Wine-scented experience at Uva Nestum Wine & SPA
We continue taking you to new wine destinations. We are on our way to explore the valley of the Mesta River.
In its definition the term “destination” means “direction, place or direction” but in recent years it is increasingly associated with a desired tourist experience, be it cultural-historical, adventurous, wine-culinary or others.
Whether a particular place in a given region can be referred to as a destination is a debatable topic but when such a place covers more aspects of an “experience” and is a good representative of the region, then the answer certainly is yes!
Our next wine destination is an area that is rarely defined as a wine region in its own right, although the climate and terroir characteristics could define it as such. The reason for its lack of distinction from the Struma River Valley is that there is only one winery in this area but it is an excellent representative of viticulture and winemaking in the area. It manages to weave this livelihood into a set of experiences in a professional and engaging way, proving that wine has a place in every journey and trip.
Uva Nestum Wine & SPA is located right on the edge of the city of Gotse Delchev. We don’t often associate cities with wine tourism although the lack of a city close to many wine destinations in Bulgaria proves to be a challenge, both for tourists and cellar owners. It is amazing how the Bilarevi family managed to create a small oasis within the city surrounded by greenery, its own park and an array of services that make you forget that you are in an urbanised area. The surrounding mountains create the feeling that you are in a remote mountain resort while still benefiting from the positives and security of the nearby city.
VINEYARDS TUCKED IN BETWEEN 4 MOUNTAINS
Above all, Uva Nestum is a terroir wine and the very name of the complex speaks about it – “uva” means grapes, and “Nestum” is the old name of the Mesta river. So what are Mesta grapes?
Tucked beneath 4 mountains – Pirin, Rhodopi, Slavyanka and Bozdag, the Gotsedelchev valley is characterised by its high altitude of 500 m which causes lower temperatures and greater temperature amplitudes. Even during the summer, the evenings and mornings here are cool and in July the average monthly temperature is 21.6 ° С. The climate is continental – Mediterranean and the vegetation period of the vines is about 200 days. The annual temperature total is from 3300 to 3700 degrees, suitable for mid-ripening and some late-ripening varieties.
All this allows for a more even ripening, the accumulation of anthocyanins and aromatic substances and the later ripening of the grapes, sometimes by up to two weeks, compared to the nearest wine region – Melnik. Vines here also experience stress but while in the warmer regions it is provoked by the extremely high temperatures, here the temperature inversions sometimes cause longer cooling and freezing of the vines – a real challenge for winegrowers.
All these features determine the varietal composition, which the owners of Uva Nestum Wine & SPA – the Bilarevi family, chose to plant in 2005 in their vineyards, in the immediate vicinity of the complex. These 25 decares are home to the red varieties Syrah, Rubin, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well as the white varieties Tamyanka and Muscat Ottonel. The chief agronomist is Atanas Bilarev.
Every tourist is welcome to explore the complex, starting from the place where the grapes are born all the way to the place where the wine is made. Part of the tour is their own farm where they grow the food products, which they can find transformed into excellent dishes later in the restaurant.
THE EXCLUSIVITY OF THE LIMITED SERIES
The winery was established in 2009 and up until 2019 they only produced extremely limited series of rosé and red blended wines. The women’s technological team’s constant pursuit of experiments to prove the pure varietal nature of the wines and the distinct terroir specifics of the Mesta River Valley led to the appearance of red single varietal wines in 2019 and white ones in 2020. The limited production of 300 to 860 bottles of wine can often only be tasted in their restaurant or during wine tastings in their tasting room, making the adventure all that more exclusive.
The women’s team of technologists – Megi Bilareva and Dimka Medareva, keep proving the potential of the region with their wines but it is Dimka who makes the complex’s visitors experience the emotion and professionalism they put into their work. When chatting to her she shares with deep emotion: “I feel very good here. Everything passes through your hands – from the grapes to the label on the bottle and everything becomes very dear to you”.
She presents every single wine to tourists with that same energy – from the technology behind its creation to the aromas and taste characteristics that they can feel during a tasting or at a wine dinner in the restaurant. In their wine list, we find fresh white wines from Tamyanka, Chardonnay and Aligote, fruity reds such as “Shirto” and full-bodied wines aged in oak barrels such as Rubin Reserva and Cabernet Franc Uva Nestum.
WINE AND FOOD AS A JOURNEY
The purity of natural products is the culinary concept of the Uva Nestum restaurant. Separated by just a few metres from the main hotel building, so as not to disturb the rest of the guests, the culinary team strives to achieve perfection in the balance of the authentic taste relying on its own farm and local producers. Their dishes are inspired from both international cuisine and skillfully present traditional Rhodope and Neurokopian dishes. Various options are available for breakfast while at lunch guests can try light dishes such as homemade rooster or pumpkin soup as well as more filling seasonal dishes.
The recurring wine and culinary dinners “Wine Journeys” are a trademark of Uva Nestum Wine & SPA during which they introduce their guests to different regions of Bulgaria through their characteristic wines and cuisine,presented and led by a wine specialist. The events are eagerly awaited by wine and food lovers from all over Bulgaria as a reason to return to Gotse Delchev for a new dose of “wine and spa adventure”.
HOTEL AND SPAlvation for the body
With its 24 double rooms and 9 suites the hotel is a suitable destination for a romantic holiday, a family trip and for a larger corporate event or team building. A hotel where you will find everything you need and more for a wholesome vacation and nothing in excess. Every detail is well thought out to create a pleasant and memorable impression. From the gallery on the walls of the lobby, through the library in the breakfast room, the children’s centre with an entertainer in the hotel all the way to the walkway to the spa area and the sports sector.
The rooms are stylishly furnished and the personal greeting on the screen really makes you feel valued and that you are a special guest. We have to give it to them – they definitely know how to train their team so that guests encounter nothing but smiling faces, professional results and respect.
A COMPLEX OF ADVENTURES WITH WINE IN THE BASE OF IT ALL
RELAX: Those seeking to endulge in relaxation can enjoy the spa centre as well as beautifying innovative procedures. The spa centre has an indoor pool at 30°C – 32°C water temperatures, indoor jacuzzi with built-in jets (37°C – 39°C water temperatures), outdoor pool with separate hydromassage areas (in the summer season), outdoor children’s pool with a water slide (in the summer season), gym , classic Finnish sauna, steam bath, adventure showers, ice fountain, warm bench and salt room for relaxation and halotherapy.
The latest generation of equipment and the innovative technique designed for face and body therapies such as imoove®, vinotherapy for rejuvenation using wine and secondary grape products, salt flotation cabin – a therapy with proven healing and restorative properties, Hammam steam bath, tightening equipment, slimming and shaping LPG®, innovative Anti-Age technology and others.
Children and wine tourism: A children’s play area in the hotel offers children full-fledged play with natural materials and an attentive children’s entertainer who will make sure they are not sitting around feeling bored while their parents enjoy the wine tour or spa treatments. The park offers opportunities for walking in nature, playing around the playgrounds, and a visit to their zoo, bound to impress any child. We felt the hospitality of the hotel towards the little ones especially when we saw the children’s bathrobes in the rooms, according to the age of our children along with a gift – a rubber frog toy for the little ones. What’s more, during each school holiday, the complex offers themed family vacations with activities for children.
Sports: The Uva Nestum Sports Center has two tennis courts, with a high-tech artificial grass surface filled with quartz sand. Guests can even rent a professional tennis ball machine, rackets and balls.
Adventures: The area is rich in natural and architectural-historical sights, churches and monasteries, and the owners of Uva Nestum have decided to do everything they can for you to get to know at least some of them and fall in love with this part of Bulgaria. They organise additional visits to Nicopolis ad Nestum, Saint Dimitar monastery, Hadjidimovo, Leshten architectural reserve, Kovachevitsa historical and architectural reserve and others.
BEYOND WINE EXPERIENCES
The complex offers wine tastings to guests of the complex as well as to individual tourists and groups with the wine tour being a mandatory element. For those more curious, they organise a wine academy where tourists learn about the differences in winemaking technologies and learn how to detect aromas while tasting three of the cellar’s wines.
UVA Nestum wines are available in the complex and also in smaller specialized shops so don’t miss the opportunity to buy wines from the cellar itself. We opted for a 2022 Tamyanka, a 2022 Rubin and Syrah Rosé and a 2020 Uva Nestum Single Vineyards Rubin and Merlot.
Despite the higher altitude the wines have that southern character. The Tamyanka has a rich floral nose, citruses, ripe yellow apple and ash, and the taste is balanced, with citrus freshness, medium length and a memorable misket finish.
The red wine is even more complex, where the contact with oak has contributed to the more voluminous body and enriched the fruity aroma with toasted notes, dark chocolate, vanilla, sweet red pepper. After some time in the glass, the fruit aromas become more distinct and the prune stands out. The wine has an excellent balance between the juicy and rich body and the rich fruit aromas. The firm but soft tannins tell us that the wine will get better with time (the wine is suitable for consumption now but could age for another 4-5 years).
If you want to experience the magic of Uva Nestum Wine & SPA and gift (yourself) this experience, check out our exclusive offer.