Ivo Varbanov is a classical concert pianist, living in London, who decided to cultivate a vineyard in his native country. After a long search he chose an area in the South Sakar, near the village of Izvorovo. In 2005, he purchased 13 ha of land, and from 2006 he started planting. Ivo Varbanov’s goal is to produce wines, which reflect the terroir of the area, which he considers to be one of the best regions on the Balkans. The winemaking is done at Bratanov Winery. Since 2012 Stancho Bangiev manages the vineyards. Using organic agricultural practices, the vineyards naturally have small yields. In 2020 and 2022 he replants a plot heavily damaged by a bushfire 2013 and the rest of his property with Marselan, Chardonnay, Syrah (and few suprises). At present Ivo Varbanov produces between 25000 and 30000 bottles depending on the vintage. His wines are exported and distributed in the UK, Belgium, Nederland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Finland, Montenegro, South Korea, Singapore, and the USA, being the main clients either Michelin starred restaurants or wine conoisseurs places. He is a founding member of the Bulgarian Association of Independent Winegrowers, vice-president of the European Confederation of Independent Winegrowers, and since 2017 the first Bulgarian member of the Académie International du Vin.
Along his wines Ivo has set-up a UK based import business of wines from his native Bulgaria and also from Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Greece, and Hungary. The main focus of the selection is to identify the uniqueness of each wine and have a strong personal connection with the vision of the producers. Generally the wines imported come from small, often family run wineries that practice sustainable viticulture and make terroir driven wines.
Testimonial from Steven Spurrier
"The wines that Ivo Varbanov has been producing in Bulgaria, almost single-handedly reminding us of his country’s 3,000-year viticultural history, are indeed of noble intent. Tasting them over the years from the first vintage in 2008, what were fledglings of the imagination (desire) have become through knowledge and dedication recognised examples of fine wine.
Hugh Johnson defines ‘fine wine’ simply as ‘a wine worth talking about’. Ivo Varbanov’s personal story (see Jancis Robinson) is certainly worth talking about. His prowess as a concert pianist, along with that of Fiammetta, his wife, is undoubted. I have several of the Varbanov CDs and a particular favourite is Ivo’s Sonata Op. 1 by Johannes Brahms. On the inside cover is a quote from Schumann after listening to the work in 1853: ‘One could compare him with a mighty river which, like Niagara, displays itself at its most beautiful when tumbling from the heights in a waterfall, sending up a rainbow from the waves, surrounded by butterflies at play and accompanied by the voices of nightingales.’
If you listen carefully to the wines created by Ivo Varbanov, they will take you to a place of art and culture that transcends their simple Bulgarian origin. – Steven Spurrier.
Ivo Varbanov Wines Catalogue
The flagship wine from Ivo Varbanov. Always consistent and delivering on quality without standardising the vintages. Each wine has a very clear personality reflecting the philosophy of the producer in the highest respect of terroir and nature. Long ageing (generally 4 years) in various types of oak barrels, majority second and third passage. One year in bottle before release.
A 100% viognier with 20% of the wine going into oak ageing. Minimal intervention in the cellar with a clear focus on the varietal's characteristics. A successful wine in the high-end gastronomy, served in several Michelin starred restaurants by the glass. Only the third vintage for this wine.
An organic wine, blend of 75% mavrud and 25% cabernet sauvignon. A fine example of modern winemaking in Bulgaria where oak is not intrusive but supports the character of these two emblematic varietals for Bulgaria
A blend of 78% chardonnay and 22% viognier. No oak for this wine. A very careful blend of the two varietals in order to express the elegance of the terroir.
This is one of the finest examples of Rubin in Bulgaria. As always Rossidi focuses his attention to the drinkability of the wine with a subtle elegance which sometimes is not typical of Bulgarian wines. Rubin is a successful crossing between Syrah and Nebbiolo and was created in 1944 at the Pleven Institute of Viticulture and Oenology. It is planted mainly in the Plovdiv area and in other parts of the Thracian Lowlands (Sakar and Struma Valley) and the Danube Plain (mainly around its birthplace Pleven). As the name suggests, wines from Rubin have a deep ruby colour and typical aroma of berries, spices, and herbs. This wine can be consumed young and in the right terroir Rubin could produce wines worth of ageing.
Made with grapes coming from the vineyards in Treiso and Alba. Ageing in stainless steel with no oak interaction. Suggested pairing with Italian cuisine but surprisingly suitable to international cuisine.
Roero Arneis d.o.c.g is made from Arneis grapes, a white, indigenous grape variety, that has existed in the area since 15th century. The Cornarea winery was the first one to invest in the effort of saving this species of vine that, at the beginning of the 70s, had almost disappeared. Its disappearance was due to the difficulty of producing Arneis wine without adequate technologies, in fact in Piedmontese the word Arneis means naughty boy. Nowadays Roero Arneis represents the strength and the deliverance of the wine-producing Roero area. It is an extremely versatile wine: a perfect aperitif, it perfectly matches cold and warm entrées, tasty first dishes such as risotto with asparaguses saffron or parmesan cheese, pasta with pesto or with mushrooms. It also suits cheeses, especially the medium seasoned ones, such as Robiola di Roccaverano. It is also excellent with white meats and fish: sea truffles and oysters, risotto with crayfish, while sushi and sashimi enhance its harmonic, elegant and refined taste.
100% Nebbiolo grapes, Roero Cornarea is obtained through a careful selection in the vineyard. It ages for 18 months in large barrels and it continues the ageing for at least 6 months in the bottles. The Nebbiolo grapes from which the Roero Cornarea is produced are cultivated in the historic Cornarea cru, belonging to the estate and located in Canale d’Alba. This town is the wine producing capital of Roero. The Roero wine is a wine that combines a rich structure with moderate and elegant tannins. It got the DOCG denomination (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) in 2005, thus becoming the third Nebbiolo DOCG in the Langa-Roero area, together with Barolo and Barbaresco. This wine works very well with red meats and matches wonderfully roasted duck, piedmontese bollito and well-aged cheeses.
a 96% blend of vermentino with 4% albarola Villa Linda is an authentic expression of elegance, persistence and finesse. The wine has a classic straw- yellow color and the nose presents charming notes of white peach and pineapple, accompanied by the Ginestraflowerscentandherbalhintsofhay,reminiscentoftheMediterraneanscrubvegetation.Aperfectly harmonized sensational taste. This Vermentino comes from our oldest terraced vineyards towards the Val di Magra coast, surrounding the historical Villa of Linda. This landmark site, very dear to our grandfather Rino, has been nurtured by three generations of the Angelini Family.
Have you tried granaccia from Liguria? You should! BIOVIO is the very first certified organic producer in Liguria. Very few examples available – not just in the UK but also in Italy and locally in Liguria. A hidden gem. Purity of taste is the trademark of this wine. Red fruits on the nose with some spicy notes. Velvety palate.