dense. The berries are juicy, waxy and pinkish-red in color, sprayed with distinctive dark purple dots. The flavor is typical of fine Muscat. The variety is very fruitfull, which sometimes lowers the quality of the grapes so shoot growth and bunch number should be reduced so as to maintain the wine’s typical flavor. Misket cherven is a late wine variety, best grown on alluvial soils in the sub-Balkan valleys and towns Karlovo, Sopot and Kazanlak, and on light sandy-clay soils around the town of Sungurlare. Plants are cold resistant (to -18°), but vulnerable to powdery mildew and blight. Misket cherven wines are mainly dry, enjoyable, and mellow, with a light structure. Specific accents are of tea, flowers, pears, with some slightly bitter notes of orange flowers and apricot pits. The Misket wines are light, fresh and fine. Their classical color is of light hay with touch of a rose shades.   By the mid-2010s, several small wine cellars were producing limited quantities of Misket wines based on local varieties. These wines could be found in specially stores and restaurants. Specific production of white wines from this red grape variety limits Misket cherven cultivation on a larger scale. Obtaining a lighter wine color requires pomace to be separated quickly after pressing, which lowers the flavor. Low natural acidity and fast phenol oxidation makes industrial production complicated, and even unwanted for winemakers and growers. Hence local grape varieties like Misket cherven are in decline compared to “easier” grape varieties for economic reasons.